Cyber Coolie

Insert statement about high-minded discourse

Archive for the ‘Civil Liberties’ Category

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Posted by chakrabarti on December 29, 2017

Anonymous Facebook page administrator, your acerbic posts will be missed.

Especially compared to the gutless wonders that comprise a lot of contemporary Indian journalism.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Communalism, India, Journalism, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A note of dissent on IBN..

Posted by chakrabarti on October 27, 2009

Transcript of IBN interview with Arundhati Roy (conducted by Karan Thapar). As expected, Roy gets badgered as “crazy” and “nuts” by a lot of people I know. Nothing new about that, since epithets are thrown around every time it’s hard to argue on substantive grounds (similar to how creating a milquetoast public health insurance option in the US gets you labeled simultaneously “socialist” and “Nazi”).

Notice the lame questions the interview directs at her anyway (E.g. “Sixty years after Indian democracy came into being, do you believe that India’s poor and dispossessed have benefited?”) Most of them fall back on the unquestioned premise of India being  the largest democracy in the world, a tiresome phrase that has lost much of its luster with its invocations ad nauseam. The point that she and dissenters like her are trying to get across, namely that there is a lot wrong with our curious mix of democratic politics and partially “free-market” economy systems and we should be willing to admit the failures, is pretty much lost on Thapar. His fallback on Sonia Gandhi & Manmohan Singh apologizing for the Sikh riots was pretty pathetic, I thought.

Posted in Civil Liberties, India, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Big brother comes to India

Posted by chakrabarti on January 5, 2008

If the story in the Times of India is to be believed, then the average citizen of Delhi is in for some harrowing times. Soon, each and every Delhiite would be required to carry some form of identification, be it a driver’s license, a ration card, a voter’s ID card or something else. The authorities have been generous enough to allow school, college and office IDs in the list.

The reason for creating such a requirement, reminiscent of totalitarian dictatorships? Why, terrorism, stupid! This is the excuse being offered by the Delhi police chief, who added “the ripples [of terrorism]… are always felt in Delhi”. So never mind improving intelligence gathering capabilities, coordination with law enforcement authorities in other states or providing better security in vulnerable areas. The most important step towards reducing terrorist violence is forcing every single Delhiite to carry their papers with them.

Mercifully, there have been some murmurs of protest after the measure was announced by the lieutenant governor. Some have even gone so far as to call such a step “dangerous, draconian and autocratic”. Others have pointed out the real purpose of such edicts, which has nothing to do with stopping terrorist violence, and everything to do with creating new ways by which the state can harass and intimidate individuals, especially those who have little or no voice in society.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Delhi, India, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »