I am fundamentally opposed to the death penalty. I am also generally opposed to any absolute rules. The exception neither proves nor disproves the rule but forces us to examine each situation individually.
Let it be known that if Twenty20 cricket, the Indian Premier league, and all its derivatives miraculously vanished I will shed no tears. As a lover of test cricket, I share the sentiments of the late William Rees Mogg, former editor of the Times, who once opined that “…Twenty-20 is a decadent, dumbed-down, third-rate formula for sub-prime cricket”. Mogg claimed that he found the format less exciting than baseball. The comparison of cricket to baseball is never done for the benefit of baseball.
My grandfather was a lifelong supporter of the Congress (I). This was not a relationship he suffered lightly – he was perennially disappointed by the party. Like a wayward son one must love despite his shenanigans, my grandfather felt for the Congress Party through thick and thin; at least if his vote spoke the truth. He was not an ideologue; even if he were, there was no immutable ideology the Congress party ever offered. I believe his loyalty spoke of the nostalgia of the post-independence optimism and the not so subtle and consistently powerful effect of the Gandhi name.
There is something refreshing and refreshingly erudite about Aamir Khan. He always struck me as being at least two standard deviations favourably removed from the Bollywood mob evidenced by his economy of films, scarcity of emotions and attention to detail.
Recently, I had a discussion with some young students in Patna who were preparing for the civil service examinations. This seems an interesting time for the students. They tend to be optimistic and idealistic in equal measures as they are on the verge of, conditional on passing the examination, changing the system for the better for their countrymen.
For all the controversies the film Aarakshan was a tad disappointing. Rather strange for a Prakash Jha production. Although nothing can quite surpass the steadfast determination to get offended, there was nothing in the film remotely offensive. The film was more a narrative about meritocracy, and the difficulty in maintaining its purity in the face of economic and political pressures and the growth of the private tuition industry, than the arguments for and against reservation.
Philosophers have a diametrically opposite answer to this question.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, European post-Renaissance philosopher, considered morality a mere construct of society.
"Bihar is the Columbia of India", explained a doctor from Punjab to an inquisitive Englishman who asked about my filial origins. "No, Columbia is the Bihar of South America" was my rejoinder which I said not without a perverse sense of pride.
"During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man." - Thomas Hobbes.