Now that the dust of Rio 2016 has settled, it is time to not only celebrate the successes of the Indian athletes but, more importantly, to start working towards Tokyo 2020. If the government, sports administrators and the rest of us can take on board certain lessons from Rio, we can aim to make our presence felt at the next Olympic Games.
In the past week, the media coverage has relentlessly focused on the safety of women in Tamil Nadu. The city of Chennai, which has long prided itself as a safe place for women, finds itself at a crossroads. At least six women have been murdered across the city under very different circumstances. This has raised questions about women's safety, cyber crimes and most importantly, governance and political leadership.
Yes, marriage may be an important ceremony for many people but does that mean one must silently tolerate violence within that relationship framework? Wasn't the mindset of society to treat the marriage as a sacrament also the justification for another practice called 'Sati'?
When DMK leader MK-Stalin met an aging Sampoornam in her cramped house last year, they spoke about her wedding which took place 75 years ago. This was no ordinary wedding ceremony. In fact, what was special was that there was no ceremony at all. It happened to be the first recognised Suyamariyathai (self-respect) marriage presided over by former chief minister and DMK leader CN Annadurai (Anna). Sampoornam passed away last week, but she leaves a legacy of social reform in marriage.
On 30 October, the government of Tamil Nadu sent plainclothes policemen to arrest a folk artiste from his house around 2am. His crime: singing songs and organising street plays criticising the government's policy on sale of alcohol. Charged with sedition, folk artiste Kovan joins a long list of cases such as Aseem Trivedi and Senthil Mallar. The State's fondness for slapping sedition charges is evident from these cases. But, there is a larger academic question around the fine line separating freedom of speech and the State's powers to restrict it.
Most Indians cannot count their mother tongue an Official Language of the Union. If the government was to amend the Constitution to include these 21 other languages, then an additional 55.5% of the country would stand to feel included. In spite of these concerns, the cry for linguistic equality seems to not have affected the Modi government a great deal.
When the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation "suggested" that Parliamentarians should have their pay docked for disrupting Parliament, it received widespread media attention. But there is a larger question of double-speak here: If salaries or allowances of opposition Parliamentarians can be withheld for not productively contributing to Parliament, then should not the same principle be applied to ministers of the Cabinet?
There was no doubt among lawyers that, during the NJAC arguments, Courtroom Number 4 was the most crowded place in Lutyens Delhi. Law students, like me, hustled for an empty spot just to be able to hear some of the best legal minds in the country delve in to the nuances of the Constitution, like never before. The massive interest in this case stems from its potential to shake the foundations of our judicial system.
In the past six months, we have witnessed the government face major setbacks in Parliament, largely due to a strong, united and vocal opposition in the Rajya Sabha. While one expects the rare slip-up in Parliamentary floor management, this government has displayed a unflattering knack for stumbling at critical Parliamentary hurdles time and again.