• There's bad news and there's good news. The bad news is that, once again, Yahoo! Opinions will now go off air for a few weeks. The good news is that we're refurbishing the section, and plan to come back bigger and better. The changes will be worth it for you guys, and we'll inform the world of it through our respective Twitter feeds and suchlike when we're back.

    In the meantime, I asked our columnists to pick their favourite pieces from among the ones they've written, so you can also revisit their best work, or be introduced to their writing if you don't already follow them. So, Monday onwards, here we go:


    Mohit Satyanand -- Minority of One

    I am Not Your Crony
    Beware the False Prophets
    The Many Routes to Corruption
    All Piglets are Equal
    Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan

    Girish Shahane -- Anything That Moves

    Memories and Memorials
    A Recipe for Famine
    The Lonely Planet Misguidebook
    Fast Food and Smoking Guns
    Osama, icons and iconoclasm
    Why India is a Democracy


    Ashok Malik -- Corner Plot


    Read More »from Yahoo! Opinions Greatest Hits Vol 1
  • The Prime Minister’s Speech

    Under attack from civil society activists, the media and some of his own party members, voicing the need for him to be more communicative over critical issues facing the nation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is planning to speak out and answer his critics, possibly this week. -- IANS

    Amid the image of a government under siege, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to break his silence. He will meet a group of senior editors of regional and national dailies on Wednesday and put forth his views. -- Indian Express

    Good morning, gentlemen.

    We all know why we are gathered here. My government has been much criticized recently, and there seems no end to corruption scandals. I wish to address these issues firmly, once and for all. In another 60 seconds, my humble servants will walk into this room bearing trunks full of currency notes. You will receive them, and none of your media outlets will write about corruption again. He he he, just kidding. The expression on your faces was priceless. Thank

    Read More »from The Prime Minister’s Speech
  • Leveraging Our Trust

    Let us say there is a great business you would like to set up that involves a return of 20% every year after expenses and taxes. What if I gave you two choices:

    1)      You put in Rs. 1,000 as your investment, in setting up a business that returns Rs. 200 per year.

    2)      You put in Rs. 200 and borrow Rs. 800. The business still generates Rs. 200 per year. You pay Rs. 80 as interest on the loan, and the remaining, or Rs. 120 is yours.

    In the first case the return you get is 20%. Your capital is at stake so if the business slows down to a return of 5%, you'll only get Rs. 50 per year.

    In the second case, you make a 60% return — Rs. 120, on Rs. 200 of your capital. Awesome?  But if the business drops to a 5% return, you will end up getting Rs. 50, and you now have to pay interest of Rs. 80 — for which you have to shell out more money from your pocket. Effectively that whittles down your capital to Rs. 170 (Rs. 200 minus the 30 as excess of interest over profit)

    In the second case, the

    Read More »from Leveraging Our Trust
  • All at sea

    Other than the fact that six of its 22 sailors were Indian nationals, the MV Suez, an Egyptian-owned, Panamanian-flagged ship, was more about Pakistan.

    It was captained by a Pakistani national and was on a voyage from Karachi to the Eritrean port of Massawa in July-August 2010, when it was hijacked by Somalian pirates in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), off the Horn of Africa. It sent distress signals to the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFORCE) patrolling the region but was seized before naval helicopters could arrive. The ship, cargo and crew have been held for ransom since then.

    Its release was also, on the face of it, a largely Pakistani affair. Negotiations between the ship's Egyptian owners and the pirates were deadlocked until February 2011, when Ansar Burney, a prominent Pakistani human rights activist, entered the scene. A ransom was arranged through his good offices and paid sometime in late May. As is usual with such arrangements, the source of the funds, its

    Read More »from All at sea
  • I am not Your Crony

    Last week, RIL Chairman, Mukesh Ambani, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. I don't know what they discussed, which is hardly surprising. But I can guess, since the media has been full of speculation about the CAG's draft report of investigations into RIL's exploration, development and production of petroleum resources in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin.

    Now I haven't read the report. Again, this is hardly surprising, since it is still being studied by the oil ministry. Nor, says Mukesh Ambani, has he read the report. Now this would be truly surprising, given the wide-spread belief that the Reliance empire's access to relevant government documents is unparalleled.

    Unless, of course, something has changed in the RIL-government dynamic. When Murli Deora was transferred out of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas this January, the move was seen by many as a signal that the government was trying to create a distance between itself and the country's richest man: Murli Deora, who now

    Read More »from I am not Your Crony
  • Languishing in remote corners of publishers' warehouses must be piles of mildewed books that claim to understand human beings through their handwriting. Yellowing pages devoted to the way you dot your 'i's and cross your 't's, with each characteristic loop, slant and curlicue identifying you as introverted, sociable, pathological or a unique combination of the three. ("Lines sloping downward? Looks you need some Prozac at once!") Graphology, it's called, from graphos, writing, and logos, word. If I'm not mistaken, there was even one such volume that claimed to make you change your life simply by changing your handwriting.

    Whether such analysis is science or mumbo-jumbo, handwriting itself is in irreversible decline. Most prefer nowadays to strike or touch keyboards, with the result that the knowledge of an art we spent years painstakingly perfecting now lies gathering dust in our synapses. Heidi Harralson, a Tucson graphologist, was recently quoted in the New York Times as saying, "I'm

    Read More »from The Decline And Fall Of Handwriting


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