The Water Cooler
  • The DMK had suffered setback after setback after the 2G scandal broke a year ago, and the Congress had remained relatively untouched by the investigations.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his party colleagues had, all along, blamed 'coalition politics' for the scandal. It won't be so easy now for his party to shrug off responsibility for what some describe as the world's biggest scandal.

    Pranab Mukherjee is coming back from New York today, and will meet Sonia Gandhi immediately to discuss the fallout of the unearthing of a note that suggests senior leaders in the Congress knew all about the 2G spectrum sale that landed former telecom minister A Raja in jail.

    In fact, Raja argued his own case in court today, and said the prosecution was harassing him and keeping him jailed when it had no scrap of evidence to show he caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the nation.

    The CBI sought the court's permission to file fresh charges against Raja, and urged a life term for him, and others

    Read More »from 2G fire now singes Congress netas
  • Artists, architects and administrators are meeting on September 29 to discuss how new spaces can be created in Bangalore for culture.

    Among other things, they will discuss how public spaces, such as Metro stations and marketplaces, can be used for art and cultural performances.

    Dr P Radhika, who is co-ordinating the open consultation, sees it as an attempt to connect her academic interests with social action.

    Policy makers are also taking part in the discussions. The meeting is open to anyone interested in the arts, and will be held at the National Gallery of Modern Art on Palace Road.

    The Centre for the Study of Society and Culture, where Radhika teaches, is hosting the consultation in collaboration with the gallery.

    In an interview with Yahoo! News, Radhika explains what the event is all about.

    The consultation talks about Bangalore as a Creative City. In specific terms, what does it plan to achieve?

    City planning has taken a certain direction when it comes to culture. It looks at

    Read More »from Open forum on culture spaces in Bangalore
  • What makes earthquakes happen?

    Can you feel one?

    The panic in the second question has no answer. (The answer to the first, though, is embedded in the question.)

    In the one that hit Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet, tremors were also felt in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi.

    (Yes, increasingly, our worlds are being cracked open by the earth’s activity, conjoining in ever hopeful grief.)

    Photo: Shonar JoshiEven though I’m from Delhi and have traveled to all of the above places except Tripura and Tibet, Sikkim singes as a very particular kind of emotional aftershock. Maybe because some of my growing up years were spent in the mountains, one knows what makes hill folk hardy (drinkers?), energy-conserving-genteel but an idiosyncrasy-tolerant lot and, most of all, perennially hugged by an over-the-shoulder peek at a peak. Anytime of the night you can find it here.

    (Like the rivers that were fairly perennial until we perennially started testing this.)


    But to know Sikkim

    Read More »from Tremors that bind - North by Northeast?
  • When in Sikkim, be a responsible tourist

    Sanjay Barnela

    Untitled from DUSTY FOOT PRODUCTION on Vimeo.

    When in Sikkim, be a responsible tourist

    This is a clip from our film on Sikkim, " Leave nothing but Footprints". This clip gives you a visual sense of the civic nightmare that  parts of Sikkim are becoming and how higher up, local efforts are making a concerted difference. A trekker's delight, this jewel of northeast India could do  with a (more) responsible profile of tourists. A model of tourism that follows the triple bottom line: one that contributes to local livelihoods, protects local culture, and the environment.

    Sanjay Barnela is a Delhi-based award-winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in conservation and livelihood issues. He is also an avid trekker. More information about his films is available at his website Moving Images.
    Read More »from When in Sikkim, be a responsible tourist
  • Living on the Edge

    Sarikah Atreya

    A man sits amid the rubble of a building which was destroyed REUTERS/Stringer

    Over the past few decades, buildings have mushroomed all over the hills of Sikkim and Darjeeling without any consideration to building norms. Or the fact that these areas fall under seismic zone V. Should an earthquake measuring 6 or more on the Richter Scale hit us, the consequences could be devastating. One in these areas was long overdue, seismologists have been warning us for a long time. The question is not when it will come, since earthquakes are relatively unpredictable and inevitable – but when it comes, are we really prepared to handle the catastrophe? Earthquakes may or may not kill; but poorly constructed concrete structures surely will. In many ways, we have made matters worse for ourselves.

    Indian seismologists have in the past suggested close monitoring of the movement of tectonic plates and of the faults considering that the Indian Plate boundary has seismically become very active. The Indian Plate is one of 14 major plates that are locked onto the surface

    Read More »from Living on the Edge
  • Are we prepared? A personal perspective from Kathmandu

    Tanya Pascual

    It is amazing, that after a terrifying experience of an earthquake tremor hitting Kathmandu, how quickly life goes back to normal as if nothing had happened. All the talk of the impending big earthquake that is due since the last one hit some 70 years ago; seeing how the fault lines are cracking and approaching, first Japan, then Burma, and now Sikkim – is this the one or is the big one yet to come? Paranoia is acute until time passes and you just get back to doing what you do – working and living in a city with a challenging infrastructure, buildings going up left, right, and centre; chaotic traffic with very few pedestrian pathways.
    An injured child receives treatment in Kathmandu REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
    A few months back I managed to fracture my ankle getting out of a bus, my foot fell into one of the many potholes in the city and crack, that was it for two months, laid up with the addition of two screws in my ankle. Once I started walking my paranoia was eyes fixed on the ground to see where I was walking. However since the rumble last

    Read More »from Are we prepared? A personal perspective from Kathmandu


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