March 1 2017

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Dear Colleagues,

Here is another round of random reflections for your perusal:

  1. Celebrating myriad ways in which a language affects our everyday life was aptly demonstrated during Rekhta events about Urdu language in Delhi. The pervasive use of Urdu in films and music of Bollywood has been generally acknowledged. What is less known is the pervasive use of Urdu in the legal-judicial system of the country. Why not celebrate language in everyday life in different regions of the country, and indeed the world?
  2. In many cities, municipal elections are also known as civic polls. However, recently held ‘civic’ polls in Mumbai were hardly civil. Use of abusive language against opponents in order to win elections defeats the very purpose of democracy. Instead of highlighting one’s own work and vision for the city, contestants in forthcoming ‘civic’ elections in Delhi are already mastering the use of ‘uncivil’ language against opponents. Civility in everyday life does matter, more so in local elections?
  3. The fear of deportation of undocumented immigrants in USA under the new Trump administration is pushing many such families to seek ‘shelter’ in neighbouring Canada. Some such families are following the legal formal route; some others are just walking across the border. Such phenomenon is happening in many parts of the world today in increasingly larger numbers. Yet, host communities and countries are ambivalent about such immigration?
  4. Jharkhand seems to be gathering ‘momentum’ after the recent investor summit. This trend of state governments organizing shows to attract investors has become highly competitive. Started about a decade ago by ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, the state governments spend enormous amount of political and economic capital to put up a ‘grand’ show. Such shows in Vizag (for AP) and Ranchi (for Jharkhand) were more successful than in Kolkatta (for WB). Political alignment with central government is a key variable for success, it seems. But, what compromises in taxation and policies do these states make when ‘inviting’ private investments?
  5. The ruckus at the Oscar award ceremony on Sunday night led to changing of winners from ‘La La Land’ to ‘Moonlight’. The former is a ‘happy’ musical, much favoured and applauded when the best picture award was first announced by mistake. The latter is about LGBT, and struggles of black men. It finally did win as the mistake was discovered. Does it suggest that emerging trends and voices in today’s societies, hitherto hidden, may show up ‘disruptively’?

All the very best

Sincerely

Rajesh Tandon

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