The old familiar
- Malaysian airlines might have disintegrated mid-air
- Out of the 50,000 homes for the poor, not even 50 constructed in Gujarat by Modi: Kejriwal
- BJP complains to EC against Rahul over RSS remarks, seeks derecognition of Congress
- Varanasi seat row: RSS worried but believes BJP will solve it
- Subrata Roy arrest row: The not-so-beautiful story
India is anxious because we are facing a crisis on multiple fronts. Macroeconomic instability, evidenced most potently in sticky inflation and an uncertain employment scenario. But in the end, the economic thinking will come down to a bunch of schemes. India's institutional crisis is serious. The Congress avoids talking about it, because it caused it. The BJP does not do much better either; all it does is throw the idea of a "decisive leader" at what is a more complex problem. There is an incipient social crisis, brewing around both caste and gender, but no party has the slightest moral leadership to speak credibly on the subject. Delhi experienced one of its most toxic days recently, beating Beijing hands down in pollution levels. Nothing could be better evidence of ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand syndrome than the fact that not one political party chose to even remark upon this. And this is in educated urban India. Occasionally, there appears to be a promising new bipartisan consensus that toilets are more important than temples. But you wonder whether this is about solving a sanitation problem, or about a stimulus to the commode production industry. In foreign policy, almost all parties, rather than spelling out how India could enhance its influence, are busy undermining the country's credibility. These crises could be an opportunity for a new progressive politics. But who will stay ahead of the curve?
One does not have to be starry eyed about China and Japan. It is all too easy to underestimate their challenges. But at least you get a sense of powers grappling with questions of their destiny. Even allowing that democratic partisanship produces a lot of circus, the utter lack of gravitas and sense of responsibility at this crucial moment in our history is disconcerting. This is also compounded by an inability to take any intellectual risk. It is almost as if our politicians' mouths are free to shoot words in any direction, but at the end of the day, the feet remain stuck in quicksand. Is this because we have the politicians we deserve, or is it because they are betraying us?