Mark Tully
Articles by Mark Tully

Reform the Raj-era judicial system

The dark shadows of the colonial past hang over the proceedings of the SC too. E-courts alone won’t clear those shadows away

This seems to be a classic example of the malfunctioning governance, the laxity, evident in almost all Indian governance. If the SC can’t enforce its orders, what hope does a rural divisional court have? (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on May 07, 2022 07:45 PM IST

Reforming the higher education system

Students are worried about recovering lost knowledge. But they must also worry about another issue: There may be no teachers to teach their subjects. There is a shortage of 6,481 teachers in centrally funded universities

CUET has just been born, and there could well be trouble when more details are known, particularly its syllabi. Once its full scope is revealed to the public, educationalists will judge whether CUET is a genuinely new exam or it suffers from the same fault almost all Indian exams suffer from (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Apr 23, 2022 06:01 PM IST

The effect of Putin’s actions on the US, NATO and India

People who claim to know Putin well say that he will never accept any end of the war which he cannot see as a victory and sell it as such to the Russians.

It looks as though Putin needs to, at the very least, win control of Donbas to end the war, while Biden needs the sanctions to bring him down before he achieves that objective. (Reuters)
Updated on Apr 09, 2022 07:17 PM IST

The West is unwilling to fight for Ukraine

Did Zelensky have to fight Putin? Was it wise to sign a charter on strategic partnership with the United States in 2021?

A destroyed Russian Rys armoured vehicle, Trostianets, Ukraine, March 25, 2022 (via REUTERS)
Updated on Mar 26, 2022 10:40 PM IST

What do the verdicts mean for the Congress?

Are its days as the alternative party over? Now that it has lost Punjab, the only two sizeable states that it rules are Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

With Sonia Gandhi unwell, Rahul Gandhi‘s record of failures, and now, Priyanka failing too, how much longer can the Congress hold together? (ANI)
Published on Mar 12, 2022 06:41 PM IST

Haryana: The grim reality of brick kiln labourers

There was no work between March 2021 and February 2022 in the brick kiln. So, the workers earned nothing in that time because they are paid on a piece-work basis.

Kailash Satyarthi shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigns against the exploitation of children, but children still work alongside their parents in brick kilns. (AP/Representative Image)
Updated on Feb 26, 2022 07:44 PM IST

Why Mangeshkar mattered so much

The Mangeshkar I treasure most is her accompaniment to the destitute Nargis struggling to pull a plough in Mother India

There is no doubt that Lata Mangeshkar was the singer of India. She sang in different languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Tamil. She sang in ways each listener could identify herself with, be they in love or out, rejoicing or weeping, in company or alone (HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 12, 2022 05:17 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Modi’s speech marked the end of Nehru era

The RSS leaders were not included, but they didn’t figure in the Independence movement. The most immediate reason for the PM selecting this heterogeneous collection of men as bulwarks of nationalism is to demonstrate the end of the Nehru era

The PM installed Bose under the once royal canopy, looking along Rajpath, to symbolise an independent India without mentioning the Nehru family, whose members’ names still adorn so many streets, institutions, and buildings. (AP)
Published on Jan 29, 2022 05:14 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Need: A genuinely independent justice system

Recent events in Britain and India prove that both countries need a system of justice entirely independent of politicians and civil servants

Many die in Indian prisons either due to inadequate food, or lack of medical treatment, or both. (HTPHoto)
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 08:49 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Tutu: In the steps of Mahatma Gandhi

The Indian team’s gesture in honouring Tutu symbolised the nation’s recognition of the link between the Archbishop and Mahatma Gandhi. It was a physical link

Tutu died on the day after Christmas. There is, of course, always a sadness about a death, but there’s also joy in the memory of a life well-lived, and Desmond Tutu’s life was well-lived. (AP)
Updated on Jan 01, 2022 08:02 PM IST
ByMark Tully

To protect democracy, remove inequality

Biden’s summit has made it clear that democracy must be seen to deliver greater equality if it is to win the battle against authoritarianism

Inequality is not just a problem for developing countries. The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, suffer from it in roughly equal measure. (AFP)
Updated on Dec 18, 2021 07:40 PM IST
ByMark Tully

An integrated method to measure poverty

Measuring a nation’s welfare by the size of its economy and, therefore, concentrating on achieving GDP growth is damaging. NITI Aayog’s new national multidimensional poverty index can change that

The MPI is based on the National Family Health Survey conducted between 2015 and 2016 (AFP File Photo)
Updated on Dec 04, 2021 10:20 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Use religion to battle the climate crisis

In India, almost all the world’s religions have a historic home but the voice of faith on the climate crisis is hardly heard. Religious leaders must come together to demand a change in the narrative of development

How much energy do we need was a question that was not asked at COP26. It is obvious that developing countries need more energy but do the developed countries need to consume as much energy as they do? (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 07:44 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Why Merkel stood out among world leaders

In spite of her policy of seeking compromise in the best sense of the word, Merkel would not have survived for so long if she had not been able to be tough

During Merkel’s years in office, Europe has lived through crisis after crisis — the Greek debt turmoil, the influx of refugees, Brexit, and it’s widely accepted that Merkel has steered the diverse community through them (AFP)
Updated on Nov 06, 2021 04:01 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Is this the end of the Washington Consensus?

A G7 Panel appears to suggest that the Washington Consensus may have taken minimising the State too far and allowed the private sector to become influential

For the past five decades, liberal market economics has been the dominant governing philosophy. These years have undoubtedly seen the greatest increase in prosperity and decline in poverty in human history. But, at the same time, inequalities have risen and richer nation have consolidated their dominance. (Reuters)
Updated on Oct 23, 2021 02:19 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Gandhi, Tagore, and India’s coaching culture

NEP can only succeed if there are enough schools and colleges, teachers and lecturers, to provide education. A Unesco report warns that 1.1 million teacher vacancies are unfilled. The situation is particularly dire in rural India.

Universities imposing 100% cut-offs are encouraging that culture. The ferocious competition in the education system leads to children and students swotting and working so hard that they have no time for other activities which would broaden their minds — such as the proximity to others from which Tagore learnt so much from (HT PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 09, 2021 12:19 PM IST
ByMark Tully

India’s babus are both perpetrators and victims of a flawed system

Kaushik Basu’s observations and the experiences of former IAS officers, BD Pande and Keshav Desiraju, demonstrate the talent that there was in the bureaucracy under the Congress and the hindrances which hampered talented bureaucrats. Has this changed under the Bharatiya Janata Party? That could be the subject of another column.

Over the last few weeks, I have been reminded several times of some of the outstanding officers who have served the government, and of the faults in the system of government that have stood in the way of them making full use of their talents. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 25, 2021 06:51 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Bridging the gap between the sciences and arts

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi has become the first major technology educational institution to have a chair in Indian classical music and arts

The first concert was held in IIT-Delhi. It was a disaster, with some five-to-10 people sitting in an auditorium of 1,200 seats (Arvind Yadav/HT photo)
Updated on Sep 11, 2021 07:34 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Remembering Aurobindo and his quest for unity

Aurobindo’s dream of a World Union has also not been fulfilled. It could be argued that the world has become more united over the last 74 years, but, at this time, the need for greater unity is particularly obvious.

Aurobindo believed “more and more eyes are turning towards her (India) with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings but to her psychic and spiritual practice”. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Aug 28, 2021 08:28 PM IST
ByMark Tully

India-UK: The evolution of a post-colonial relationship

British PM, Boris Johnson, seems to have learnt the lesson from this sorry story: Don’t push too hard, don’t ride roughshod over Indian sensitivities if you want to negotiate successfully, as he does

In an embarrassing compromise as far as Gujral was concerned, it was agreed the Queen would visit Jallianwala Bagh and lay a wreath, but she would not apologise (HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 15, 2021 05:30 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Pegasus and the threat of an Orwellian State

George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is a more widely known example of an imaginary State which has robbed its citizens of their individuality and their ability to recognise truth

In the short-term, we should protect ourselves from the possible misuse of Pegasus by demanding to know how it has infected Indian devices (AFP)
Updated on Aug 02, 2021 08:24 AM IST
ByMark Tully

UP’s population policy push is unwarranted

The measures designed to make parents afraid of having more than two children include some which would rob them of their legally guaranteed rights

Inefficiency, maladministration, and corruption are the prime causes of UP’s comparative backwardness and it is on these that Adityanath should focus his attention (PTI)
Updated on Jul 19, 2021 07:03 AM IST
ByMark Tully

The Congress, dynasty and a lost opportunity

Immediately after Rajiv Gandhi’s death, Congress sycophancy triumphed over sensitivity and sense. The CWC passed a resolution calling on Sonia Gandhi to lead the party. She refused. Here was the golden opportunity to choose a leader, independent of the dynasty. But Rao was chosen since he had no base in the party and, being taciturn by nature, had none of the charisma needed to win votes.

The 25 years since the 1996 election have seen the Congress return to power twice, but its governments were dominated by Sonia Gandhi. Following the party’s humiliation in the 2014 election, the party has sunk to an all-time low. The dynasts no longer have the charisma to win votes. But there is no sign of a non-dynastic leader emerging. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Published on Jul 03, 2021 06:37 PM IST
ByMark Tully

G7: A strong message on democratic values

Could the PM’s public support for the values of democracy mean that he now plans to stop his government from veering further towards limiting the freedom of expression?

The pandemic, predictably, figured in the discussions. G7 countries agreed that something had to be done to help the poorer countries, which weren’t able to procure vaccines. The outcome was a pledge to supply one billion vaccines for poorer countries till the end of 2022, something experts widely described as inadequate. (AP)
Updated on Jun 19, 2021 08:28 PM IST
ByMark Tully

When the Indian judiciary stands up

The judiciary’s willingness to stand up to the executive has already been welcomed widely. Now the court will be asked when it is going to examine other long-standing examples of the government’s questionable use of power

The Supreme Court (SC) seems to be losing its patience with the government (REUTERS)
Updated on Jun 08, 2021 07:34 AM IST
ByMark Tully

Restoring the spirit of cooperative federalism

If the prime minister and chief ministers are to be cooperative federalists, electoral defeats will have to be taken with good grace by the central government. In Bengal, the unprecedented provision of armed central paramilitary police for every BJP legislator; the arrest of four TMC leaders while two former party leaders, now with the BJP, accused in the same case, are left untouched; and the bias of Bengal governor does not signal cooperative federalism.

Modi is a highly skilled communicator. He can galvanise the crowds at rallies, speak like a statesman when addressing the nation, and use the unique intimacy that can be conveyed by radio to broadcast his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programmes. But how good a listener is he? (PTI)
Published on May 22, 2021 07:13 PM IST
ByMark Tully

Poll results show the power of federalism

For the BJP, the lesson of the Bengal election — taken with the results from Kerala and Tamil Nadu — is that India, by its nature, is a federal nation. Its nationalism has to rejoice in its diversity rather than try to bind the nation together in an unnatural uniformity.

Voters being screened for Covid-19 symptoms at a polling booth, Guwahati, April 6, 2021 (PTI)
Updated on May 08, 2021 06:43 PM IST
ByMark Tully

The contours of the Bengal battle

In this election, the BJP is hoping that its Hindu identity will trump Banerjee’s Bengali identity. To strengthen its bid for the Bengali Hindu vote, the BJP has accused her of cultivating a Muslim vote bank

The BJP has also tried to persuade Bengalis that joining the mainstream will revive investment in Kolkata and its hinterland, once known as the workshop of India (AP)
Published on Apr 24, 2021 08:26 PM IST
ByMark Tully

The economic rationale of bank nationalisation

A better solution than privatisation may well be giving PSBs autonomy to reform themselves and function free of political interference. Remember, most East Asian success stories have been underpinned by financial systems effectively controlled by governments, and in the West, governments have had to rescue private banks from bankruptcy. India should think through its approach to public banks.

It’s not surprising that the nationalisation of 14 banks in 1969 has generally been seen as a politically-motivated decision. At the time, PN Haksar was secretary in the prime minister’s secretariat. He was, in the words of his biographer Jairam Ramesh, “Indira Gandhi’s ideological compass and moral beacon”. She was then fighting a running battle with the Syndicate, a group of veteran leaders who had earlier chosen her to be prime minister, and with her rival, Morarji Desai. (HTPHOTO)
Updated on Apr 10, 2021 03:40 PM IST
ByMark Tully

For migrant workers, a year of suffering

Why is manufacturing so heavily dependent on exploited labourers, who are effectively bonded workers? There are laws regulating the employment of migrant workers but they are not enforced.

Migrant workers walking towards Farrukhabad and Sultanpur pause during a sudden dust storm, Ghaziabad, May 10, 2020. (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)
Published on Mar 27, 2021 02:10 PM IST
ByMark Tully
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