India Insight

Rahul Gandhi takes first step in race to be India’s next PM

It’s the news some Congress leaders have waited for with bated breath. On Saturday, spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi announced the party’s decision to make Rahul Gandhi its vice-president.

Pressure had been mounting on the “young emperor” from within the troubled party to take charge. For years, Gandhi had shown no inclination to do so. But with his formal promotion to the party’s number two position next to mother Sonia, the 42-year-old is ready to claim the throne of the world’s largest democracy in the 2014 elections.

Here’s the latest from around the web.

Major changes in Congress with Rahul Gandhi as vice-president

Rahul’s elevation in Congress comes as no surprise: BJP

Congress gives Rahul Gandhi official status to take major decisions: Samajwadi Party

It’s less chintan, more Rahul promotion at Congress Shivir

Elevation of Rahul ‘historic’, ‘game-changer’: Cong young leaders

Reactions on Twitter
SHAILI CHOPRA – “So if Rahul Gandhi is going to be Vice President of the Congress party, question still remains Who will be the PM candidate?”

RAJDEEP SARDESAI – “Anyone who tells you its rahul vs modi in 2014, tell that to Jaya, Mamata, Mulayam, Jagan, Pawar, Nitish, Naveen! Gnight”

‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ meets ‘Indian Idol’ in West Bengal

(Any career-destroying attempts at irony or humour are the responsibility of the author, and not of the chief ministers of Gujarat or West Bengal or any of their associates.)

Everybody’s talking about how Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has fostered fair weather for businesses and investors in his state. Maybe he’s making it too easy. In West Bengal, it looks like investors and business people must work a little harder for their returns. Take a look at that state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. She isn’t just making business people and investors work for their profits; she’s making them sing.

From India Today:

An industrialist climbing the dais at an investors’ summit to sing a popular Rabindra Sangeet. The perhaps unseen scene was made possible on Tuesday courtesy West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee .

Firing on LoC: Blame game and spillovers continue

Firing between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed region of Kashmir has left five soldiers dead (two Indians and three Pakistanis). In India, the issue became a front-page story with the media expressing outrage over reports that the body of one Indian soldier was allegedly mutilated by the Pakistanis.

The incident fuelled tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours and Indian political parties have minced no words in their calls for retribution.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday called the act “barbaric” and said it was no more “business as usual” with Islamabad.

LoC killings: Is a third-party probe the way ahead?

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

The death toll on the Line of Control in Kashmir is four since Jan. 6: two from India’s military, two from Pakistan’s. One thing is sure: neither side started it, judging by what you hear from both countries’ armed forces and from media reports.

The killings threaten to muffle talk of a thaw in relations, something that would have been welcome after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and years of fighting and death in Kashmir before a 2003 ceasefire.

Interview: Satisfied with response from police, government: rape victim’s father

Five men accused of the rape and murder of the 23-year-old student appeared in court on Monday to hear charges against them.

Reuters’ Shashank Chouhan interviewed the rape victim’s father over telephone. Here are the excerpts:

Q: Why did you reveal your daughter’s identity to a UK newspaper?
A: When the (new) law will be made, it has to be made after the girl’s name. There is nothing wrong in giving out the name – it is not for any wrong purpose. It will not harm anyone nor should anyone object. Nothing objectionable is being said or written. That is why I gave the name.

Photo gallery: Cold snap hits Delhi

Delhi winters typically are short, but they also get cold. This winter has been one of the worst in more than four decades. Temperatures have fallen to just above the freezing mark, and on Thursday rose to no more than 9.8 degrees Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Media reports say over 100 people have died in northern India as a result of the cold.

Temperatures like these are intolerable for people in a city like Delhi, where many people spend their days and nights on the streets in much warmer weather. (Temperatures in the summer have reached highs of 49 Celsius, or 120 Fahrenheit.) Even if they have homes, they often lack heating and insulation. Here are some photos of people in Delhi during the cold snap:

Cold, they say, helps you work up an appetite for all sorts of things…

 

… and for street food:

 

And let’s not forget peanuts. The more you have them, the more you want them…

Responsibility or censorship: why Bollywood should pick

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)

The mother and father of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim were cremating their daughter’s body around the same time I discovered Honey Singh, now lately known for his notorious song, “Ch**t,” or “Cu*t.” The song revolves around the singer’s vision of satisfying a woman’s lust, followed by beating her with a shoe and then moving on to other things.

While India convulses over its people’s shameful treatment of women, its inadequate rape laws and questions about how to change an entire society, Singh’s star has been rising in Bollywood. The industry apparently likes what it hears.

Yo Yo Honey Singh: A vulgar obsession or our own creation?

(WARNING: Post contains graphic language. Reader discretion is advised. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

The gang rape and death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi this month has sparked debates on many things from an Indian society centered on the well being of men to the tendency of Bollywood films to portray women largely as mothers or sex objects. Now, some of that criticism is sticking to Punjabi rap star Honey Singh.

Singh, whom the Indian media have called a youth icon, is facing calls for a ban on his New Year’s Eve performance at a hotel in Gurgaon, the massive suburb southwest of Delhi – and as this blog post heads out the door, NDTV reports that the show indeed has been cancelled.

Photo gallery: vigils after Delhi rape victim dies

Here are some photographs from our India Insight contributors that show vigils following the death on Saturday of a 23-year-old woman after six men raped her aboard a bus in Delhi on Dec. 16. We will update this post as more photos arrive. Thanks to Soumya Bandyopadhyay in Kolkata, Anoo  Bhuyan and Anuja Jaiman in Delhi and Vidya L. Nathan in Bangalore. Apologies for any inconsistent sizing or lack of uniformity. Note for non-Hindi readers or speakers: the sign in the first photograph says: “My voice is higher than my skirt.”

Delhi (Anoo Bhuyan):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kolkata:

 

 

 

 

Delhi (Anuja Jaiman):

 

 

Bangalore:

 

 

 

 

 

You can see many more images related to this story from our Reuters photographers as well.

Delhi gang rape victim dies: elsewhere on the web

 The 23-year-old woman whose gang rape sparked protests and a national debate about violence against women in India died of her injuries on Saturday, prompting a security lockdown in New Delhi and an acknowledgement from the prime minister that social change is needed.

Bracing for a new wave of protests, authorities deployed thousands of policemen, closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi, where demonstrators have converged since the attack to demand improved women’s rights. Hundreds of people staged peaceful protests at two locations on Saturday morning.

The 23-year-old medical student, severely beaten, raped and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi two weeks ago, had been flown to Singapore in a critical condition by the Indian government on Thursday for specialist treatment.   (Read the story here)

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