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Verdict 2014, Bihar: a development folktale interrupted

By Ratnakar Tripathy Storytelling in progress The key word that occurs time and again to describe the 2014 verdict in the favour of BJP and Narendra Modi is ‘decisiveness’ in its most manly and broad-chested sense. In the last five years, the Congress, now punished severely for its limp-wristed demeanour and dyslexic style of communication, created levels of despair that seemed almost unspeakable. But as we know, with development as the core mantra, the despair hastily turned into hope as the election results began pouring in yesterday. Hope is the name of the luxury democracy rarely denies... 

Bihar’s paradox: Will Bihar go back to Jungle Raj?

  by Ratnakar Tripathy Tunneling in or out? From all the field reports lately, it has begun to seem that the voters in Bihar are in an adventurous, even reckless mood in 2014. They are quite willing to vote for a change in the regime. I will readily admit that this year Bihar successively went through an ant-Nitish wave, then a Modi wave and is currently going through a last ditch Laloo wave even as many-phased voting in India has come beyond the half way mark, as long as you don’t ask me to define a ‘wave’. The only thing I could say by way of defining it is it may be seen as a zeal... 

The politics of the unspoken: face-reading Modi and Kejriwal

  by Ratnakar Tripathy  The purity of maskhood! I believe there are two waves in the country today – Narendra Modi and Aam Admi Party [AAP] and the one thing they have in common is they deny the existence of the other wave. What they do not have in common is this – AAP is the sum of all the spoken statements from its leaders, including Kejriwal, whereas Modi is the sum of all that remains unspoken thus far. It is likely Modi will not really begin to talk before he finds himself plunked securely in the throne. So let us get ready to not be surprised by reading between the lines and highlighting... 

Batras [बतरस]: Do malnutrition and poverty always go hand in hand: tales from Bihar

By Ratnakar Tripathy Pulses: a must, a must! This is just a footnote to what is now turning into a substantial national debate on poverty and malnutrition in India. This is also a much delayed piece in the sense, I have for too long been wanting to write a dietary history of my village in East Champaran, Bihar, without having written anything at all – the reason being a certain diffidence about writing on matters that have become the monopoly of the experts. The kind of time we live in, even a packet of potato chips carries information on its chemical breakdown with percentages for each component. My... 

Sunday Editorial: Communal riots, the latest form of social engineering used by politicians!

  By Ratnakar Tripathy Hate politics: shortcut to power! Let me start with a cliché that may seem cynical to you – love is a lesser persuader than hate. Even though it is the more enduring sentiment for anyone who cares for anything that is lasting! You may love someone deeply and yet out of laziness, momentary lapse, lack of time or steadfastness end up failing the loved one at a crucial moment. Of course, you will call later and apologize with the realization that your apology falls seriously short. A regret will turn into a guilt which may bore a home deep inside your soul and bother... 

Batras [बतरस]-Gali-Galauj as civilized discourse: the FB status of India these days!

   By Ratnakar Tripathy 2014: start with shouting match! One of the most memorable images from my childhood days when I got to spend my vacations in the village is that of a quarrel between the women of two households that went on for a whole day. The two households were at some distance and the shouting match had to be scaled at loudspeaker like decibels. I remember even as the men of those two families sat with drooped heads, many other men and women gave up their work of the day and hung around to catch every single word exchanged. So did I. I remember young girls holding idle spades and... 

Ghoora [घूरा]:India Gate at my village Ghoora: and Ghoora at India gate!

 By Ratnakar Tripathy Democracy: at a cold moment! I feel very blessed for where I live in Patna. No, it’s not a posh colony or a gated limbo of a  software community. The reason I feel lucky is on my right flank as I write, is a gynecological hospital, where babies keep getting born all the time. I get woken up by the forceful and healthy cries of hours-old babies demanding attention dictatorially at 2 AM. They sound like someone appealing urgently through my ever open window. The scolding cry of the helpless! There is human future on the right. On the left is the big wide lane that leads... 

Ghoora [घूरा]: Why I object to the phrase ‘brutal rape’!

  Ratnakar Tripathy The way I grew up and the kind of people I have come to know through choice or inheritance, the very word ‘rape’ was avoidable. As for the act, one thought rapes happen in some kind of netherworld that never dare come into contact with my universe. Way back in my teens, there was some hushed up gossip about a distant family member inflicting himself on a pretty worker in the village, I knew quite well. The matter was suppressed. But I do remember the woman wilting away with indignity after the incident and her stuttering husband’s face too, who lost all affection... 

Ghoora [घूरा] – Gossiping caste equations in rural Bihar

Ratnakar Tripathy By Ratnakar Tripathy I am not a well-travelled man. Certainly not, compared to some globe-trotting friends and relatives who post impossible landscapes and objects on their facebook, kind of GPS footprints, as they gallop around the globe. But I have learnt one simple lesson during my travels – if you want to communicate with people, just treat their hearths as the ultimate centre of the earth. It helps you escape your own mental and material confines but more important, turns you into a joiner rather than a whishing meteorite from outer space. That’s why when I make the half-yearly... 

Ghoora [घूरा] – Gangnam in Ghagha Ghat, Patna: Holy Psy!

  Ratnakar-Tripathy By Ratnakar Tripathy Ghagha Ghat is no boondocks! It is just 200 meters away from Gandhi Ghat, the most glamorized ghat of Patna, meant to be a showpiece for the new shining Bihar.  It is also where I live. I believe I am well-placed in life, musically, if not otherwise. Everyday as I sit down to work and at times when in deep slumber, I get reminded of human mortality. For Ghagha is just a 2-minute walk from Gulabi Ghat, the cremation hub for my part of the city. As the funeral processions move hurriedly along the lane, they chant ‘Ram Naam Satya Hai [Ram’s name is... 
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