Reflecting on Rahul Gandhi and the cow belt -- with eyes closed (16:08)
By Saeed Naqvi IANS Photo Service
I missed out on the "tumult" these past weeks in circumstances which remind me of Shah Sarmad, the great Sufi saint of Jewish extraction, who wrote:

Extreme polarisation overshadows Trump's year of post-digital presidency (Comment) (13:44)
By Arul Louis IANS Photo Service
Ironically for a President who ran on a platform of scaling back the government, Donald Trump began the anniversary of his swearing-in on Saturday with his government shut down.

India has a major stake in global dialogues (Comment: Special to IANS) (13:24)
By Amit Kapoor & Bhawna Kakkar IANS Photo Service
India is putting together this year its largest entourage of ministers, policymakers and business leaders for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting at Davos -- with the Prime Minister addressing the opening plenary session at the prime event.

Jaipur is perfect for the world's most egalitarian book festival: William Dalrymple (Special to IANS) (12:00) IANS Photo Service
ATTN EDITORS: This article, by William Dalrymple, is the second of two exclusively written for IANS ahead of the Jaipur Literature Festival. Editor IANS

Reopening of Loya case inconvenient for BJP (Column: Political Circus) (11:14)
By Amulya Ganguli IANS Photo Service
The case relating to the death of B.H. Loya, the judge who was investigating an alleged extra-judicial killing in Gujarat in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah was implicated, is the second legal hurdle which the party is facing.

Get the smear out before it conquers you (Health Tips) (11:14)
By Dr Yashodra P. IANS Photo Service
According to WHO, cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of deaths from cancer in women worldwide and India accounts for a third of the deaths globally, with two women dying every 15 minutes. The cancer, which affects the opening of the uterus, can be treated effectively if detected early. Cervical cancer is commonly caused by an infection with specific high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPVs).

Many languages, one literature (Exclusive to IANS) (12:02) IANS Photo Service
ATTN EDITORS: This article, by Namita Gokhale, is the first of two exclusively written for IANS ahead of the Jaipur Literature Festival. The second article, by William Dalrymple, will move on Saturday. Editor IANS

Westerners in a knot over pronouns (The Funny Side) (11:18)
By Nury Vittachi
A woman about to have a hospital procedure involving her "naughty bits" (to use the official medical term) asked for a female nurse to do it. In walked a beefy individual with a crew-cut, deep voice, facial hair and tattoos.

Budget 2018: Opportunity to fulfil housing expectations of millions (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:42)
By Ankur Dhawan
The "Housing for All by 2022" mission has set the stage for a robust recovery in the residential property market. In the past two years, we have seen an unprecedented focus on reforms channelised through the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2016, demonetisation, Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. So, this time, the Budget for FY2018-19 will be much more critical than ever. The provisions, if moved in positive directions, will have the power to continue the momentum and cement home buyers' confidence.

This budget will be Modi government's biggest challenge in 4 years (Column: Active Voice) (12:08)
By Amit Kapoor
Unlike most countries, the budget is usually an eventful affair in India and is a heated topic of national conversation around the time of its release. The underlying national interest behind it is mostly because the budget holds something for everyone -- ranging from a small farmer to a big industrialist. However, from this year onwards, much of its sheen will be off by a bit.

India and Israel: Personal chemistry shores up strategic ties (Comment) (13:14)
By C. Uday Bhaskar IANS Photo Service
The visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India (January 14-19) commemorates the 25th anniversary of the opening of an Indian embassy in Tel Aviv in 1992 and will further consolidate an important and strategically distinctive bilateral relationship for both nations. It has had a chequered past since the post-World War II birth of both countries but is poised for a pragmatic future trajectory based on shared interests.

Nasser: Forgotten colossus of the Arab world (Jan 15 is Gamal Abdel Nasser's 100th birth anniversary) (11:52)
By Vikas Datta IANS Photo Service
An abiding image of much of the Arab world now would be members of an indiscriminate and unconscionable violent Islamist terror group, but it was not always like that. A few decades ago, the model was a hugely charismatic and genuinely popular ruler (despite coming to power by revolution) who inspired hope and dignity in his own countrymen and the region -- but was reviled and undermined by the West.

Pithy philosophical prescriptions and prognoses -- a selection (Column: Bookends) (11:22)
By Vikas Datta IANS Photo Service
It is a paradox of philosophy that despite its task of giving insights into vital facets of the human condition like knowledge, perception, and ethics and seeking to solve humanity's conundrums, it should prove so difficult to fathom. Part of the blame lies with some of its practitioners who never use one word where they can put 10, often coin new words and generally make themselves obscure.

Bhansali goes into shell as producers decide 'Padmaavat' release date (Column: Bollywood Spotlight) (15:02)
By Subhash K. Jha IANS Photo Service
It is astonishing what adversity can do to you. It has been eight long, painful and mortifying months for filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, master of epic sagas like "Devdas" and "Bajirao Mastani -- which have formalised his place as the only true successor to epic filmmakers such as K. Asif, Mehboob Khan, V. Shantaram and Raj Kapoor, while making an insane amount of money for him.

Rahul must move away from his mother's populism (Column: Political Circus) (11:08)
By Amulya Ganguli IANS Photo Service
Job creation, revamping of the education system and making India the global hub of health care are the three goals which Rahul Gandhi has set for a "new, shining" Congress, as he told a convention of NRIs in Bahrain recently.

Saudi Arabia: Transforming the face of a Kingdom (Comment: Special to IANS) (12:42)
By Nilova Roy Chaudhury
There is a huge buzz throughout Saudi Arabia as the hitherto conservative Kingdom -- seen as the religious font of Islam and home to its holiest shrines -- gets ready to welcome women into its sports stadiums Friday.

Indian cities need integrated development agenda (Comment: Special to IANS) (12:30)
By Amit Kapoor
One of the fastest-growing economies in the world, India has grown at a rate of above seven per cent over the last decade. Much of this growth can be explained by the growth of its cities. Cities have emerged as economic powerhouses that have defined job growth within the country.

Is Apple really doing badly in India? (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:32)
By Faisal Kawoosa IANS Photo Service
Given the current market conditions in India for smartphones, it appears that Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, was prophetic: He did not consider this country a significant opportunity.

India needs to maintain its strategic autonomy (Comment: Special to IANS) (12:04)
By Lt. Gen. Kamal Davar (retd) IANS Photo Service
With the call that "America is in the game and America is going to win", strongly reminiscent of his populist campaign speeches, US President Donald Trump launched his first National Strategic Security (NSS) policy document on December 18, 2017. He categorised his ambitions for the US based on "principled realism" to be propelled by the "re-awakening of America".

FSSAI not a Lone Ranger, states have to complement it (Column: Active Voice) (11:16)
By Amit Kapoor
In the same week as a Delhi court acquitted all the accused in the 2G fiasco, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which had a defining role to play in the case, tabled yet another report slamming Indias apex food regulatory body.

The fearless, acrobatic performer of early Bollywood: Nadia's life and legacy (Jan 8 is Fearless Nadia's 110th birth anniversary) (17:44)
By Vikas Datta IANS Photo Service
Bollywood was more of a colonial construct than we thought -- even in the days the Indian freedom struggle was at its initial pitch. And in its initial days, it could also boast of strong feminist credentials. These contradictory impulses were fully showcased in the incredible career of one of its earliest, most identifiable and popular stars -- the Fearless Nadia, aka "Hunterwali".

Freud's threefold personality division and its literary manifestations (Column: Bookends) (11:08)
By Vikas Datta IANS Photo Service
Personality cannot be entirely predictable but its basic pathways can be somewhat mapped. It, however, comes into its own when it meets a contrasting outlook(s), and these have to combine or clash -- more so in literature. Anything with more than one principal character works on the interplay of differing personality types -- ranging from two to five. The optimum is three -- reflecting the famous Viennese psychologists conjecture of personality.

Democratising the job market for engineering graduates (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:02)
By Sanjiv Kataria IANS Photo Service
When Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy says the trend of stagnation of starting salaries for software engineers for six to seven years is "worrisome", we should be nervous. What does it imply for the job market? It's only a handful of engineering graduates who get six-digit dollar offers.

Should BJP worry about growing Dalit alienation? (Column: Political Circus) (13:42)
By Amulya Ganguli IANS Photo Service
For the third time since the Narendra Modi government's assumption of office, the Dalits have come into conflict with the Hindutva brigade. The first time was in Una in Gujarat, where a group of Dalits were thrashed by saffron activists for skinning a cow, a traditional occupation of the "untouchables".

As things change, much remains the same (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:46)
By Amit Khanna
As they say, never reinvent the wheel. Well we haven't in millennia. It is ironical that some of the oldest inventions of man have remained unaltered for centuries. In an age where mobile phones, cars and even airplanes get an upgrade every few months, some products and services remain unaltered except for cosmetic changes.

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