Desi Talk

16 November 24, 2017 INDIA – that’s all you need to know Pew and Moody’s LikeWhat Modi Is Doing In India. University Of Michigan Love His Tweets Too. -MUMBAI G oogle onWednesday honored Cornelia Sorabji, India's first woman lawyer, on her 151st birth anniversary with a doodle. Cornelia Sorabji was born to Parsi priest Sorabji Karsedji and Francina Ford on November 15 in 1866 in Nashik's Deolali in Maharashtra (Bombay Presidency). She was one of nine siblings, but Sorabji went on to carve her own niche in the country's legal history with several firsts to her credit. Google saluted her many achievements - the first woman graduate of University of Bombay (now Mumbai); first woman lawyer of India who practiced at Allahabad High Court; first woman to ever get admis- sion to a British university - Oxford; and the first female to practice law both in India and Britain at the height of the Indian freedom struggle. The doodle has been designed by Jasjyot Singh Hans and shows Sorabji standing outside the Allahabad High Court, where she launched her practice, attired in a lawyer's robe comprising a black gown, a white band and even a white wig. From Nashik, she shifted and spent part of her childhood in Belgaum (now Karnataka) and Poona (now Pune) and studied in the Deccan College, graduating with high rankings from the University of Bombay in the mid-1880s. She briefly worked at a men's college in Gujarat as a teacher and in 1888 sought assistance of the National Indian Association, UK, to pursue higher educa- tion. Sorabji received support frommany Britons, including Arthur and his wife Mary Hobhouse, Florence Nightingale, Sir WilliamWedderburn and others. She travelled to England in 1889 and lived with the Hobhouse couple. After clearing many obstacles, she became the first woman to join the Somerset Ville, Oxford, for a Bachelor in Civil Laws degree in 1892, with special permission. Upon returning to India in 1894, she plunged into social service and legal advi- sory work, especially for "purda-nashin" women from wealthy or royal families, who had no means to defend their wealth and properties, but Sorabji secured special permission to file pleas on their behalf, yet could not represent them in the courts. In 1897, she graduated in L.L.B. from University of Bombay and passed the gov- ernment pleader's exam from Allahabad High Court in 1899, but was finally recog- nised as a Barrister only after the laws bar- ring women from the legal fraternity were finally changed in 1923. Overcoming all biases and discrimina- tion, she continued to work in different legal capacities in Maharashtra, Allahabad, Bihar, Bengal, Orissa and Assam for over two decades. Between 1900-1930s, she wrote around a dozen books including two autobio- graphical works; travelled extensively in India and the US; helped her mother to found several girls' schools in and around Poona and penned articles for various Indian and British periodicals. -I ANS Google Honors India's 1st Woman Lawyer With Doodle Google on Wednesday honored Cornelia Sorabji, India's first woman lawyer, on her 151st birth anniver- sary with a doodle. By Sujeet Rajan - NEW YORK ndia’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi must surely feel on top of the world this weekend. At least, he can smell clean, fresh air; see blue sky, atop the smog and dense pollution shrouding Delhi. A slew of good news came this week like a deck of cards splayed out, showing all aces, for the beleaguered prime minister who has of late faced a barrage of criticism over governance and reforms with trademark stoic calm and silence: Moody’s Investors Service raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time since 2004 - applauded Modi’s economic initiatives in India, including demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), gave a reassuring thumbs up for India’s long-term economic growth and prosperity. Days before, the respected Pew Research Center released a survey which revealed Modi’s popularity is not only intact, but in fact, zooming with the Indian masses, across the length and breadth of the country. Critically, for Modi, the survey made it clear that despite teething trou- bles, India understands and appreciates his tough reforms to weed out corruption and instill long-term economic growth. The icing on the cake for Modi, who loves to post selfies on social media and has inculcated a sardonic sense of humor, might be a University of Michigan study this week which went gaga over his use of sarcasm in witty tweets, targeting the opposition, with Rahul Gandhi facing the brunt of his barbs. That, explained the study, is the reason for his huge following on twitter, which is 36 million and counting. If nothing else, that revelation must have brought a huge grin on the prime minister’s face (Mr. Trump, please note!). Last month, theWorld Bank too had made clear their satisfaction with India’s progress, and potential for growth. India jumped 30 places to rank 100th in the latest ranking for doing business across borders. The uptick for Modi couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Gujarat state elections coming up next month. India’s state of economy has been a hot button topic, with partisan divide dictating discussions, rather than ample proof to back arguments, whether it’s in offices, living rooms, or on social media. Now, Modi has proof to back his reforms, not worry about anti-incum- bency seeping in to thwart his long-termmission plans. Pew noted in its survey: “Three years into Modi’s five- year tenure, the honeymoon period for his administration may be over but the public’s love affair with current condi- tions in India is even more intense.” The survey revealed that nearly nine-in-ten Indians hold a favorable opinion of Modi, comparable to their view of him in 2015, after a year in office. Roughly seven- in-ten say they have a very favorable view of the prime minister, again similar to public views in 2015. The survey was conducted among 2,464 respondents in India from February 21 to March 10, 2017. Interestingly, Modi’s overwhelming popularity extends across India. At least nine-in-ten Indians in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and in the western states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh hold a favorable view of the prime minister. The same is true for more than eight-in- ten in the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal and the northern states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Since 2015, Modi’s popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south and is down slightly in the east. Modi remains by far the most popular national figure in Indian politics tested in the survey. His favorable rating is 31 percentage points higher than that of Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party, and is 30 points more than that for Rahul Gandhi, who led the Congress ticket in the last Lok Sabha election. The public’s positive assessment of Modi is buoyed by growing contentment with the Indian economy: More than eight-in-ten say economic conditions are good, up 19 percentage points since immediately before the 2014 elec- tion. And the share of adults who say the economy is very good (30%) has tripled in the past three years. Overall, seven-in-ten Indians are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country. This positive assess- ment of India’s direction has nearly doubled since 2014. At least seven-in-ten Indians approve of how he has helped the poor and handled unemployment, terrorism and corruption. Approval in these four areas is up 10 points or more since 2016. It remains to be seen if Standard and Poor’s and Fitch, the other two big ratings services, will follow Moody’s path on the $2 trillion economy India, or when. But the Indian government is not complaining. Moody’s said in a press release: "While India’s high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit pro- file, Moody’s believes that the reforms put in place have reduced the risk of a sharp increase in debt, even in poten- tial downside scenarios." Moody’s move "is an overdue correction,” said Modi’s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, to Bloomberg. "This is a recognition of India’s macro eco- nomic reforms. But it has also to be kept in mind that these are external factors. And the government will pursue its own reform agenda. And those will drive our economic development." The government has also won praise from ratings firms for a $32 billion program to recapitalize banks that econo- mists say will revive lending and stoke demand on the ground, reported Bloomberg. Moody’s forecasts India’s GDP growth of 6.7 percent for the fiscal year through March 2018, with a pick up to 7.5 percent in the following year and "similarly robust" levels from 2019 onward. As soon as the news hit the bourses, of India’s upgrade to Baa2 from Baa3, Rupee, bonds and stocks rallied. The University of Michigan too timed the release of their study, to perfection, giving insight to India’s most popular leader, his way of shaming the opposition and detractors on twitter, while shoring up and building his own base of supporters. “Modi's irony provides a form of political spectacle and resonated on social media as shown by high retweeting of his sarcastically worded messages," said Joyojeet Pal, assis- tant professor of information, at the university, after he and his team analyzed more than 9,000 tweets by Modi (@narendramodi) over a six-year period. The researchers coded the tweets into nine broad themes: cricket, Rahul Gandhi, entertainment, sarcasm, corruption, development, foreign affairs, Hinduism, and science and technology. After coding, they found that sarcastic tweets were closely concentrated around election and campaigning cycles. In many of Modi's tweets during national elections, he referred to the main opposition party as corrupt and Gandhi as "Rahul Baba" or "Shahzada (prince)." By using humor and sarcasm, Modi was signaling that the Congress party was not in touch with its roots and let- ting his own followers get the inside joke, the researchers said. Here is an example of a Modi tweet, which garnered 2,545 retweets: "The way Rahul Baba is making statements with a dash of comedy in them, I think the TV show of Kapil Sharma may soon have to shut shop." "There are plenty of attacks, rhetoric, cleverly worded jibes and jokes," Pal said. "The power of Modi's message is in the juxtaposition of his past as a train station tea-seller alongside his present as a selfie-clicking leader of a strong aspirational but fundamentally nationalist state. Sarcasm is as much a message fromModi as it is a message about him." I