Derek O'Brien (for Info only, not official)

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Derek O'Brien

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    ...Tomorrow, Mother Teresa will join them. She will become the 10th St Teresa, St Teresa of Calcutta/Kolkata, and like the others distinguished by the city she is most identified with. This background is important to understand why the canonisation of Mother Teresa is a special event even within the narrow space of the Catholic church’s conferring of sainthood on its most revered. Some have been so honoured centuries after death. Joan of Arc was murdered in the early 15th century and canonised in the early 20th century. Mother Teresa is being canonised merely 20 years after her passing. She is recognised as special, both within the Catholic church and outside. She is recognised as somebody who always introduced herself as an Indian, and yet rose above national boundaries to become a global icon. ...

    TOI on Sept. 3, 2016, 2 a.m.

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    ...At Rome airport itself, the Missionaries of Charity, the order Mother Teresa founded, was kind enough to send nuns to welcome Mamata Banerjee. The Archbishop of Kolkata also sent priests to receive the delegation, which has arrived at the express invitation of the Missionaries of Charity.As I write this, it is breakfast time in Rome. The formal canonisation of Mother Teresa, for which we are all here, is on Sunday. This is a day of waiting, of patience and reflection. On the journey from Kolkata, a flood of memories and experiences overwhelmed me. ...

    NDTV on Sept. 3, 2016, midnight

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    ...A flood of memories from a full decade ago came rushing back. It was in December 2006 that Mamata Banerjee had gone on that iconic 26-day hunger strike in Singur. She, and so many Trinamool workers and ordinary farmers, had been physically attacked and mocked for opposing the forcible grabbing of 1,000 acres of fertile land for the Tata Motors factory. A Communist government collaborated with a friendly corporation to give Indian business, Indian governance, Indian society and India a bad name. The Supreme Court has been scathing in its judgement, and the text should be read carefully by the proponents of the Singur fraud of 2006.Mamata Banerjee was genuinely horrified by that action. ...

    NDTV on Sept. 1, 2016, midnight

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    ...So here goes.I've been a sports fan all my life and can recount every major Indian achievement - they're so few! - in sport in the past 40 years. I was before a television screen, glued to a radio, when India won big victories in cricket or tennis, when P.T. Usha outran all of Asia, and when Vishy Anand became world champion.But truly nothing, just nothing has given me as much of a thrill as seeing you perform those definition-defying feats on the gymnastics floor. You finished fourth in Rio, but your performance was worth its weight in more than gold. I was a kid when Nadia Comaneci scored that perfect 10 in Montreal in 1976. I never thought then, or till a few months ago when I first read of you, that an Indian gymnast would make it to that league. Your performance that day in the Olympics moved me to tears.It was an emotional whirl, and I'll explain why. I know Tripura well. ...

    NDTV on Aug. 25, 2016, midnight

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    ...This one-liner came back to me recently as I considered the volatile and worrying situation in the Kashmir Valley, and how some people in India, on social media and on prime-time shows and in real life as well, unfortunately, seem to make a distinction between Kashmir, the land and Kashmiris, the people. As if the first is all-important to India and the second is less of a priority.I find this strange and immature for a nation and a civilisation of our enlightenment and richness. This is not to say I have all the answers. The issues have been with us for 70 years and greater minds have failed to resolve them, but I can comment on the current mess and how the government in Delhi has simply mishandled things.First, let there be no doubt that terrorism and those who take to the gun and kill innocent people cannot be condoned, whatever their grievances. ...

    NDTV on Aug. 12, 2016, midnight

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    ...With the Lok Sabha passing the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill yesterday, the first hurdle towards introducing the Goods and Services Tax has been cleared. Now the Constitutional Amendment will need to be ratified by half the state assemblies, following which a Bill actually introducing a GST will be placed before parliament. The race to meet the April 1, 2017, deadline is on. For the Trinamool Congress and for me personally, the passing of the GST amendment was extremely satisfying. Trinamool has long been committed to GST and made positive mention of it in four successive election manifestos: 2009 and 2014 (national elections) and 2011 and 2016 (Bengal assembly elections). The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers that finally facilitated the GST bill was chaired by my colleague and Bengal's Finance Minister Amit Mitra. I was on the Select Committee that looked into the bill and suggested crucial changes such as in the proposed dispute redressal mechanism between states. These were incorporated in the final bill and it was very fulfilling. All this was a learning experience for me. ...

    NDTV on Aug. 9, 2016, midnight

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    ...If you followed the so-called national media, of course, you would have missed it. Indian politics has changed, but the national media hasn't quite realised it. Actually, it would be a travesty to call a bunch of Delhi-based channels and newspapers - some of which sell barely a few thousand copies - the "national media". They are the Delhi media and yet they have given themselves national status. Regional language papers and channels, whether in Bengali or Gujarati, Tamil or Hindi, may sell millions more and be watched by millions, more but they will never be considered "national". Like the "regional parties," they are forever consigned to second-rate status in the Delhi media caste system. The Rajya Sabha has 233 elected members, of which 100 belong to the BJP and the Congress. 60% of the House is from smaller parties, which often act in concert. ...

    NDTV on July 29, 2016, midnight

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    ...Within minutes Arvind Kejriwal re-tweeted this. Reaching the House at about 10:45-10:50 am, I told Mayawati, the leader of the BSP and my senior colleague in the Rajya Sabha, about the tweet, and that I was going to raise the issue as the proceedings for the day began at 11. This was duly done, with members of the BSP joining the Trinamool Congress. At 11:10, the House was adjourned, and after repeated interruptions, met at 2 pm. ...

    NDTV on July 22, 2016, midnight