/2003

CHURCHILL IN BANGALORE


The Hindu

In October 1896 Winston Churchill reached Bangalore, then not a bustling megapolis but a small, sleepy, cantonment town. He liked the climate: ‘the sun even at midday is temperate and the mornings and evenings are fresh and cool’. He liked the house alloted to him: ‘a magnificent pink and white stucco palace in the middle of [...]

By |2011-11-16T11:13:35+00:00December 21st, 2003|Categories: Biography|

RECONCILING THE NAGAS


The Telegraph

Since its birth, the Indian nation-state has been challenged by rebellion and insurgency. In the late forties it was the Communist Party of India, who launched a countrywide insurrection claiming that the freedom we got from the British was false (in their evocatively pernicious slogan, ‘Ye Azadi Jhoota Hai!’). In the fifties, it was the Dravidians [...]

By |2011-10-07T22:22:28+00:00December 13th, 2003|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , , , , |

THE BIRD MEN OF INDIA


The Hindu

My old home town, Dehra Dun, occupies a special place in the history of Indian ornithology. It was here that Salim Ali spent five years with his wife, Tehmina. While living in Dehra Dun he revised and refined his first and most famous work, The Book of Indian Birds. The Valley has a dazzlingly diverse collection [...]

THE CONVERSATION OF POETS


The Hindu

Those who believe that climate determines social behaviour should take a closer look at the American state of Wisconsin. This is cold in winter and cold in summer. In December, the snow lies high upon the ground; in May, the wind from the lakes cynically neutralizes the rays of the mid-morning sun. Yet despite its deeply [...]

THE LOCALITY AND THE NATION


The Hindu

On Independence Day this year I was driving from Bangalore to the small temple town of Melkote. At traffic lights within the city we were hailed by vendors selling the National Flag. When we got to the highway, we passed boys on motor bikes waving the tiranga jhanda. Clearly, the Supreme Court order allowing private citizens [...]

A SALUTE TO THE SECOND-HAND BOOKSTORE


The Hindu

In twenty years as a workaday writer, I have published several million words, of which only about a thousand have actually helped anyone other than myself. These were contained in an article published in a Delhi newspaper in 1992 after the city’s police commissioner summarily evicted the pavement book stalls in Daryaganj, holding them to be [...]

By |2011-11-30T11:49:58+00:00August 3rd, 2003|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

ECOLOGICAL PATRIOT


The Hindu

My wife and I were recently discussing people we admired. High on her list was the artist and writer Manjula Padmanabhan. She had just seen Manjula’s evocative graphic ‘Let it Grow’: and had previously read and liked her play Harvest, her illustrated children’s story City Market, and her very adult short story collection, Hot Death, Cold [...]

MEMORIES OF 1983


The Hindu

In the history of Indian cricket, there are really only two competitors for the title of ‘greatest victory ever’: the 1971 series win over England in England, and the defeat of the West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final. In 1971 England were arguably the best side in the world: they had just defeated the [...]

GANDHI THE JOURNALIST


The Hindu

A hundred years this week, a new weekly made its appearance in Johannesburg. Its raison d’etre, as expressed in the inaugural issue, was that ‘the Indian community in South Africa is a recognized factor in the body politic, and a newspaper, voicing its feelings, and specially devoted to its cause, would hardly be considered out of [...]

PUBLIC-SPIRITED INDIANS


The Hindu

Recently, in the course of a single week, I met two Indians of very different professional and personal backgrounds, yet commited to the same goal—getting all of India’s children into school. Jean Dreze is an economist of Belgian extraction, who has lived in this country for more than two decades. He took his Ph D at [...]