VIGNETTES OF VAJPAYEE, The Hindu [Sunday, July 4th, 2004]

In the last weeks of 1999, I was the recipient of a phone call from a Delhi bibliophile I knew slightly. The Prime Minister’s family, he said, felt that the time had come to suitably commemorate, in cold print, the life and times of the great man. They had asked the bibliophile, as the best-read [...]

 
 
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  PASSAGES THROUGH INDIA , The Hindu [Sunday, June 20th, 2004]

There is a wonderful book waiting to be written about Western representations of India in the twentieth century. Before and after Independence, the sub-continent attracted an array of foreign writers determined to dig up the ‘truth about India’. Many came to report on Gandhi’s struggle for freedom. If they were socialist, they tended to celebrate [...]

 
 
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  THE INDIAN TRADITION OF NON-RENUNCIATION, The Hindu [Sunday, June 6th, 2004]

Few people, within or outside her Congress party, expected Mrs Sonia Gandhi not to accept the office of Prime Minister after the Indian elections results were out. Her decision to renounce the post in favour of the economist Dr Manmohan Singh has prompted the most extravagant comparisons. Some have gone back as far as Gautama [...]

 
 
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  FIVE MYTHS ABOUT JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, The Hindu [Sunday, May 23rd, 2004]

In this, the week of the fortieth death anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, let us consider some of the myths that have gathered around his name and his legacy: Myth 1: Nehru promoted a ‘dynasty’ This myth draws support from the fact that Nehru’s daughter and grandson also served as Prime Minister, that his granddaughter-in-law has [...]

 
 
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  A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 15th, 2004]

Bangalore voted on Sunday the 20th of April, the first round of polling. Anticipating crowds in the morning, my wife and I went to the neighbourhood booth in the afternoon. Outside, the names of the candidates were pasted on the walls. There were a dozen candidates in all but here, as in many other parts [...]

 
 
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  A SALUTE TO SMALLER STATES, The Hindu [Sunday, May 9th, 2004]

Kavalam Madhavan Pannikar was one of the more interesting characters of twentieth-century India. He was a well regarded novelist in his native Malayalam, and an influential historian in English. Perhaps the best known of his books is Asia and Western Dominance, which dealt with what he termed ‘the Vasco Da Gama epoch of Asian history’. [...]

 
 
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  THE FAMILY BUSINESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 1st, 2004]

The poet Dom Moraes has written of how, fresh from Oxford, he went to call on India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru liked young writers, and this one had come with good credentials; he was the son of one of India’s leading editors, and had won a sheaf of literary prizes himself. The conversation [...]

 
 
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  THE MYSORE GENERATION, The Hindu [Sunday, April 25th, 2004]

British colonialists and Indian nationalists were agreed on one thing: the utter worthlessness of most of the Maharajas and Nawabs of princely India. These rulers were viewed as feckless and dissolute, over-fond of racing horses and unattached women and holidays in Europe. A British observer wrote in the early twentieth century that the States were [...]

 
 
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  AMERICAN PRIDE AND POWER, The Hindu [Sunday, April 11th, 2004]

The best second-hand bookstore in India is located not in Kolkata’s College Street but in my home town, Bangalore. This is Select Bookshop, which was founded in 1945 by a lawyer named K. B. K. Rao. In six decades the store has shifted location as many times: once on Mahatma Gandhi Road, then in Malleswaram, [...]

 
 
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  A VICEROY’S READING LIST, The Hindu [Sunday, March 28th, 2004]

The Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library house a vast number of manuscript collections relating to India. These include the records of the Secretary of State of India, the correspondence of Viceroys, and the papers of numerous officers of the Indian Civil Service. Other collections deal with the princely states, and with [...]

 
 
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