/2004

AN ELEVEN OF THEIR OWN, The Telegraph

My favourite cricketing story, patriots will be pained to hear, has a Pakistani playing the lead role. Not against India, though, but against the West Indies. On a hot day in Bridgetown many years ago, Hanif Mohammad was battling to save a Test match. Among those watching him keep out the likes of Roy Gilchrist and [...]

HINDU POPES, The Telegraph

When the Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992, a prominent Mahant of Ayodhya called it the first step in making the town the ‘Vatican of the Hindus’. I was recently reminded of that statement, while reading the Oxford historian R.W. Southern’s classic Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. This book skilfully sets [...]

COMPOSING A CULTURE, The Hindu

Writers in Kannada have won seven Jnanpith awards, a record equalled only by one other language, Hindi. But then there are many more speakers of Hindi. And of the seven Kannada awardees three did not even grow up speaking that language. Thus D. R. Bendre’s mother tongue was Marathi. Masti Venkateswara Iyengar’s first language was Tamil. [...]

HINDI CHAUVINISM, The Hindu

I have recently been reading the debates of the Constituent Assembly of India. These are a treasure-trove; invaluable to the scholar, but also well worth reading by the citizen. Among the topics debated by the Assembly were federalism, minority rights, preventive detection—topics that were contentious then, and continue to be contentious now. However, by far the [...]