/2005

VERDICTS ON PAKISTAN


The Hindu

In this column I have, from time to time, discussed forecasts about India’s future made by political commentators. This time I want to place before you two forecasts made about our great neighbour to the north-west, Pakistan. These verdicts were offered forty years apart, albeit in the same American magazine. In its issue of February 1959, [...]

LENINISM VERSUS DEMOCRACY


The Telegraph

In 1977, Left Fronts dominated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) came to power in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. A year later, the CPM leader B. T. Ranadive wrote a pungent critique of the parliamentary path to socialism. This took the shape of a review of a recent book by the Spanish [...]

BIGOTRY VS. BROADMINDEDNESS


The Telegraph

Can the BJP reconstitute itself as a sober, responsible, right-wing party, a party that respects tradition and order without necessarily advertising itself as ‘Hindu’? Put more directly, can it free itself of the RSS and the VHP? Or must it always, in the last instance, be hostage to the beliefs of the Parivar’s fundamentalist fringe? These [...]

‘A BEASTLY PEOPLE…’


The Hindu

In April 1919, a group of soldiers led by a man named Dyer fired at a crowd of unarmed Indians at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Speaking in the House of Commons, Winston Churchill described this as ‘a monstrous event’, a ‘great slaughter or massacre upon a particular crowd of people, with the intention of terrorising [...]

THE MERITS OF MARTYRDOM


The Hindu

This week forty-one years ago, I was hustled out of my school in the (then) little hill town of Dehradun to watch a helicopter land. In that age and place, vehicles that flew were rare in any case. This one was made more special by its principal passenger, who was Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India. [...]

By |2011-11-18T10:19:54+00:00May 22nd, 2005|Categories: History|Tags: , , |

THE BOMBAY-KARNATAK CONNECTION


The Hindu

The state of Karnataka is made up of three sections, each previously part of another political regime. There is ‘Old Mysore’, the districts in the south which once belonged to the princely state of that name. There is the ‘Hyderabad-Karnatak’, the collective name for the arid northern districts (Bijapur, Raichur, Gulbarga, etc.) that once formed part [...]

By |2011-10-10T13:15:03+00:00May 8th, 2005|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , , , |

WHERE LEFT MEETS RIGHT


The Telegraph

Earlier this year, I was at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, where I had been asked to given an after-dinner talk to the students. I reached ten minutes before schedule, so my hosts took me for a coffee while the audience was being rustled up. While we drank the coffee, at a modest open-air [...]

STUNG BY THE WEST


The Telegraph

Back in the 1850s, Karl Marx wrote a series of essays on the results of British rule in India. These essays were marked by an ambivalence that was uncharacteristic as well as profound. On the one hand, Marx saw that the British had come to the sub-continent to dominate and exploit, objectives that were deeply repugnant [...]

PUNJAB PAST AND PRESENT


The Hindu

I first visited Punjab in the summer of 1973, to play a cricket match in Patiala. Later that same year occurred an event of some significance in the history of Punjab and India. In October 1973 the Working Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal met at the great gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib, and asked the Government [...]

DEFACING THE MAHATMA


The Hindu

On 30th January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a right-wing fanatic named Nathuram Godse. The act shamed most Indians—but not all. For there has always been a significant minority who have been on the side of Godse. At different times, the Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray and the then RSS chief Rajendra Singh have praised [...]