VERDICTS ON PAKISTAN, The Hindu [Sunday, September 11th, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  LENINISM VERSUS DEMOCRACY, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 23rd, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  BIGOTRY VS. BROADMINDEDNESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 9th, 2005]

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? [...]

 
 
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  ‘A BEASTLY PEOPLE…’ , The Hindu [Sunday, June 5th, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  THE MERITS OF MARTYRDOM, The Hindu [Sunday, May 22nd, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  THE BOMBAY-KARNATAK CONNECTION, The Hindu [Sunday, May 8th, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  WHERE LEFT MEETS RIGHT, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 30th, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  STUNG BY THE WEST, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 2nd, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  PUNJAB PAST AND PRESENT, The Hindu [Sunday, March 27th, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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  DEFACING THE MAHATMA, The Hindu [Sunday, January 30th, 2005]

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 [...]

 
 
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