A SHORT NOTE ON A SHORT ESSAY ON THE SHORT STORY, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 9th, 2006]

The first argument I had with my wife was about literature. We had known each other only a few weeks, but fortunately—in those pre-cable TV, pre-Internet, days—we knew already that boy and girl could find common ground in discussing books and authors. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children had just appeared, and the lady who was not [...]

 
 
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  KASHMIR THEN AS NOW, The Hindu [Sunday, November 12th, 2006]

Among the minor figures of modern Indian history, one who has long intrigued me is the civil servant and journalist A. D. Gorwala. Born in 1900, Gorwala studied in Bombay and England before joining the Indian Civil Service in 1924. He served in rural Sindh and in the Secretariat, acquiring a high reputation for efficiency [...]

 
 
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  BASTAR THEN AND NOW, The Hindu [Sunday, October 29th, 2006]

At about the time of the Battle of Britain, an Englishman of combatant age made a new home with his new wife in a then very remote, and very forested, princely state named Bastar. The man was Verrier Elwin, a brilliant Oxford scholar who had joined the Church and then left it, apprenticed himself to [...]

 
 
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  RECORDING GANDHI, The Hindu [Sunday, October 8th, 2006]

Some months ago, I wrote in these columns about Nirmal Kumar Bose, the anthropologist who worked with Mahatma Gandhi and also wrote about him. That piece attracted the attention of a resident of Bangalore named Biren Das, whom I knew of as a patron of classical music and as the great-grandson of the inventor of [...]

 
 
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  RECORDING GANDHI, The Hindu [Sunday, October 8th, 2006]

Some months ago, I wrote in these columns about Nirmal Kumar Bose, the anthropologist who worked with Mahatma Gandhi and also wrote about him. That piece attracted the attention of a resident of Bangalore named Biren Das, whom I knew of as a patron of classical music and as the great-grandson of the inventor of [...]

 
 
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  THE ARTS OF HUMANKIND, The Telegraph [Saturday, September 30th, 2006]

‘For a sixteen-year-old youth who had yet to begin to shave’, writes Kumar Mukherji in his memoir of life as a music lover, ‘the winter of 1942 would best be remembered as the year when he heard Kesarbai [Kerkar], Roshanara Begum and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan perform’. Were I to recall the year I [...]

 
 
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  LOT’S IN A NAME, The Hindu [Sunday, September 24th, 2006]

When Mohammed Yousuf is at the wicket I often stop by the TV and watch, for he is one of the more graceful batsmen now playing. I thus caught snatches of the three long hundreds he scored against England earlier this summer, in the course of which at least two commentators referred to him as [...]

 
 
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  BISMILLAH OF BANARAS, The Hindu [Sunday, August 27th, 2006]

In a delicious paradox that can only be Indian, the man who best embodied the spirit of the holy Hindu city of Banaras was a Muslim. Although he was born in Bihar, Bismillah Khan moved to Banaras as a young man, and lived there until he died, spending some seven decades in an old, crumbling [...]

 
 
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  BISMILLAH OF BANARAS, The Hindu [Sunday, August 27th, 2006]

In a delicious paradox that can only be Indian, the man who best embodied the spirit of the holy Hindu city of Banaras was a Muslim. Although he was born in Bihar, Bismillah Khan moved to Banaras as a young man, and lived there until he died, spending some seven decades in an old, crumbling [...]

 
 
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  CHOLBÉ NA!, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 5th, 2006]

In Marginal Men, his fine history of refugee politics, Prafulla Chakrabarti recounts how Kolkata acquired its by now well founded reputation as a city of protests and protesters. To demand fair compensation and citizenship rights, writes Chakrabati, the leaders of the movement aimed to throw ‘regimented bands of refugees in the streets of Calcutta and [...]

 
 
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