THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY, The Telegraph [Monday, April 10th, 2006]

In her early years as Congress President, Sonia Gandhi was treated as a political lightweight, by her opponents and independent commentators alike. Her public persona exuded diffidence. She spoke English inadequately. Her Hindi was worse. Her command of both languages was made more imperfect by the thick Italian accent in which the words were couched [...]

 
 
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  CALLING IT QUITS, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 1st, 2006]

The day the Mumbai crowd booed Sachin Tendulkar after his failure in the third Test against England, another Indian legend was formally, finally, leaving his field. This was Dr Verghese Kurien, who announced that day that he was resigning as Chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation. This coincidence got me thinking—when, and in [...]

 
 
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  THE END OF THE BIOGRAPHER, The Hindu [Sunday, March 26th, 2006]

Many years ago, while doing research on the life of the anthropologist Verrier Elwin, I found myself in the library of the great old publishing house of John Murray, on Albemarle Street in central London. Elwin had once been a Murray author; and so had been some far more distinguished people. One such was the [...]

 
 
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  THE END OF THE BIOGRAPHER?, The Hindu [Sunday, March 26th, 2006]

Many years ago, while doing research on the life of the anthropologist Verrier Elwin, I found myself in the library of the great old publishing house of John Murray, on Albemarle Street in central London. Elwin had once been a Murray author; and so had been some far more distinguished people. One such was the [...]

 
 
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  GHATAK AND THE GOVERNMENT, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 18th, 2006]

My interests, personal as well as professional, are in politics and society; in cultural terms I am more-or-less a philistine. I know a little about literature, a little less about music, and nothing at all about the greatest of modern art forms, the cinema. This column about a film director is being written by a [...]

 
 
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  NEHRU AND NIRALA, The Hindu [Sunday, March 12th, 2006]

Many years ago, the anthropologist Triloki Nath Pandey told me a story featuring Jawaharlal Nehru and the poet Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’. The Prime Minister had just returned from a visit to the People’s Republic of China. He was addressing a public meeting in his home town, Allahabad, where Nirala then lived and where Triloki Pandey [...]

 
 
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  NEHRU AND NIRALA, The Hindu [Sunday, March 12th, 2006]

Many years ago, the anthropologist Triloki Nath Pandey told me a story featuring Jawaharlal Nehru and the poet Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’. The Prime Minister had just returned from a visit to the People’s Republic of China. He was addressing a public meeting in his home town, Allahabad, where Nirala then lived and where Triloki Pandey [...]

 
 
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  LOVE AND HATE BEFORE THE AGE OF BUSH, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 4th, 2006]

For most of its career as an independent nation, India has not had the happiest relations with the United States. In the words of the historian Denis Kux, these have been two ‘estranged democracies’. The causes of the estrangement were various—America’s enchantment with India’s enemy, Pakistan; India’s affection for America’s enemy, the Soviet Union; the [...]

 
 
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  HOW MUCH SHOULD A PERSON CONSUME? University of California Press, Chapter IX [Saturday, February 18th, 2006]

“The United States is presiding at a general reorganization of the ways of living throughout the world.” André Siegfried, speaking in 1932 This chapter takes as its point of departure an old essay by John Kenneth Galbraith—an essay so ancient and obscure that it might very well have been forgotten even by its prolific author. [...]

 
 
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  THE FIRST ‘GANDHIAN’ INTELLECTUALS, The Hindu [Sunday, February 12th, 2006]

While Mahatma Gandhi was alive, not many intellectuals would willingly identify themselves as ‘Gandhian’. Writers and thinkers treated him, at best, with a kindly indulgence; and, at worst, with unremitting hostility. The first group admired the Mahatma’s asceticism and personal integrity and, were they Indian, his ability to move the masses and draw them into [...]

 
 
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