TOWARDS A GENDER-SENSITIVE CIVIL CODE, Hindustan Times [Thursday, December 13th, 2007]

Article 44 of the Constitution of India reads: ‘The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India’. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the first Law Minister, Dr B. R. Ambedkar, were both modernists who wished to reform archaic personal laws and bring [...]

 
 
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  SELECTIVE RIGHTEOUSNESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 8th, 2007]

A mail arrived in my Inbox last week, as part of a circular sent to many people with some connection to the press. Addressed to ‘the Chief Editor/ Photographer’, it read: ‘We request you to cover the demonstration that AIDWA is organizing against the violence perpetrated on a (sic) tribal women in Assam at 1.30 [...]

 
 
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  WRITERS AND POLITICS, The Hindu [Sunday, November 25th, 2007]

I have been reading the correspondence of the American polymath Edmund Wilson. Wilson was the most influential literary critic of his day, whose essays and reviews could make or break a writer’s career. He was steeped in American and European literature, and taught himself Russian and Hebrew. His range was enormous; he read and wrote [...]

 
 
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  THE KLEPTOCRAT AND THE DEMOCRAT, The Telegraph [Saturday, November 24th, 2007]

In September I was in the United States, travelling around the cities of the East Coast. The exiled Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto had been there a few weeks previously, visiting the same cities and frequently speaking at the same venues (albeit to much larger and more interested audiences). Besides academics and policy makers, Ms Bhutto [...]

 
 
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  THE LUCK OF THE SOUTH, The Hindu [Sunday, November 11th, 2007]

One of my all-time favourite places is the temple of Somanathapura. It is less visited than other famous Hoysala shrines such as Belur and Halebidu, in part because it lies off the beaten track. The words ‘beaten’ and ‘track’ need to be taken literally. For two-thirds of the way one drives along the (now fairly [...]

 
 
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  RECALLING AN EARLIER FAILURE, The Telegraph [Saturday, November 10th, 2007]

On my first trip to New York—back in the mid 1980s—I made a visit to the United Nations, an institution then held in somewhat higher esteem than it is now. In the plaza outside a demonstration was in progress. The protesters were Afghan men, their nationality manifest in their dress—they wore flowing pyjamas, a long [...]

 
 
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  A STORY OF DASGUPTAS, The Telegraph [Saturday, October 27th, 2007]

On my last trip to Kolkata, I had what can only be described as a uniquely bhadralok experience: I bought a book by a Dasgupta about another Dasgupta, which was sold to me by a third Dasgupta, after he had been guided by a fourth Dasgupta. To explain how this came about, I need to [...]

 
 
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  SIDELIGHTS ON NIRAD BABU, The Telegraph [Saturday, October 13th, 2007]

In his new book, A Writer’s People, V. S. Naipaul reflects on the work of, among others, Nirad C. Chaudhuri. Naipaul praises (with some reservations) Chaudhuri’s two volumes of autobiography, but is dismissive of his other, more impersonal, books, such as his analyses of Hindu philosophy and his lives of Clive and Max Müeller. The [...]

 
 
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  THE DAY EDWINA DIED, The Hindu [Sunday, September 30th, 2007]

The Indian public in general, and the Indian press in particular, has shown a keen and perhaps excessive interest in the relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten. That they were intimates is not to be doubted–but did the bonds ever move from the merely emotional to the tellingly physical? That one was the Prime [...]

 
 
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  THE DAY EDWINA DIED, The Hindu [Sunday, September 30th, 2007]

The Indian public in general, and the Indian press in particular, has shown a keen and perhaps excessive interest in the relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten. That they were intimates is not to be doubted–but did the bonds ever move from the merely emotional to the tellingly physical? That one was the Prime [...]

 
 
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