FOUR VIEWS OF HINDUS AND MUSLIMS, The Hindu [Sunday, July 20th, 2008]

I have recently been re-reading Bunch of Thoughts, a collection of talks by M. S. Golwalkar published in Bangalore in 1966. Golwalkar was the long-time sarsanghchalak, or head, of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, an organization that has exercised a substantial influence on the course of modern Indian history. The book’s appendix quotes Golwalkar as saying, [...]

 
 
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  THE WORLD’S FIRST ANTI-DAM MOVEMENT, The Hindu [Sunday, July 6th, 2008]

Some fifteen years ago, when the Narmada Bachao Andolan was at its height, the ecologist Madhav Gadgil told me about that movement’s forgotten predecessor. Back in the 1920s, the peasants of Mulshi Peta, near Pune, had protested against the construction of a dam being built with government support by the industrial house of the Tatas. [...]

 
 
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  THE NORTH-EAST AND THE NATION, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 21st, 2008]

Earlier this year I spent ten days travelling through three states of north-eastern India. My journey began in Manipur, where, on my first night, I had dinner with a bunch of academics and journalists. The humour on display was black: it was aimed chiefly at the two agencies that between them control and dominate the [...]

 
 
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  EXTREMISM THEN AND NOW, The Hindu [Sunday, June 8th, 2008]

Six weeks after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the (then undivided) Communist Party of India held a party congress in Calcutta. The General Secretary of the CPI was P. C. Joshi, who was of the opinion that the party must support Jawaharlal Nehru’s new Government. He believed that Nehru’s Cabinet represented a wide spectrum of [...]

 
 
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  HOW NOT TO FIGHT EXTREMISM, Hindustan Times [Monday, May 26th, 2008]

In the spring of 1990, a great Indian patriot, the liberal jurist V. M. Tarkunde, led a team of independent citizens on a study tour of the Kashmir Valley. Many cases of police and army excesses were reported to them: beatings (sometimes of children), torture (of men innocent of any crime), extra-judicial (or ‘encounter’) killings, [...]

 
 
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  THE TATTERED IDEAL, The Hindu [Sunday, May 11th, 2008]

My friend T. R. Ramakrishna, a sportswriter and sports buff of an uncommon intelligence and senstivity, recently sent me a book published in the past which speaks directly to the present. The book is called Mexico 1968, and it was written by Christopher Brasher, who had been a ‘hare‘ in Roger Bannister’s successful attempt to [...]

 
 
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  WATCHING THE WATCHDOG, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 10th, 2008]

The formal institutions of Indian democracy are not especially marked by the capacity for self-correction and self-criticism. One fact should make this clear—that no senior politician, civil servant, or judge has ever been successfully convicted for corruption or abuse of power. What then of that great informal institution of Indian democracy, the press? Is there [...]

 
 
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  A MAESTRO IN MANIPUR, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 26th, 2008]

If the mast-head of this newspaper was long enough, or if the type it uses was smaller, this column could have carried the title: ‘MEETING A MAESTRO ON A MISTY MORNING IN MANIPUR’. Over the past decade, the little and beautiful state of Manipur has replaced the larger and even more beautiful state of Nagaland [...]

 
 
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  VARIETIES OF THE GAME, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 29th, 2008]

In my opinion, Test cricket may be compared to the finest Scotch, fifty-overs a side to Indian Made Foreign Liquour, and 20-20 to the local hooch. The addict who cannot have the first or the second will make do with the last. The pleasures of the shortest game are intense but also wholly ephemeral. There [...]

 
 
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  THE RISE AND FALL OF INDIAN ENVIRONMENTALISM, Hindustan Times [Thursday, March 27th, 2008]

Thirty-five years ago this week, a group of peasants in the upper Alakananda Valley stopped a group of loggers from felling a patch of forest. That act of protest gave birth to the Chipko Andolan and, by extension, to the Indian environmental movement. Through the 1970s, other peasants in the Himalya successfully prevented other loggers [...]

 
 
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