CITIES WITHIN A CITY, The Hindu [Sunday, May 10th, 2009]

Delhi is a city I have known all my life. I first knew it from the perspective of a little boy growing up in a mofussil town in north India, who entered a world all too different—and far more sophisticated—when with his parents he crossed the old railway bridge at Jumna Bazaar to reach his [...]

 
 
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  NO GLOATING, SCAPEGOATING, Hindustan Times [Wednesday, April 1st, 2009]

Every year, in November, the American magazine Newsweek departs from its focus on current events to publish a special number which examines national and regional trends that cannot be slotted within the weekly cycle of news. Writing in the last such issue, the editor of a Delhi newspaper (not this one) wrote that ‘Indian foreign [...]

 
 
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  HOW TO RETIRE, The Hindu [Sunday, March 15th, 2009]

It was a fellow writer, Achal Prabala, who called to tell me that Premier Bookshop was closing down. ‘Mr Shanbhag seems quite determined’, said Achal: ‘The landlord is giving trouble again. He has to undergo an eye operation himself. And his daughter is keen that he come visit her in Australia. The nice thing is [...]

 
 
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  THEIR FIRST FAMILY AND OURS, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 14th, 2009]

Driving down the Mall in Lahore, I saw a large poster mixing familiar faces with those that were less familiar. There was the current Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, wearing spectacles; next to him, but looming larger in the frame, his late wife Benazir Bhutto, her head covered with a chunni. Two others I recognized [...]

 
 
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  -ITE, -IAN, AND –IST, The Hindu [Sunday, March 1st, 2009]

A friend recently described his father, who was an esteemed newspaper editor of the 1940s and 1950s, as a ‘Nehru-ite’. Since I was more familiar with the term ‘Nehruvian’, I asked why the ‘-ite’ instead of the ‘-ian’. He answered that this was conventional at that time, when—in nationalist circles—a debate raged between ‘Patel-ites’ and [...]

 
 
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  SEARCHING FOR CHARLIE, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 28th, 2009]

It was on on my last trip to Kolkata that I went searching for the grave of Charlie Andrews. A friend had told me that it was in a cemetery on Lower Circular Road. I decided to walk there from my hotel in Park Street. Fortunately, it was winter, so the weather was (relatively) mild. [...]

 
 
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  THE GOOD INDIAN, The Hindu [Sunday, February 15th, 2009]

One of the forgotten figures of Indian journalism is a man named Syed Abdullah Brelvi. Google ‘SA Brelvi’ (as I just did), and all that comes up is a road carrying that name in south Bombay. The road was so named in a more enlightened age, when Mumbaikars were free, and willing, to praise those [...]

 
 
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  CHAUVINISTS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!, Hindustan Times [Sunday, February 15th, 2009]

In a recent essay in the Economic and Political Weekly, the political scientist Neil DeVotta quotes a Sri Lankan Government Minister as saying: ‘The Sinhalese are the only organic race of Sri Lanka. Other communities are all visitors to the country, whose arrival was never challenged out of the compassion of the Buddhists. But they [...]

 
 
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  THE GOOD INDIAN, The Hindu [Sunday, February 15th, 2009]

One of the forgotten figures of Indian journalism is a man named Syed Abdullah Brelvi. Google ‘SA Brelvi’ (as I just did), and all that comes up is a road carrying that name in south Bombay. The road was so named in a more enlightened age, when Mumbaikars were free, and willing, to praise those [...]

 
 
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  THE GANDHI-RESERVOIR, The Hindu [Sunday, February 1st, 2009]

For many years now, my principal teacher on the subject of Mohandas K. Gandhi has been a man who is only incidentally his grandson. To be sure, Gopalkrishna Gandhi does respect and honour the memory of his two grandfathers (the other being C. Rajagopalachari). But his own identity is by no means restricted to the [...]

 
 
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