AN INSTRUMENT OF THE SELF, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 31st, 2010]

Every year, a music festival is held in Bangalore around Rama Navami. It takes place in Basavanagudi, in the heart of the old City, under a shamiana in the grounds of the Fort High School. The artistes are mostly of the Southern or Carnatic tradition, but occasionally a Hindustani musician is invited to perform. During [...]

 
 
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  JUSTICE AND THE ADIVASI, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 17th, 2010]

In the summer of 2006, I travelled with a group of scholars and writers through the district of Dantewada, then (as now) the epicentre of the conflict between the Indian State and Maoist rebels. Writing about my experiences in a four-part series published in The Telegraph, I predicted that the conflict would intensify, because the [...]

 
 
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  THE ECUMENICAL MARXIST, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 19th, 2010]

The great German sociologist Max Weber once made an important distinction between universities on the one side and religious seminaries and political parties on the other. Seminaries and parties upheld a particular ideology, and made it mandatory for their members to believe in it. Howewer, universities were emphatically not centres of indoctrination. Its professors could [...]

 
 
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  THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 22nd, 2010]

Thirty years ago, a Department of Environment was set up in the Central Government; twenty-five years ago, this was upgraded into a full-fledged Ministry of Environment and Forests. As we mark these anniversaries, it must be said that the Ministers in charge of this Ministry have generally been incompetent, or malign, or both. Some might [...]

 
 
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  TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE PRIME MINISTER, Hindustan Times [Sunday, May 16th, 2010]

In seventeen years as Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru visited the United States on three separate occasions. Dr Manmohan Singh has been three times to the U. S. in the past year alone. Those on the left of the political spectrum might interpret this as evidence of a dangerous subservience. I do not share this view, [...]

 
 
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  A BRIEF HISTORY OF BIPARTISANSHIP, Hindustan Times [Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010]

When the politician-social worker Nanaji Deshmukh died last month, none of the obituaries mentioned what may have been his finest moment. This occurred during a debate in the Rajya Sabha in the first week of May 2002. The subject being discussed was the recent Gujarat riots. As members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the [...]

 
 
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  THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, Caravan [Monday, March 1st, 2010]

Not long ago, I found myself in a panel discussion on television with three politicians. One was a Congress Member of Parliament, a second an MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the third the President of one of the smaller regional formations. In the course of the conversation I found reason to criticize the three [...]

 
 
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  RECONCILING THE MAOISTS, The Telegraph [Friday, February 26th, 2010]

Soon after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) was banned. This was in part because Gandhi’s murderer, Nathuram Godse, had once been a member of the RSS; and in part because RSS leaders played a crucial role in the polarization of Hindu-Muslim relations that led to that tragic [...]

 
 
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  THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BILINGUAL INTELLECTUAL, Economic and Political Weekly [Saturday, January 23rd, 2010]

This essay is inspired by an argument between the scholar-libarian B. S. Kesavan and his son Mukul that I was once privy to. I forget what they were fighting about. But I recall that the father, then past ninety years of age, was giving as good as he got. At periodic intervals he would turn [...]

 
 
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  HOW NOT TO CHOOSE A GOVERNOR, Hindustan Times [Sunday, January 3rd, 2010]

In the first weeks of December, I travelled through four states of the Union. In each state, I discussed the local political situation with a cross-section of the citizenry. We spoke of the work of Ministers and Chief Ministers, and, as it happens, of Governors. In one place, I heard the complaint that the Governor’s [...]

 
 
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