/2010

AN INSTRUMENT OF THE SELF


The Telegraph

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 the [...]

JUSTICE AND THE ADIVASI


The Telegraph

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 Maoists [...]

By |2011-12-01T11:38:18+00:00July 17th, 2010|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , , |

THE ECUMENICAL MARXIST


The Telegraph

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 not, [...]

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE


The Telegraph

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 make [...]

By |2011-12-01T11:39:55+00:00May 22nd, 2010|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , |

TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE PRIME MINISTER


Hindustan Times

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, not [...]

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BIPARTISANSHIP


Hindustan Times

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 Congress [...]

THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS


Caravan

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 netas [...]

RECONCILING THE MAOISTS


The Telegraph

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 event. [...]

By |2011-12-01T11:42:16+00:00February 26th, 2010|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BILINGUAL INTELLECTUAL


Economic and Political Weekly

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 to [...]

HOW NOT TO CHOOSE A GOVERNOR


Hindustan Times

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 son [...]