/2011

TRIBAL TRAGEDIES


Hindustan Times

In August 2010—that is, exactly a year ago¬—Rahul Gandhi told a group of tribals in Orissa that he would be their soldier in New Delhi. There is no record of his having acted on that promise. The Dongria Konds of Niyamgiri forgotten, his attention has more recently been focused on the Jats of NOIDA, and other [...]

By |2011-12-28T10:35:20+00:00August 15th, 2011|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |

A Writer’s Comments


The root of the word “liberal” is the Latin “liber” – “free” – and 
since that root is found also in words such as “liberation”, with
 their implicit suggestion of carefree freedom, we tend to 
unconsciously mistake liberalism’s objective with its process. To be 
liberal, we think, is to be easy and relaxed, even blithe. But [...]

BAN THE BAN


The Telegraph

Earlier this year, the Gujarat Government banned a book on Mahatma Gandhi by an American writer. The book was not then available in India, and no one in Gujarat had read it. The ban, ordered by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was on the basis of a tendentious news report and a still more tendentious book review. [...]

DELHI DELUSIONS


The Telegraph

A Tamil economist, the late S. Guhan, used to say that Delhi was a capital in search of a country. I was reminded of that remark during the fortnight of 29 May to 11 June 2011. In that fortnight, if one watched the ‘national’ channels or read the ‘national’ newspapers, one would think all of India [...]

THIRTEEN WAYS TO CLEANSE THE SYSTEM


The Telegraph

In an article published fifty years ago, the great Indian democrat Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari deplored ‘the unconscionable and grievous expenditure on elections, which gives overwhelming advantage to money-power..’ Rajaji argued that ‘elections now are largely, so to say, private enterprise, whereas this is the one thing that should be first nationalized.’ Towards this end, he recommend that [...]

THREE COMPARISONS


The Telegraph

As the election results started coming in on Friday the 13th, and the spectacular rout of the Left Front in West Bengal became clear, my mind went back to the spring of 1977. I was a student of St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, too young to vote, but old enough to recognize the significance of the [...]

POWER WOMEN


The Telegraph

A remarkable yet perhaps under-appreciated fact about Indian politics today is the influence, at the very top, of women. The most powerful individual in the country is a woman. The most powerful individual in the country’s largest state is a woman. The leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha is a woman. In two weeks [...]

A QUESTION OF ENGLISH


The Telegraph

In 1905 and 1906, Mohandas Gandhi, his wife, and their children shared a home in Johannesburg with an English couple, Henry and Millie Polak. Later, writing of their life together, Gandhi recalled that ‘Polak and I had often very heated discussions about the desirability or otherwise of giving the children an English education. It has always [...]

THE THOUSAND BINAYAK SENS


The Telegraph

Last week, the Supreme Court granted bail to Binayak Sen, the doctor and civil rights activist who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Raipur on the charge of sedition. Dr. Sen was charged with being a Naxalite sympathizer, and of acting as a courier for the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The [...]

By |2011-11-16T17:16:40+00:00April 23rd, 2011|Categories: Biography|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

NEHRUVIAN INDIANS


The Telegraph

Some years ago, I coined the term ‘Nehruvian Indian’ to describe those who, in their professional and personal lives, ‘transcended the divisions of race and religion, caste and class, gender and geography.’ Viewed cynically, the term was a cloak and cover for my own confusions. Born in Dehradun of Tamil parents, with a Bengali name and [...]