Sycophants Saffron and White, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 14th, 2012]

They say a writer is known by the enemies he makes. Earlier this week, I was alerted to an attack on me posted on the website of the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi. ‘Ramachandra Guha’s impotent anger’, claimed Mr Modi’s website, ‘is typical of a snobbish but vacuous intellectual who simply cannot tolerate [...]

 
 
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  The Two Bengals, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 30th, 2012]

Of the countries close to or bordering India, I have been once to China and Afghanistan, twice to Sri Lanka and Nepal, and three times to Pakistan. I have declined several invitations to visit Bhutan, but were anyone to invite me to Bangladesh or Burma I would accept without hesitation. I am told Bhutan is [...]

 
 
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  Dams and the Damned, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 16th, 2012]

In September 2010, a large public meeting was held in Guwahati to discuss the impact of large hydroelectric projects in the North-east. In attendance was Jairam Ramesh, then the Minister of Environment and Forests in the Government of India. Ramesh heard that the people of Assam were worried that the hundred and more dams being [...]

 
 
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  The Greatest Living Gandhian, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 2nd, 2012]

When Dr Manmohan Singh went to call on Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this week, I wonder whether the great Burmese lady recalled her first encounter with India and Indians. In the 1950s, as a young teenager, she moved to Delhi with her mother, who had been appointed Burma’s Ambassador to India. The years she [...]

 
 
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  Smash-and-Grab Crony League, The Hindu [Saturday, May 26th, 2012]

I live in Bangalore, down the road from the Karnataka State Cricket Association. I am a member of the KSCA, which means that I can watch all the matches played in its stadium for free, and from a comfortable seat next to the pavilion. I exercise the privilege always during a Test match, often during [...]

 
 
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  Congress Party Must Get Over The Gandhis, The Financial Times [Monday, May 21st, 2012]

A joke doing the rounds several months ago was that the “i” in Brics stood for Indonesia. Recent events lend credence to that witticism. Indian growth rates are closer to 6 per cent than 8 per cent. Inflation rates exceed 10 per cent. The rupee is at its lowest-ever level against the US dollar. Long-promised [...]

 
 
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  Varieties of Censorship, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 19th, 2012]

In about the year 1985, I was having dinner with two friends in Chungwa Restaurant, off Chittaranjan Avenue in central Kolkata. We had been undergraduates together in Delhi in the 1970s; now, a decade later, we were in our first jobs, I as an academic, the other two as journalists. We spoke, among other things, [...]

 
 
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  Ecology and Democracy, The Hindu [Saturday, May 12th, 2012]

The Western Ghats are as important to the ecological and cultural life of the nation as the Himalaya. Running from Maharashtra right down to Kerala, they are a staggeringly rich reservoir of biodiversity. They give rise to many important rivers and are home to many significant places of pilgrimage. Their forests, fields and rivers sustain [...]

 
 
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  Dravid The Man, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 24th, 2012]

A year ago, while recovering from an asthmatic attack, I found some profound consolation in the morning’s newspaper, whose front page carried a photo of a tall, slim, handsome young man in conversation with a short, plump, middle-aged man of undistinguished appearance. The asymmetry, striking at first glance, was complicated, if not overthrown, by a [...]

 
 
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  Letting Azad Win, Hindustan Times [Friday, March 16th, 2012]

In the third week of March 1940, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad delivered the Presidential Address at the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress, held that year in Ramgarh in Bihar. Azad here spoke of secularism as India’s ‘historic destiny’, proof of which was in ‘our languages, our poetry, our literature, our culture , our [...]

 
 
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