States of the Nation, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 10th, 2012]

General Elections are all-India affairs, with citizens in twenty-eight states taking part to elect a new Parliament. On the other hand, elections to Legislative Assemblies have a particular resonance for the citizens of the state, or states, going to the polls. Some state elections, however, are of national significance. The first such was the Kerala [...]

 
 
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  States of the Nation, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 10th, 2012]

General Elections are all-India affairs, with citizens in twenty-eight states taking part to elect a new Parliament. On the other hand, elections to Legislative Assemblies have a particular resonance for the citizens of the state, or states, going to the polls. Some state elections, however, are of national significance. The first such was the Kerala [...]

 
 
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  Moodbidri Tales, Hindustan Times [Friday, March 2nd, 2012]

Although I am not especially religious, I enjoy visiting old temples, for the beauty of their construction and the tranquillity of their surroundings . I live in Bangalore, a city whose colonial architecture is sparse and whose modern buildings are horrendously ugly. When friends come visiting, I take them on a day-trip either to Somanathapura, [...]

 
 
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  Three Epiphanies, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 25th, 2012]

Although I live in Bangalore, I am the most technologically challenged person on earth. I can—just about—change a light bulb, but I cannot operate an oven or microwave without burning or blowing up something. For my ineptitude I am a continuous source of merriment to my (in this respect) more talented wife and children. Fortunately, [...]

 
 
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  A Partisan History of the Oxford University Press, Caravan Magazine [Wednesday, February 15th, 2012]

In the 1990s, I spent many weeks in what must, or at any rate should be, every Indian’s favourite city—Bombay, a city whose depth of history and richly lived (and intensely felt) cosmopolitanism is in such stark contrast to the even-tempered blandness of my own home town, Bangalore. I would go there twice a year, [...]

 
 
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  Uttar Pradesh Past and Present, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 11th, 2012]

In his charming memoir, Lucknow Boy, Vinod Mehta writes of the leisurely pace of life in his home town. Like most students of his class and generation, he paid little attention to books and exams, spending his time rather in the streets and cafés of Lucknow. A Punjabi Hindu, Mehta numbered two Muslims among his [...]

 
 
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  Fanatics And Heretics, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 28th, 2012]

In the early 1980s, while coming out of a Marxist phase, I came across The God that Failed, a collection of confessional essays by once hard-core Communists who had left the party and renounced its creed. The book was rivetingly readable, in part because of the quality of the writing (Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, and [...]

 
 
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  The Pen Over The Sword Always, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 14th, 2012]

In a recent essay in Frontline magazine, Ghulam Murshid writes of the ups and downs of Tagore’s reputation in Bangladesh. So long as it was East Pakistan, the poet was not looked upon very favourably-in part because he came from a upper-class landed family, in larger part because he was a Hindu. As the Tagore [...]

 
 
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  Reading For The New Year, Hindustan Times [Tuesday, January 10th, 2012]

Late last year, seeking to make sense of the conflict between the Anna Hazare movement and the Central Government, I turned to an essay by the Indian scholar I most admire, the sociologist André Béteille. Published some years ago in the Economic and Political Weekly, this set out a distinction between two forms of democratic [...]

 
 
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