/2012

States of the Nation


The Telegraph

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 elections [...]

States of the Nation


The Telegraph

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 elections [...]

By |2012-06-28T12:49:23+00:00March 10th, 2012|Categories: Biography|

Moodbidri Tales


Hindustan Times

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, an [...]

Three Epiphanies


The Telegraph

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, they [...]

By |2012-02-28T22:01:31+00:00February 25th, 2012|Categories: Culture|

A Partisan History of the Oxford University Press


Caravan Magazine

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, in [...]

Uttar Pradesh Past and Present


The Telegraph

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 closest [...]

Fanatics And Heretics


The Telegraph

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 Louis [...]

By |2012-02-27T12:11:48+00:00January 28th, 2012|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|

The Pen Over The Sword Always


The Telegraph

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 centenary [...]

Reading For The New Year


Hindustan Times

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 functioning, [...]

By |2012-02-28T22:05:45+00:00January 10th, 2012|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|