A Nehruvian in China, Caravan [Friday, June 7th, 2013]

The first Chinese intellectual I knew of was named Fei Xiaotong. The year was 1980, and I was beginning a doctoral degree in sociology in Kolkata. The city was hostile to my discipline, largely because its intellectual culture was Marxist-dominated and Maoist-infested. Those who read Marxism mechanically allowed that the disciplines of history, economics, and [...]

 
 
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  No Game for Good Men, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 1st, 2013]

I detest wearing a tie, and do so only when forced. One such occasion was a formal dinner at All Souls College, Oxford, where opposite me was an Israeli scholar who had just got a job at the University, and was extremely anxious to show how well he knew its ways and mores. He dropped [...]

 
 
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  The Continuing Tragedy of the Adivasis, The Hindu [Monday, May 27th, 2013]

In the summer of 2006, I had a long conversation with Mahendra Karma, the Chhattisgarh Congress leader who was killed in a terror attack by the Naxalites last week. I was not alone—with me were five other members of a citizens’ group studying the tragic fallout of the civil war in the state’s Dantewada district. [...]

 
 
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  Democracy and Violence: in India and Beyond, Economic and Political Weekly [Saturday, April 6th, 2013]

In about a year’s time, the citizens of India will vote in their sixteenth General Elections. The last such exercise, held in May 2009, showcased a bewildering variety of parties and politicians. Some 700 million adults were eligible to vote; about 400 million actually voted, to choose five hundred and forty-three members of the national [...]

 
 
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  The Miracles of Mao, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 6th, 2013]

Marxism claims to offer a materialist approach to history, where class relations and the forces of technology are given more importance than the doings of individuals. In practice, however, political regimes based on professedly Marxist principles have indulged in an unprecedented worship of their leaders. Communist parties the world over brook no criticism of the [...]

 
 
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  Patriarchy & Prejudice, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 16th, 2013]

Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men. Joseph Conrad India’s two main religions, Hinduism and Islam, are both deeply patriarchal. Their scriptures and their historical practice have relegated women to an inferior status. Women were not allowed to assume positions of power and authority. Women were [...]

 
 
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  The Man Who Would Rule India, The Hindu [Friday, February 8th, 2013]

A journalist who recently interviewed Narendra Modi reported their conversation as follows: ‘Gujarat, he told me, merely has a seafront. It has no raw materials—no iron ore for steel, no coal for power and no diamond mines. Yet it has made huge strides in these fields. Imagine, he added, if we had the natural resources [...]

 
 
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  The Nervous Soldier, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 26th, 2013]

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the Vice-Presidentship of the Congress, and the possibility that he might become Prime Minister were his party to form a government after the next General Elections, prompts a careful look at his record in politics. Consider these facts: 1. Mr Gandhi has been a Member of the Lok Sabha for almost [...]

 
 
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  A Tendulkar Trophy, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 12th, 2013]

Following the well-attended (and incident-free) one-day series between India and Pakistan—the first since the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008—the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Zaka Ashraf, suggested that the two countries play each other regularly, for what might be called the ‘Jinnah-Gandhi’ Trophy. Reading this, I remembered a similar proposal being made, decades [...]

 
 
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