/2015

Why I’m Not Nostalgic For An Undivided India, Hindustan Times

Sixty-eight years is a fairly advanced age for an individual, but a small span of time in the life of a nation. This must be why, every so often, a book or article appears lamenting the Partition of India in 1947. These blame the Congress, the Muslim League, Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Patel—sometimes one, sometimes several, sometimes [...]

An Opposition to Despair Of, The Telegraph

I spent the last week of July in New Delhi, my first extended trip to that city since the General Elections of 2014. It was a year and two months since the Modi Government had come to power, and signs of disenchantment had set in. Scholars, executives, restaurant waiters, and security personnel all made sarcastic remarks [...]

The Only Lesson That History Can Teach Us, Hindustan Times

I am sometimes asked about the ‘lessons’ that history can teach us. The question presumes that the study of the past can help provide guidance for the present—and future. But is this presumption accurate? Can politicians exercise power more wisely if they are better informed about the past? The brilliant, maverick, historian A.J.P. Taylor was sceptical [...]

By |2015-08-25T13:19:07+00:00August 2nd, 2015|Categories: History|Tags: , |

When Politicians Get Too Close to Businessmen, The Telegraph

I write this on Tuesday the 21st of July, with the Bangalore edition of The Hindu in front of me. The front page carries a large photograph of Mallikarjun Kharge, the veteran Congress leader from Karnataka who is currently the de facto leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Interestingly, the photo does not accompany [...]

Indira Gandhi and the Indian Emergency, The Hindu (published in June 2000 on the 25th Anniversary of the Emergency and uploaded on)

‘I had always believed that Mrs Gandhi had no faith in democracy, that she was by inclination and conviction a dictator. This belief has tragically turned out to be true’. Jayaprakash Narayan, prison diary, entry of 22 July 1975 ‘I have no more powers than I had before’. Indira Gandhi, in an interview with NBC, 24 [...]

By |2015-07-11T22:24:23+00:00July 11th, 2015|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs, Longer Essays|

Some Forgotten Heroes Of The Emergency, The Telegraph

As we mark the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Emergency, we shall hear many politicians speak about their sufferings and sacrifices. L. K. Advani has already spoken, and no doubt other BJP leaders will follow. Perhaps we should remind them that Sanjay Gandhi’s wife Maneka is one of their Cabinet Ministers, while his henchman [...]

The Civil Servant Who Spoke Truth To Power, Hindustan Times

Shortly after the UPA Government was re-elected in 2009, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, received five fascinating letters from a man living in Bhopal. The first letter shredded the Government’s plans to set up a slew of new IITs. It pointed out that ‘the new institutions will find it very difficult to find good faculty’. [...]

The Bose Whom Japan Still Remembers, The Telegraph

I was recently in Japan, and asked my hosts what memories remained in that country of Subhas Chandra Bose, the great Indian patriot who fought alongside the Japanese against the British and whose ashes are believed to be housed in a temple in Tokyo. They answered that Subhas Bose was familiar only to specialists in Indian [...]