/2020

The Folly and Vanity of The Project to Redesign New Delhi


The Wire

Six years ago, the then editor of the Hindustan Times invited me to write a fortnightly column. I agreed, on condition that there would be no censorship. While occasionally some changes to my text were made without my consent, there was no attempt to get me to rewrite my column or change its arguments. Until this [...]

Get The Best Minds on Board


Hindustan Times

Years ago, working in the archives in New Delhi, I came across a brief, handwritten, letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to C. Rajagopalachari. It was dated 30th July 1947, and it read: ‘My dear Rajaji, This is to remind you that you have to approach Shanmukham Chetty—this must be done soon. I have seen Ambedkar and he [...]

Two Exemplary Twentieth Century Lives


The Telegraph

The 19th century Italian writer Emilio Salgari once remarked that ‘reading is travelling without the bother of baggage’. That is great advice, particularly in the time of COVID-19. Now that one is forcibly home-bound, works of literature and of scholarship can help transport one to different countries, different times. They can stimulate the mind, and uplift [...]

Standing With Gandhi in Ahmedabad


Hindustan Times

On 30th January I was in Ahmedabad, a city that was central to Mahatma Gandhi’s life and work. It was here that he established the most celebrated of his ashrams, on the banks of the Sabarmati River; here that he revised and refined his moral and political philosophy; here that he conceived and planned the Rowlatt [...]

By |2020-03-25T21:44:14+00:00February 9th, 2020|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs, Culture|Tags: |

The Fourth Crisis of The Republic


Hindustan Times

As I have written before, if India had been a start-up in August 1947 not even the most venturesome of venture capitalists would have invested in it. No new nation was born in more inhospitable circumstances. The Partition of the country had been awful enough, in the scale of its violence and the mass displacement of [...]

By |2020-03-25T21:35:48+00:00January 26th, 2020|Categories: History, Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , , , |

Why There is No Team Modi – Because There Can Only Be a Brand Modi


The Telegraph

In December 2018, I was having lunch with an entrepreneur-friend who works closely with the Central Government. The BJP had just lost state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, putting three Chief Ministers out of office and out of work. I suggested to the entrepreneur that when the Prime Minister won re-election the following May [...]

By |2020-03-25T21:25:35+00:00January 18th, 2020|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |