A PATRIARCH FOR THE NATION?, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 27th, 2011]

About twenty years ago, I found myself in the same room as Anna Hazare, at a meeting organized by the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi. Mr Hazare was becoming known in environmental circles for the work he had done in his native village, Ralegan Siddhi. His successful programmes of watershed conservation and [...]

 
 
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  THE THOUSAND BINAYAK SENS, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 23rd, 2011]

Last week, the Supreme Court granted bail to Binayak Sen, the doctor and civil rights activist who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Raipur on the charge of sedition. Dr. Sen was charged with being a Naxalite sympathizer, and of acting as a courier for the Communist Party of India (Maoist). [...]

 
 
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  THE REAL OFFENDERS, Hindustan Times [Wednesday, April 6th, 2011]

Narendra Modi may never have banned Joseph Lelyveld’s The Great Soul had the books editor of the Wall Street Journal been as discerning as his counterpart in the New York Times. The Manhattan dailies carried reviews on the same weekend, but these could not have been more different in style or substance. The Times reviewer, [...]

 
 
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  FAITH CYNICAL AND SUBLIME, The Telegraph [Saturday, September 25th, 2010]

In the spring of 1907, the London publisher John Murray published a book on Persian mystics by one F. Hadland Davis. The book appeared in a series called ‘The Wisdom of the East’, whose editors desired their publications to be ‘ambassadors of good-will and understanding between East and West, the old world of Thought, and [...]

 
 
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  THE LIVING LEGACY OF SANJAY GANDHI, The Telegraph [Saturday, September 11th, 2010]

The only time I have been less than sorrowful at a premature death was when Sanjay Gandhi perished in an air crash. He was truly a nasty piece of work. Having dropped out of the Doon School, and then dropped out of an apprentice scheme in the Rolls Royce factory in the United Kingdom, he [...]

 
 
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  THE ECUMENICAL MARXIST, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 19th, 2010]

The great German sociologist Max Weber once made an important distinction between universities on the one side and religious seminaries and political parties on the other. Seminaries and parties upheld a particular ideology, and made it mandatory for their members to believe in it. Howewer, universities were emphatically not centres of indoctrination. Its professors could [...]

 
 
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  MERCHANDIZING GANDHI, Hindustan Times [Tuesday, October 6th, 2009]

In twenty years of studying Gandhi, I have had, as friends and advisers, three brothers who grew up in a flat in Connaught Place owned by the Hindustan Times (of which paper their father was then the editor). They all went to the same school (Modern) and college (St. Stephen’s), and all had a deep [...]

 
 
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  THE ABSENT CELEBRANT, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 15th, 2009]

It is well known that when India became free on the 15th of August 1947, Mahatma Gandhi declined to join the festivities in New Delhi. While his follower Jawaharlal Nehru spoke in the Council Hall about India’s tryst with destiny, and the crowds danced on the streets outside, Gandhi was in Calcutta, seeking to restore [...]

 
 
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  FAITH AND FREEDOM, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 15th, 2009]

It is well known that when India became free on the 15th of August 1947, Mahatma Gandhi declined to join the festivities in New Delhi. While his follower Jawaharlal Nehru spoke in the Council Hall about India’s tryst with destiny, and the crowds danced on the streets outside, Gandhi was in Calcutta, seeking to restore [...]

 
 
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  NEHRU IN A NOVEL, The Hindu [Sunday, May 24th, 2009]

Arguably the best single-volume study of India’s first Prime Minister is Nehru: A Contemporary’s Estimate, by the Australian diplomat Walter Crocker. This is a book that I have long known (and admired). However, when I met the author’s son recently, he presented me a copy of a lesser known work by his mother, a novel [...]

 
 
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