Culture
Culture presents reflections on such non-serious but non-trivial matters as music, literature and travel.
  Rediscovering One’s Land, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 4th, 2017]

On the second day of 2017, I drove from the colonial hill station of Coonoor to the great old port city of Kochi. Thus began a month of almost continuous travel, in which I took many flights, but also spent long stretches on the road, seeing the land from up on high and from  the [...]

 
 
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  The Best Player Not To Play For India, Hindustan Times [Sunday, January 1st, 2017]

This winter India play thirteen Test matches at home. The last time they played so many was back in 1979-80, when two in three Indians now alive were unborn. This (to me) welcome superabundance of Test cricket has sparked many conversations about what, the popularity of T20 notwithstanding, remains the highest and most satisfying form [...]

 
 
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  Five Lessons For Indian Democrats, Hindustan Times [Sunday, July 3rd, 2016]

Late last year, I wrote in these columns that we were in danger of becoming an ‘elections-only democracy’. Once a party or coalition wins an Assembly or General Election, it considers itself immune from criticism for the next five years. The other instruments of democratic accountability: legislative debate, judicial oversight, a free press (and free [...]

 
 
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  The Mahatma On Medicine, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 14th, 2016]

I belong to a family of doctors trained in modern or Western medicine. Back in the 1980s, the doctors I was related to, or friends with, were all sceptical of alternative forms of health care. They had no time for homeopathy, ayurveda or acupuncture, no time even for yoga. Over the decades their attitudes have [...]

 
 
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  Words From An Open Mind To A Closed Or Sealed One, Hindustan Times [Sunday, May 8th, 2016]

A once great but now mostly forgotten Bangalorean was Mirza Ismail. A distinguished Dewan of both Mysore and Jaipur, in those princely states he reformed and modernized the administration, beautified their capital cities, and emphasized modern education. In both Jaipur and Mysore, there are roads named after him, as well as charming markets that he [...]

 
 
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  My Favourite Bangalorean, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 30th, 2016]

The achievements of the Parsis are well known. A community numbering some 70,000 people has produced some of India’s greatest patriots (Dadabhai Naoroji, Bhikaji Cama); its most prominent and philanthropically oriented business houses (the Tatas, the Godrejs); its finest scientists (Homi Bhabha); its most respected lawyers (Nani Palkhivala, Fali Nariman); its most admired writers (Rohinton [...]

 
 
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  In Praise Of West Indies Cricket and Cricketers, Hindustan Times [Sunday, April 10th, 2016]

On the last day of March, a friend of mine, temporarily in London, wandered into a pub. It was night in India, but afternoon in England, so there were just the odd drinker around. My friend persuaded the pub’s owner to switch the channel to Sky Sports, so that he could watch the World T20 [...]

 
 
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  Why The Dalai Lama May Be India’s Noblest Resident, Hindustan Times [Sunday, January 31st, 2016]

Unlike the airport in my home town, Bengaluru, or the airports in two cities I visit often, Mumbai and Delhi, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport in Kolkata is run not by a private firm but by the Airports Authority of India. This must be why, unlike in Bengaluru, Delhi or Mumbai, as one approaches [...]

 
 
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  Searching For Saints In Songs And Pictures, Hindustan Times [Sunday, January 3rd, 2016]

I have a decent head for names, dates, places, events, but can remember few snatches of poetry. Truth be told, there are only two pieces of verse that I have committed to memory. Both are very short. The first is this Kabir doha that I learnt in my junior school in Uttar Pradesh some fifty [...]

 
 
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  Why Bengal Is To India What France Is To The World, The Telegraph [Tuesday, December 29th, 2015]

In a book published some years ago, the sociologist Rabindra Ray observed that Bengalis were so obsessed with intellecual pursuits that even their swear words reflected this. In other parts of India, the most common form of abuse dealt with incest—you accused someone you disliked or were quarrelling with of sleeping with his mother or [...]

 
 
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