/Culture

Culture presents reflections on such non-serious but non-trivial matters as music, literature and travel.

Why our Classical Music may be the Best Antidote to our Chauvinism


The Telegraph

Most evenings, I knock off from work and listen to Indian classical music for an hour or so before dinner. In the past, I would play CDs or cassettes I had collected over the years; now, I forage through the capacious repository that is YouTube. Sometimes I select an artist or a particular raga; at other [...]

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 Liquid That Will Determine Our Future


The Telegraph

Many years ago, I came across this striking definition of ecological responsibility: ‘If we produce everything we want from within a limited area, we are in a position to supervise the methods of production; while if we draw our requirements from the ends of the earth it becomes impossible for us to guarantee the conditions of [...]

Celebrating Club Cricket in Bengaluru


Hindustan Times

In 1992, I published a book on India’s favourite sport. One reviewer, a Mumbaikar named Rajdeep Sardesai, commented in exasperation that ‘Guha’s sometimes excessive love for the cricketers of Karnataka may lead to another Cauvery dispute’. A decade later, in an article in a national newspaper, I wrote that ‘I do not care whether India wins [...]

A Jewel of Bengaluru And India


Hindustan Times

Once, when some of his fellow Hindus were glorifying the practice of sati, Mahatma Gandhi remarked that ‘self-immolation at the death of the husband is not a sign of enlightenment but of gross ignorance’. If she truly loved her deceased husband, said Gandhi, the wife would not commit sati but dedicate her life to the fulfilment [...]

By |2019-05-06T14:34:47+00:00July 29th, 2018|Categories: Biography, Culture|

When The State Took A Poet To The People


The Telegraph

In some Western countries, copyright to an author’s work lapses seventy-five years after his or her death. In India, the time period is slightly shorter; sixty years. Thus, until 2001 the copyright in Rabindranath Tagore’s writings vested with Santiniketan; till 2008, it was Navajivan Press which controlled access to Mahatma Gandhi’s oeuvre. The copyright in [...]

Choosing The Ten Greatest Indians


Hindustan Times

When, in August 2017, India marked the seventieth year of its freedom from British colonial rule, the Hindustan Times did a series of long stories on seventy of this and seventy of that: the seventy best books written since Independence, the seventy greatest sportspersons since Independence, the seventy finest films since Independence, the seventy most influential [...]

Rediscovering One’s Land


The Telegraph

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 ground [...]

By |2017-03-04T22:25:48+00:00February 4th, 2017|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs, Culture|Tags: , , |

The Best Player Not To Play For India


Hindustan Times

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 of [...]

By |2017-03-04T22:28:19+00:00January 1st, 2017|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , , , |

Five Lessons For Indian Democrats


Hindustan Times

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 speech [...]