The Best Indian Fielding Side Ever, Hindustan Times [Sunday, March 15th, 2015]

As one grows older, one forgets what happened last week or last month. But memories from one’s youth stay for ever. I can see, as I write, Alvin Kallicharan trying to on-drive Bishan Bedi in the Delhi Test of 1974. He gets a leading edge, and, as the ball balloons up into the off-side, I [...]

 
 
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  Wealth and Power in Modern India, New Republic [Tuesday, January 6th, 2015]

Book Review of “Capital: The Eruption of Delhi”, Rana Dasgupta, Penguin Press. I The novelist and critic U. R. Ananthamurthy once said that India lives simultaneously in the twelfth and the twenty-first centuries. He might have added: and all the centuries in-between. No city better exemplifies Ananthamurthy’s maxim than the country’s capital, Delhi. The three [...]

 
 
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  Good Husband Better Man, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 27th, 2014]

Wives of famous men do not always get their due from historians and biographers. Lincoln, Lenin, Churchill, De Gaulle, Lee Kuan Yew— the women they married and whose sacrifices enabled their work are scarcely known to posterity. What is true of politicians is usually true of writers as well. We read and admire Kalidasa, Goethe, [...]

 
 
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  How The Mehtas Conquered Manhattan, Hindustan Times [Sunday, November 9th, 2014]

There is a rich literature on how the culture of modern cities has been nourished by immigrants from other countries. Books have been written on how American writers (from Ernest Hemingway and Richard Wright on to James Baldwin and Edmund White) did some of their best work in Paris. Other books explain how London was [...]

 
 
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  The Indian Path to Unsustainability, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 9th, 2014]

In her recent book Green Wars, the environmental journalist Bahar Dutt writes: ‘The editor of a leading media house, everytime I pitched a green story, would invariably complain: “Environmentalism is stalling growth; all I am interested in is double-digit growth for this country”’. The idea that environmental protection and economic progress are at odds is [...]

 
 
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  Paranoia and Triumphalism, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 12th, 2014]

In his recent book, History in the Making, J. H. Elliot makes an interesting distinction between two different kinds of nationalist ideologies. On the one hand, there is the ‘chosen nation’ syndrome, where a country is said to have special ‘spiritual, biological, [or] racial’ characteristics’ that shall make it dominant in global affairs. On the [...]

 
 
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  Four Lankan Masters, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 28th, 2014]

In forty years of watching international cricket, one of the absolute highlights was an innings I saw by the stocky Sri Lankan Duleep Mendis. This was at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla ground, in the first week of November 1975. Sri Lanka, who had not yet been awarded Test status, were touring India, and playing the North [...]

 
 
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  The Poet as Prankster, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 14th, 2014]

It was the late D. R. Nagaraj who first told me about Siddalingaiah’s autobiography. We were at Koshy’s Parade’s Café in Bangalore, nursing our respective drinks (rum in his case, coffee in mine), when I said that Indian autobiographies, even the best ones, tended to be too serious. One couldn’t remember a single joke or [...]

 
 
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  In The Presence of Greatness, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 25th, 2014]

Two friends recently praised me for my ‘bravery’: one when I suggested that the Congress should look beyond the dynasty; another when I called Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri stooges of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. In truth, both were rather ordinary and obvious things to say, requiring neither special knowledge nor [...]

 
 
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  Historians and Newspapers, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 28th, 2013]

For a very long time, historians of modern India relied largely on government records—printed as well as unpublished. Files of different departments, deposited in state and national archives, were the staple source for the writing of dissertations, research papers, and monographs. Some historians innovatively tapped the private papers of politicians and social reformers; others reached [...]

 
 
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