/Culture

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

Why Canada May Be The World’s Most Underrated Country


Hindustan Times

The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. This is why every Presidential campaign attracts such wide attention, both the primaries of the two main parties and then the election itself. The campaign for the 2016 election is in its early stages. A candidate who has made a striking impression [...]

By |2015-10-16T11:04:27+00:00September 13th, 2015|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs, Culture|

Why I’m Not Nostalgic For An Undivided India


Hindustan Times

Sixty-eight years is a fairly advanced age for an individual, but a small span of time in the life of a nation. This must be why, every so often, a book or article appears lamenting the Partition of India in 1947. These blame the Congress, the Muslim League, Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Patel—sometimes one, sometimes several, sometimes [...]

Dreams Of Bat And Ball


The Telegraph

When I was young, many of my dreams were about cricket. I was then obsessed with the game, which I played quite seriously at both school and university. My college eleven may have been the best in India: two of my team-mates went on to play Test cricket, while several others played in the Ranji and [...]

By |2015-06-09T22:06:09+00:00May 30th, 2015|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , |

Homage To A Birdman


The Telegraph

The Urdu word ‘shareef’ has many meanings. An online dictionary offers ‘noble’, ‘gentlemanly’, and ‘civilized’, to which one can add: ‘refined; courteous; honourable; civil; civilized’. Among the most shareef men I knew was the conservationist Zafar Futehally. Raised and educated in Bombay, Futehally’s early interest in birds was furthered when he married Laeeq, niece of the [...]

The Best Indian Fielding Side Ever


Hindustan Times

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 hear [...]

By |2015-04-06T17:00:34+00:00March 15th, 2015|Categories: Culture|Tags: , |

Wealth and Power in Modern India


New Republic

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 port [...]

By |2015-01-28T22:15:28+00:00January 6th, 2015|Categories: Culture, Longer Essays|Tags: , , , |

Good Husband Better Man


The Telegraph

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, Dickens, [...]

By |2015-01-06T15:13:33+00:00December 27th, 2014|Categories: Biography, Culture|Tags: , , , , |

How The Mehtas Conquered Manhattan


Hindustan Times

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 made [...]

The Indian Path to Unsustainability


The Telegraph

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 widely [...]

Paranoia and Triumphalism


The Telegraph

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 other [...]