PUNJAB PAST AND PRESENT, The Hindu [Sunday, March 27th, 2005]

I first visited Punjab in the summer of 1973, to play a cricket match in Patiala. Later that same year occurred an event of some significance in the history of Punjab and India. In October 1973 the Working Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal met at the great gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib, and asked the [...]

 
 
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  DEFACING THE MAHATMA, The Hindu [Sunday, January 30th, 2005]

On 30th January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a right-wing fanatic named Nathuram Godse. The act shamed most Indians—but not all. For there has always been a significant minority who have been on the side of Godse. At different times, the Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray and the then RSS chief Rajendra Singh have [...]

 
 
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  TRUTHS ABOUT THE TRICOLOUR, The Hindu [Sunday, September 26th, 2004]

‘[Karnataka state BJP president Ananth] Kumar said Gujarat BJP unit president Rajendra Singh Rana will hand over the original national Tricolour to Uma [Bharti]. This flag was first hoisted by the great freedom fighter Madam Cama at the International Socialists Conference held at Stutgert (sic) in Germany in 1903. As Rana’s forefathers were freedom fighters, [...]

 
 
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  REFORMING THE HINDUS, The Hindu [Sunday, July 18th, 2004]

Three men did most to make Hinduism a modern faith. Of these the first was not recognized as a Hindu by the Shankaracharyas; the second was not recognized as a Hindu by himself; the third was born a Hindu but made certain he would not die as one. These three great reformers were Mahatma Gandhi, [...]

 
 
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  PASSAGES THROUGH INDIA , The Hindu [Sunday, June 20th, 2004]

There is a wonderful book waiting to be written about Western representations of India in the twentieth century. Before and after Independence, the sub-continent attracted an array of foreign writers determined to dig up the ‘truth about India’. Many came to report on Gandhi’s struggle for freedom. If they were socialist, they tended to celebrate [...]

 
 
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  THE INDIAN TRADITION OF NON-RENUNCIATION, The Hindu [Sunday, June 6th, 2004]

Few people, within or outside her Congress party, expected Mrs Sonia Gandhi not to accept the office of Prime Minister after the Indian elections results were out. Her decision to renounce the post in favour of the economist Dr Manmohan Singh has prompted the most extravagant comparisons. Some have gone back as far as Gautama [...]

 
 
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  FIVE MYTHS ABOUT JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, The Hindu [Sunday, May 23rd, 2004]

In this, the week of the fortieth death anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, let us consider some of the myths that have gathered around his name and his legacy: Myth 1: Nehru promoted a ‘dynasty’ This myth draws support from the fact that Nehru’s daughter and grandson also served as Prime Minister, that his granddaughter-in-law has [...]

 
 
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  THE MYSORE GENERATION, The Hindu [Sunday, April 25th, 2004]

British colonialists and Indian nationalists were agreed on one thing: the utter worthlessness of most of the Maharajas and Nawabs of princely India. These rulers were viewed as feckless and dissolute, over-fond of racing horses and unattached women and holidays in Europe. A British observer wrote in the early twentieth century that the States were [...]

 
 
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  AMERICAN PRIDE AND POWER, The Hindu [Sunday, April 11th, 2004]

The best second-hand bookstore in India is located not in Kolkata’s College Street but in my home town, Bangalore. This is Select Bookshop, which was founded in 1945 by a lawyer named K. B. K. Rao. In six decades the store has shifted location as many times: once on Mahatma Gandhi Road, then in Malleswaram, [...]

 
 
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  HINDI CHAUVINISM, The Hindu [Sunday, January 18th, 2004]

I have recently been reading the debates of the Constituent Assembly of India. These are a treasure-trove; invaluable to the scholar, but also well worth reading by the citizen. Among the topics debated by the Assembly were federalism, minority rights, preventive detection—topics that were contentious then, and continue to be contentious now. However, by far [...]

 
 
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