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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  CRICKET ON THE VELD, The Hindu [Sunday, March 2nd, 2003]

There is a cricket World Cup now in South Africa, and watching the tournament on TV shall doubtless take me back to the one time I did visit the country. That was back in October 1997. Apartheid had recently been vanquished, and the greatest man the world has known since Mahatma Gandhi was in power. [...]

 
 
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