TWO INCHES OF FOAM, The Hindu [Sunday, November 20th, 2005]

In the long history of Cabinet Government in India, perhaps only a handful of Ministers shall be remembered for having carried out programmes that radically reshaped the lives of their people. As Home Minister between 1947 and 1950, Vallabhbhai Patel integrated the princely states, thus altering the politics and geography of modern India. As Finance [...]

 
 
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  VERDICTS ON PAKISTAN, The Hindu [Sunday, September 11th, 2005]

In this column I have, from time to time, discussed forecasts about India’s future made by political commentators. This time I want to place before you two forecasts made about our great neighbour to the north-west, Pakistan. These verdicts were offered forty years apart, albeit in the same American magazine. In its issue of February [...]

 
 
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  LENINISM VERSUS DEMOCRACY, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 23rd, 2005]

In 1977, Left Fronts dominated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) came to power in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. A year later, the CPM leader B. T. Ranadive wrote a pungent critique of the parliamentary path to socialism. This took the shape of a review of a recent book by the [...]

 
 
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  BIGOTRY VS. BROADMINDEDNESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 9th, 2005]

Can the BJP reconstitute itself as a sober, responsible, right-wing party, a party that respects tradition and order without necessarily advertising itself as ‘Hindu’? Put more directly, can it free itself of the RSS and the VHP? Or must it always, in the last instance, be hostage to the beliefs of the Parivar’s fundamentalist fringe? [...]

 
 
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  WHERE LEFT MEETS RIGHT, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 30th, 2005]

Earlier this year, I was at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, where I had been asked to given an after-dinner talk to the students. I reached ten minutes before schedule, so my hosts took me for a coffee while the audience was being rustled up. While we drank the coffee, at a modest [...]

 
 
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  STUNG BY THE WEST, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 2nd, 2005]

Back in the 1850s, Karl Marx wrote a series of essays on the results of British rule in India. These essays were marked by an ambivalence that was uncharacteristic as well as profound. On the one hand, Marx saw that the British had come to the sub-continent to dominate and exploit, objectives that were deeply [...]

 
 
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  SYCOPHANTS AND DEMOCRATS, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 22nd, 2005]

One day in the nineteen seventies, Leonid Brezhnev was in a town on Lake Baikal, attending a Politburo meeting. The Soviet Union was in its pomp, whereas the rival superpower was scarred at home by the scandal of Watergate, and abroad by the experience of defeat in Vietnam. Contemplating these events, Brezhnev was naturally feeling [...]

 
 
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  THE SOCIOLOGY OF SUICIDE, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 21st, 2004]

Karnataka has a large number of privately run medical and engineering colleges, to which flock students from all over the country. They come in the summer, when, for days upon end, their anxieties and hopes are splashed over the front pages of the newspapers in Bangalore. Every year, two kinds of stories make most of [...]

 
 
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  EDUCATING OUR WOMEN, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 24th, 2004]

Some years ago, while working on a history of cricket in India, I was reading issues of a now defunct newspaper called the Bombay Sentinel. It took time to get to the sports pages, for they were at the end, and one was prone to get diverted by the other stories on the way. Searching [...]

 
 
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  A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 15th, 2004]

Bangalore voted on Sunday the 20th of April, the first round of polling. Anticipating crowds in the morning, my wife and I went to the neighbourhood booth in the afternoon. Outside, the names of the candidates were pasted on the walls. There were a dozen candidates in all but here, as in many other parts [...]

 
 
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