A SALUTE TO SMALLER STATES, The Hindu [Sunday, May 9th, 2004]

Kavalam Madhavan Pannikar was one of the more interesting characters of twentieth-century India. He was a well regarded novelist in his native Malayalam, and an influential historian in English. Perhaps the best known of his books is Asia and Western Dominance, which dealt with what he termed ‘the Vasco Da Gama epoch of Asian history’. [...]

 
 
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  THE FAMILY BUSINESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 1st, 2004]

The poet Dom Moraes has written of how, fresh from Oxford, he went to call on India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru liked young writers, and this one had come with good credentials; he was the son of one of India’s leading editors, and had won a sheaf of literary prizes himself. The conversation [...]

 
 
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  HINDU POPES, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 6th, 2004]

When the Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992, a prominent Mahant of Ayodhya called it the first step in making the town the ‘Vatican of the Hindus’. I was recently reminded of that statement, while reading the Oxford historian R.W. Southern’s classic Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. This book skilfully [...]

 
 
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  RECONCILING THE NAGAS, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 13th, 2003]

Since its birth, the Indian nation-state has been challenged by rebellion and insurgency. In the late forties it was the Communist Party of India, who launched a countrywide insurrection claiming that the freedom we got from the British was false (in their evocatively pernicious slogan, ‘Ye Azadi Jhoota Hai!’). In the fifties, it was the [...]

 
 
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  THE LOCALITY AND THE NATION, The Hindu [Sunday, August 31st, 2003]

On Independence Day this year I was driving from Bangalore to the small temple town of Melkote. At traffic lights within the city we were hailed by vendors selling the National Flag. When we got to the highway, we passed boys on motor bikes waving the tiranga jhanda. Clearly, the Supreme Court order allowing private [...]

 
 
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  PUBLIC-SPIRITED INDIANS, The Hindu [Sunday, May 25th, 2003]

Recently, in the course of a single week, I met two Indians of very different professional and personal backgrounds, yet commited to the same goal—getting all of India’s children into school. Jean Dreze is an economist of Belgian extraction, who has lived in this country for more than two decades. He took his Ph D [...]

 
 
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