Are We Becoming An Election Only Democracy?, Hindustan Times [Sunday, November 29th, 2015]

For some time now, Indian democracy has been corroded by what the sociologist André Béteille terms ‘the chronic mistrust between government and opposition’. Parliament meets rarely— when it does, it resembles a dusty akhara more than the stately chamber of discussion it was meant to be. In television studios, representatives of ruling and opposition parties [...]

 
 
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  A Green and Pleasant Land, The Telegraph [Saturday, November 28th, 2015]

Some twenty years ago, my wife and I called on Nirad Chaudhuri at his home in Oxford. The great little writer was happy to see us, but less pleased with my wife’s apparel. ‘That [chooridar kurta] is an Islamic dress’, he barked, ‘in Bengal we [Hindu men] would never allow our women to wear it’. [...]

 
 
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  A 19th Century Politics For a 21st Century State, Hindustan Times [Sunday, October 25th, 2015]

Some years ago, I edited an anthology of Indian political thought, profiling nineteen individual thinkers. The usual suspects—Gokhale, Tilak, Phule, Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, Lohia, JP, Periyar—featured, but also some less conventional choices. One of these was Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh between 1940 and 1973. My inclusion of Golwalkar in an [...]

 
 
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  The Dark and Desperate State of Uttar Pradesh, Hindustan Times [Sunday, October 11th, 2015]

A recent report in the Financial Times, caught my eye. Headlined ‘India advert for tea boys and guards attracts 2.3m applicants’, it spoke of the desperate desire for a government job among the young men of India’s largest state. Earlier this year, the Uttar Pradesh Government had placed an advertisement for 368 Class IV posts [...]

 
 
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  Why Canada May Be The World’s Most Underrated Country, Hindustan Times [Sunday, September 13th, 2015]

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 [...]

 
 
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  Why Kashmiris Are Disenchanted With India, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 22nd, 2015]

On a notice board outside the library of the University of Kashmir, someone had posted a piece of paper with these words, set in bold and large type: WHY NOT AN IIT, IIM, OR AIIMS FOR KASHMIR TOO? Above this query was a line, written in hand, saying: ‘All we want is Azadi’. Below it [...]

 
 
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  Why I’m Not Nostalgic For An Undivided India, Hindustan Times [Sunday, August 16th, 2015]

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, [...]

 
 
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  An Opposition to Despair Of, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 8th, 2015]

I spent the last week of July in New Delhi, my first extended trip to that city since the General Elections of 2014. It was a year and two months since the Modi Government had come to power, and signs of disenchantment had set in. Scholars, executives, restaurant waiters, and security personnel all made sarcastic [...]

 
 
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  When Politicians Get Too Close to Businessmen, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 25th, 2015]

I write this on Tuesday the 21st of July, with the Bangalore edition of The Hindu in front of me. The front page carries a large photograph of Mallikarjun Kharge, the veteran Congress leader from Karnataka who is currently the de facto leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Interestingly, the photo does not [...]

 
 
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  Indira Gandhi and the Indian Emergency, The Hindu (published in June 2000 on the 25th Anniversary of the Emergency and uploaded on) [Saturday, July 11th, 2015]

‘I had always believed that Mrs Gandhi had no faith in democracy, that she was by inclination and conviction a dictator. This belief has tragically turned out to be true’. Jayaprakash Narayan, prison diary, entry of 22 July 1975 ‘I have no more powers than I had before’. Indira Gandhi, in an interview with NBC, [...]

 
 
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