/Politics and Current Affairs

Politics and Current Affairs reproduces writings on secularism, majoritarianism, diversity, and other contentious themes in contemporary India.

Why This Revival Of Hindu Chauvinism?


Hindustan Times

Some years ago, I was at a literary meeting in Bhubaneshwar. Odia had just been declared the sixth classical language in India, after Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. My scholarly hosts were naturally delighted; one taking particular pleasure in imagining how President Pranab Mukherjee felt when he signed the relevant file, since his mother tongue, [...]

The Resource That Will Determine Our Future


Hindustan Times

The ecologist Jayanta Bandyopadhyay once wrote that water, not oil, was the resource whose availability and quality would determine India’s future. I recalled that remark when reading a report recently submitted to the Government of India, entitled, A 21st Century Institutional Architecture for India’s Water Reforms. Rigorously researched and closely agued, this report displays a deep [...]

The Political Career Of Sonia Gandhi


The Telegraph

A line often quoted by columnists, and attributed to the British politician and writer Enoch Powell is this: ‘All political lives end in failure’. The full form of the quote reads: ‘All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and [...]

By |2017-04-23T22:52:18+00:00March 18th, 2017|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|

Rediscovering One’s Land


The Telegraph

On the second day of 2017, I drove from the colonial hill station of Coonoor to the great old port city of Kochi. Thus began a month of almost continuous travel, in which I took many flights, but also spent long stretches on the road, seeing the land from up on high and from  the ground [...]

By |2017-03-04T22:25:48+00:00February 4th, 2017|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs, Culture|Tags: , , |

When Eleven Women Of Bengal Took On Gandhi


The Telegraph

While working in the archives of the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, I came across a fascinating letter to Gandhi, sent by eleven young women of Calcutta. The letter was undated, but it appeared to have been written in January 1939. It was addressed to ‘Most revered Mahatmaji’, and was signed individually by the eleven women, all [...]

By |2017-03-04T22:19:55+00:00January 7th, 2017|Categories: History, Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |

Why We Must Listen To JP On Kashmir


Hindustan Times

On the 4th of October 1966—almost exactly fifty years ago—the great Indian democrat Jayaprakash Narayan spoke at a seminar on Kashmir held in New Delhi. The Valley was in turmoil; the popular leader Sheikh Abdullah was under arrest, and the State Government was widely believed to be both incompetent and corrupt. ‘JP’ began his talk by [...]

A Modest Proposal To Improve Governance


Hindustan Times

The Harvard economist Lant Pritchett has called India a ‘flailing state’. The signs are all around us; in the decaying government schools and the declining public hospitals, in the apathy and incompetence of the police, in the shocking state of our roads and transport systems, in the fouling of our air and water. There is also [...]

How Mining Corrodes Democracy


The Telegraph

When the new millennium dawned, the poster boy of economic liberalization in my home state, Karnataka, was N. R. Narayana Murthy. A man from a middle-class home, with no tradition of entrepreneurship in his family, Narayana Murthy got together with six other like-minded individuals to found a company named Infosys. Starting from modest beginnings in Puné, [...]

Indian Marxists And Their Selective Outrage


The Telegraph

In a recent essay in the Times Literary Supplement, the Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif marvelled at the unending flood of books and essays on the Palestinians, these the work of Palestinians themselves, but also of Israelis, Americans, South Africans, Britons, Danes, and, as it happens, Indians. Here Souief remarked: ‘It took five decades, but now it’s [...]

By |2016-09-23T09:25:11+00:00August 6th, 2016|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , , , |

Looting The Himalaya – And The Himalayans


The Telegraph

In recent months, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh have been in the news. In both states, elected Governments run by the Congress have been destabilized by the ruling party at the Centre, and then dismissed by complicit Governors. In both states, the Congress was able to get succour from the Courts, although how enduring their now restored [...]