Two Leaders and Their Parties, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 21st, 2015]

I visit Delhi half a dozen times a year. I was most recently there from February 5th to 11th, to fulfil commitments made several months ago, these fortuitously coinciding with the casting and counting of votes in the Delhi elections. Naturally, all my conversations, with friends and strangers alike, were about their party preferences in [...]

 
 
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  The Past and Future of the Congress Party, Hindustan Times [Sunday, August 3rd, 2014]

In the year 1970, Rajni Kothari published a major book with the straightforward title, Politics in India. The bulk of the book was devoted to the then dominant Congress party. Kothari argued that before and after Independence, the Congress was successful in presenting itself as the ‘authoritative spokesman of the nation as well as its [...]

 
 
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  The Poison of Partisanship, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 29th, 2013]

Earlier this year, I was discussing partisanship in Indian politics with a friend from Bangalore temporarily based in Boston. In no other democracy, I suggested, did the two major parties use such vile language about one another. When the Government of India chose to allow foreign direct investment in the retail sector, the Chief Minister [...]

 
 
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  Congress Party Must Get Over The Gandhis, The Financial Times [Monday, May 21st, 2012]

A joke doing the rounds several months ago was that the “i” in Brics stood for Indonesia. Recent events lend credence to that witticism. Indian growth rates are closer to 6 per cent than 8 per cent. Inflation rates exceed 10 per cent. The rupee is at its lowest-ever level against the US dollar. Long-promised [...]

 
 
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  States of the Nation, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 10th, 2012]

General Elections are all-India affairs, with citizens in twenty-eight states taking part to elect a new Parliament. On the other hand, elections to Legislative Assemblies have a particular resonance for the citizens of the state, or states, going to the polls. Some state elections, however, are of national significance. The first such was the Kerala [...]

 
 
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  Uttar Pradesh Past and Present, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 11th, 2012]

In his charming memoir, Lucknow Boy, Vinod Mehta writes of the leisurely pace of life in his home town. Like most students of his class and generation, he paid little attention to books and exams, spending his time rather in the streets and cafés of Lucknow. A Punjabi Hindu, Mehta numbered two Muslims among his [...]

 
 
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  NEHRUVIAN INDIANS, The Telegraph [Saturday, April 9th, 2011]

Some years ago, I coined the term ‘Nehruvian Indian’ to describe those who, in their professional and personal lives, ‘transcended the divisions of race and religion, caste and class, gender and geography.’ Viewed cynically, the term was a cloak and cover for my own confusions. Born in Dehradun of Tamil parents, with a Bengali name [...]

 
 
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  LEADER AND FOLLOWERS, Hindustan Times [Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011]

Returning to Bangalore after a fortnight on the road, I discovered that while I was away my Chief Minister had acquired a new wardrobe. I knew B. S. Yediyurappa to dress always in white trousers and white shirts, but now, on hoardings that peppered the highway from the aiport into town, I saw him clad [...]

 
 
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  TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE PRIME MINISTER, Hindustan Times [Sunday, May 16th, 2010]

In seventeen years as Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru visited the United States on three separate occasions. Dr Manmohan Singh has been three times to the U. S. in the past year alone. Those on the left of the political spectrum might interpret this as evidence of a dangerous subservience. I do not share this view, [...]

 
 
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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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