A Modest Proposal To Improve Governance, Hindustan Times [Friday, August 26th, 2016]

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 [...]

 
 
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  How Mining Corrodes Democracy, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 20th, 2016]

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 [...]

 
 
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  The Mysterious Makeover of Mr Modi, The Telegraph [Sunday, March 20th, 2016]

As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi was known to run a tight ship. He was in total command of his Cabinet, and interacted regularly with senior civil servants. He had some special areas of focus; such as attracting new investment, building better roads, and assuring regular water and power supply to farmers. In these [...]

 
 
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  Narendra Modi And The RSS,The Telegraph [Saturday, December 12th, 2015]

Shortly after the 2014 Indian elections, I wrote that although the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was ‘an economic modernizer, in cultural terms he remains a prisoner of the reactionary (not to say medievalist) mind-set of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’. Inside Mr Modi’s mind and soul, these two contrary impulses were fighting for dominance. Which [...]

 
 
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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 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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  The Civil Servant Who Spoke Truth To Power, Hindustan Times [Sunday, June 21st, 2015]

Shortly after the UPA Government was re-elected in 2009, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, received five fascinating letters from a man living in Bhopal. The first letter shredded the Government’s plans to set up a slew of new IITs. It pointed out that ‘the new institutions will find it very difficult to find good [...]

 
 
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  History Beyond Marxism and Hindutva, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 26th, 2014]

In October 1984, I got my first academic job, at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Kolkata (then Calcutta). A week after I joined, a friend from Chennai (then Madras) sent me a petition on the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, which he hoped some of my colleagues would sign. The first [...]

 
 
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  The Man Who Would Rule India, The Hindu [Friday, February 8th, 2013]

A journalist who recently interviewed Narendra Modi reported their conversation as follows: ‘Gujarat, he told me, merely has a seafront. It has no raw materials—no iron ore for steel, no coal for power and no diamond mines. Yet it has made huge strides in these fields. Imagine, he added, if we had the natural resources [...]

 
 
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  The State of My State, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 4th, 2012]

I know that we may be speaking here of a race to the bottom, but I would still like to claim that the political culture of the state where I live, Karnataka, is more degraded than that of any other state of the Union. Consider these three, discrete, events that occurred in a single month, [...]

 
 
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