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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  REFUGEES AND THE REPUBLIC, The Telegraph [Tuesday, November 9th, 2010]

At a meeting in Chennai that I recently attended, an official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, herself a Swiss national, remarked that ‘the Indian Government has a very humane atttitude towards refugees’. She was not merely showing courtesy towards her hosts. For, as another speaker at the symposium pointed out, in its [...]

 
 
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  QUESTIONS OF PROPRIETY, Hindustan Times [Monday, October 25th, 2010]

When, in the year 1974, Mrs Indira Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) became bitter political opponents, there was a peculiar poignancy to their rivalry. For JP and Jawaharlal Nehru had been close friends. So, independently, were JP’s wife Prabhavati and Nehru’s wife Kamala. In fact, before starting an all-India movement against the policies of the [...]

 
 
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  THE SPORTING-AND UNSPORTING-POLITICIAN, Hindustan Times [Friday, September 10th, 2010]

In the first week of August, a senior woman Congressman with a home in Shimla was elected President of the Indian Hockey Association (or Hockey India as it is now called). Her election was both surprising and backward-looking, for the person she successfully contested against was the great full-back Pargat Singh. Vidya Stokes’s elevation to [...]

 
 
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  TWO KINDS OF GLOBALIZATION, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 28th, 2010]

At the beginning of this century, my home town, Bangalore, became a showpiece for the advantages to India of an outward-looking economic policy. The city’s Information Technology industry was generating large amounts of foreign exchange by providing high-quality services to global companies. Thousands of new jobs had been created. Besides, as compared to the traditional [...]

 
 
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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 BRIEF HISTORY OF BIPARTISANSHIP, Hindustan Times [Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010]

When the politician-social worker Nanaji Deshmukh died last month, none of the obituaries mentioned what may have been his finest moment. This occurred during a debate in the Rajya Sabha in the first week of May 2002. The subject being discussed was the recent Gujarat riots. As members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the [...]

 
 
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  RECONCILING THE MAOISTS, The Telegraph [Friday, February 26th, 2010]

Soon after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) was banned. This was in part because Gandhi’s murderer, Nathuram Godse, had once been a member of the RSS; and in part because RSS leaders played a crucial role in the polarization of Hindu-Muslim relations that led to that tragic [...]

 
 
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  HOW NOT TO CHOOSE A GOVERNOR, Hindustan Times [Sunday, January 3rd, 2010]

In the first weeks of December, I travelled through four states of the Union. In each state, I discussed the local political situation with a cross-section of the citizenry. We spoke of the work of Ministers and Chief Ministers, and, as it happens, of Governors. In one place, I heard the complaint that the Governor’s [...]

 
 
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  MANIPUR TRAGEDIES, Hindustan Times [Monday, November 23rd, 2009]

Every Indian city has a road named after Mahatma Gandhi, each presenting in its own way a mocking thumbs-down to the Mahatma’s legacy. The M. G. Road of my home town, Bangalore, is a celebration of consumerism, with its glittering array of shop-windows advertising the most expensive goods in India. In other cities, government offices [...]

 
 
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