The Forgotten Gujarati Prime Minister, The Hindustan Times [Sunday, June 8th, 2014]

During the election campaign, Narendra Modi said several times that he wished Vallabhbhai Patel had become India’s first Prime Minister. In Patel’s memory, he promised to built a ‘Statue of Unity’ grander than the Statue of Liberty itself. Mr Modi never spelt out why he admires Patel so much. I suppose it is because the [...]

 
 
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  Our Best and Worst Prime Ministers, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 11th, 2014]

In his recent press conference, Dr Manmohan Singh said he would leave it to history and historians to judge his tenure as Prime Minister. This column provides an interim verdict, by assessing his record against that of other men and women who have held the post. Let’s begin with our first and longest-serving Prime Miister. [...]

 
 
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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 LIVING LEGACY OF SANJAY GANDHI, The Telegraph [Saturday, September 11th, 2010]

The only time I have been less than sorrowful at a premature death was when Sanjay Gandhi perished in an air crash. He was truly a nasty piece of work. Having dropped out of the Doon School, and then dropped out of an apprentice scheme in the Rolls Royce factory in the United Kingdom, he [...]

 
 
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  THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, Caravan [Monday, March 1st, 2010]

Not long ago, I found myself in a panel discussion on television with three politicians. One was a Congress Member of Parliament, a second an MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the third the President of one of the smaller regional formations. In the course of the conversation I found reason to criticize the three [...]

 
 
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  THEIR FIRST FAMILY AND OURS, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 14th, 2009]

Driving down the Mall in Lahore, I saw a large poster mixing familiar faces with those that were less familiar. There was the current Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, wearing spectacles; next to him, but looming larger in the frame, his late wife Benazir Bhutto, her head covered with a chunni. Two others I recognized [...]

 
 
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  RECALLING AN EARLIER FAILURE, The Telegraph [Saturday, November 10th, 2007]

On my first trip to New York—back in the mid 1980s—I made a visit to the United Nations, an institution then held in somewhat higher esteem than it is now. In the plaza outside a demonstration was in progress. The protesters were Afghan men, their nationality manifest in their dress—they wore flowing pyjamas, a long [...]

 
 
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  THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY, The Telegraph [Monday, April 10th, 2006]

In her early years as Congress President, Sonia Gandhi was treated as a political lightweight, by her opponents and independent commentators alike. Her public persona exuded diffidence. She spoke English inadequately. Her Hindi was worse. Her command of both languages was made more imperfect by the thick Italian accent in which the words were couched [...]

 
 
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  SYCOPHANTS AND DEMOCRATS, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 22nd, 2005]

One day in the nineteen seventies, Leonid Brezhnev was in a town on Lake Baikal, attending a Politburo meeting. The Soviet Union was in its pomp, whereas the rival superpower was scarred at home by the scandal of Watergate, and abroad by the experience of defeat in Vietnam. Contemplating these events, Brezhnev was naturally feeling [...]

 
 
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  THE FAMILY BUSINESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 1st, 2004]

The poet Dom Moraes has written of how, fresh from Oxford, he went to call on India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru liked young writers, and this one had come with good credentials; he was the son of one of India’s leading editors, and had won a sheaf of literary prizes himself. The conversation [...]

 
 
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