The Seductions Of Self Praise, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 9th, 2016]

Last week, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the liberalization process, the Indian Express carried a long interview with Dr Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister at the time the reforms took shape. Those were Dr Singh’s finest years in public office; now, in semi-retirement, after an indifferent (if not disastrous) second term as Prime Minister, one [...]

 
 
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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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  A Slogan With Substance, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 9th, 2016]

Our Prime Minister likes coining slogans and acronyms. There was Swachh Bharat and Make in India, then Beti Padhao Desh Badhao. Now there is Start up India, Stand Up India. The Planning Commission has become the N[ational] I[nstitution] for T[ransforming] I[ndia]. I am sure the second part of NITI AAYOG must also lead to something [...]

 
 
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  A 19th Century Politics For a 21st Century State, Hindustan Times [Sunday, October 25th, 2015]

Some years ago, I edited an anthology of Indian political thought, profiling nineteen individual thinkers. The usual suspects—Gokhale, Tilak, Phule, Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, Lohia, JP, Periyar—featured, but also some less conventional choices. One of these was Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh between 1940 and 1973. My inclusion of Golwalkar in an [...]

 
 
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  An Opposition to Despair Of, The Telegraph [Saturday, August 8th, 2015]

I spent the last week of July in New Delhi, my first extended trip to that city since the General Elections of 2014. It was a year and two months since the Modi Government had come to power, and signs of disenchantment had set in. Scholars, executives, restaurant waiters, and security personnel all made sarcastic [...]

 
 
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  Nehru and Patel, Hindustan Times [Sunday, October 12th, 2014]

The best biography of Vallabhbhai Patel was written by Rajmohan Gandhi. Based on full access to Patel’s own papers, it is a rich account of his life and struggles, set against the context of the historical forces which shaped them. Rajmohan Gandhi’s Patel: A Life, was first published in March 1991. The preface, written in [...]

 
 
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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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  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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  Sycophants Saffron and White, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 14th, 2012]

They say a writer is known by the enemies he makes. Earlier this week, I was alerted to an attack on me posted on the website of the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi. ‘Ramachandra Guha’s impotent anger’, claimed Mr Modi’s website, ‘is typical of a snobbish but vacuous intellectual who simply cannot tolerate [...]

 
 
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  BAN THE BAN, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 30th, 2011]

Earlier this year, the Gujarat Government banned a book on Mahatma Gandhi by an American writer. The book was not then available in India, and no one in Gujarat had read it. The ban, ordered by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was on the basis of a tendentious news report and a still more tendentious book [...]

 
 
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