/Tag: secularism

Standing With Gandhi in Ahmedabad


Hindustan Times

On 30th January I was in Ahmedabad, a city that was central to Mahatma Gandhi’s life and work. It was here that he established the most celebrated of his ashrams, on the banks of the Sabarmati River; here that he revised and refined his moral and political philosophy; here that he conceived and planned the Rowlatt [...]

By |2020-03-25T21:44:14+00:00February 9th, 2020|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs, Culture|Tags: |

From Indo-Pak to Chindia and Back Again to Indo-Pak


Hindustan Times

On 26th January 2006, the New York Times ran a story headlined ‘India Everywhere in the Alps’. The story began: ‘Delhi swept into Davos on Wednesday, with an extravagant public relations campaign by India intended to promote the country as the world's next economic superstar, and as a democratic alternative to China for the affections of [...]

By |2019-12-22T18:32:07+00:00December 15th, 2019|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , , |

History Against Sectarianism


The Telegraph

In December 1947, the annual Indian History Congress was held in Bombay. The President-elect that year was Professor Mohammad Habib of the Aligarh Muslim University, a historian of early medieval India, known especially for his studies of the Delhi Sultanate. From the late 1930s, many students and faculty at AMU had been active supporters of M. [...]

Why Mahatma Gandhi Would Not Have Wanted A Grand New Temple in Ayodhya


Hindustan Times

In 1932, a young Christian priest named Verrier Elwin was thrown out of his Church. Educated at Oxford, Elwin made his home among the Gonds of central India. He sought to bring education and health care to the adivasis, but refused to take the Gospel to them, out of respect for their own spiritual traditions. For [...]

Anti-Intellectualism In American And Indian Life


The Telegraph

Books set in other countries and published at other times can sometimes be strikingly relevant to India today. This is certainly the case with Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, published in 1963. I first read this book as a doctoral student thirty years ago, and re-read it recently. As a professor at one of America’s [...]

The Struggles Of A Muslim Modernizer


The Telegraph

In different but complementary ways, the debate on triple talaq, and the debate on cow slaughter, both demonstrate the medievalist mindset of modern India. Why, when even the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has abolished the pernicious practice of triple talaq, has India not done so? Largely because the leadership of Indian Muslims is in the hands [...]

Words From An Open Mind To A Closed Or Sealed One


Hindustan Times

A once great but now mostly forgotten Bangalorean was Mirza Ismail. A distinguished Dewan of both Mysore and Jaipur, in those princely states he reformed and modernized the administration, beautified their capital cities, and emphasized modern education. In both Jaipur and Mysore, there are roads named after him, as well as charming markets that he had [...]

The Government Of-By-And For The Slogan


Hindustan Times

At its recent meeting, the National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party passed a political resolution, a passage of which read: ‘Our Constitution describes India as Bharat also, [hence] refusal to chant victory to Bharat is tantamount to disrespect to our Constitution itself. Bharat Mata ki Jai is not merely a slogan. It was a mantra [...]

Can Hindu Liberals Criticise Muslim Bigots


The Telegraph

In March 1937, Mahatma Gandhi published an article entitled ‘Need for Tolerance’. This was in response to a letter he had received from a Muslim friend. This man, a liberal and sceptic, wondered why, when referring to the Prophet Muhammad or the Koran, Gandhi never analysed them critically. ‘I am at a loss’, he wrote, ‘to [...]

By |2016-04-10T21:57:43+00:00January 23rd, 2016|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |

Narendra Modi And The RSS


The Telegraph

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 side [...]

By |2015-12-25T13:03:25+00:00December 12th, 2015|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , , |