How Congress Lost the Diaspora, Hindustan Times [Sunday, September 28th, 2014]

In April this year I was in Houston, which has a large Indian community. I had dinner with a group of NRIs, and we spoke about the 16th General Elections. I was told a hundred college students and professionals from Houston had gone to India to campaign. How many for the Bharatiya Janata Party, I [...]

 
 
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  Politicians and Pluralism, The Telegraph [Saturday, September 7th, 2013]

Indian pluralism was always hard won. The riots during Partition produced an enormous sense of insecurity among India’s minorities. Mahatma Gandhi’s death, by creating a sense of shock and outrage, allowed Jawaharlal Nehru’s Government to isolate extremist Hindus, and bring the mainstream towards a more moderate, inclusive, plural sense of what it meant to be [...]

 
 
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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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  Appreciating Nehru, The Hindu [Tuesday, November 13th, 2012]

The most admired human being on the planet may be a one-time boxer named Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. To spend three decades in prison fighting racial oppression, and then guide and oversee the peaceful transition to a multi-racial democracy, surely ranks as the greatest personal achievement since the end of the Second World War. For the [...]

 
 
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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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  Letting Azad Win, Hindustan Times [Friday, March 16th, 2012]

In the third week of March 1940, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad delivered the Presidential Address at the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress, held that year in Ramgarh in Bihar. Azad here spoke of secularism as India’s ‘historic destiny’, proof of which was in ‘our languages, our poetry, our literature, our culture , our [...]

 
 
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  A Plague On All Our Houses, Hindustan Times [Saturday, December 24th, 2011]

The Republic of India has a billion (and more) citizens who, at any given time, are involved in a thousand (and more) controversies. Knowing which controversy is the most significant is always hard, and often impossible, to judge. Even so, we can be fairly certain that 2011 will go down in Indian history as the [...]

 
 
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  A Writer’s Comments [Saturday, August 6th, 2011]

The root of the word “liberal” is the Latin “liber” – “free” – and 
since that root is found also in words such as “liberation”, with
 their implicit suggestion of carefree freedom, we tend to 
unconsciously mistake liberalism’s objective with its process. To be 
liberal, we think, is to be easy and relaxed, even blithe. [...]

 
 
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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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  THE GOOD INDIAN, The Hindu [Sunday, February 15th, 2009]

One of the forgotten figures of Indian journalism is a man named Syed Abdullah Brelvi. Google ‘SA Brelvi’ (as I just did), and all that comes up is a road carrying that name in south Bombay. The road was so named in a more enlightened age, when Mumbaikars were free, and willing, to praise those [...]

 
 
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