/Tag: secularism

A 19th Century Politics For a 21st Century State


Hindustan Times

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 book [...]

An Opposition to Despair Of


The Telegraph

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 remarks [...]

How Gandhi’s Martyrdom Saved India


Hindustan Times

On the 31st of January 1948, a former Indian Civil Service officer named Malcolm Darling, then living in retirement in London, wrote in his diary: ‘Gandhi was assassinated yesterday. … Very difficult to say what will happen, but it is as if a ship has lost its keel. Further disintegration seems inevitable, and what happens to [...]

Religious Faith- Devilish and Divine


The Telegraph

I write this on a day when the front page of the newspaper reports that a Cabinet Minister has visited Rajasthan to consult an astrologer. Meanwhile, a back page photograph in the same paper shows the most powerful man in cricket preparing to enter a famous and well endowed temple in Kerala. The Cabinet Minister in [...]

By |2014-12-15T09:59:13+00:00November 29th, 2014|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , |

How Congress Lost the Diaspora


Hindustan Times

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 asked. [...]

By |2014-11-06T20:56:30+00:00September 28th, 2014|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |

Politicians and Pluralism


The Telegraph

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 Indian. [...]

By |2013-09-20T09:41:15+00:00September 7th, 2013|Categories: History, Politics and Current Affairs|Tags: , , |

The Man Who Would Rule India


The Hindu

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 of [...]

Appreciating Nehru


The Hindu

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 capaciousness [...]

Sycophants Saffron and White


The Telegraph

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 a [...]

Letting Azad Win


Hindustan Times

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 dress, [...]