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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  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. [...]

 
 
line

 
  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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  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 [...]

 
 
line

 
  THE TRIPLE TRAGEDY OF THE INDIAN MUSLIMS, The Telegraph [Saturday, October 25th, 2008]

An influential editor from Delhi, visiting Bangalore, hosted a dinner for some local politicians, and invited me along. Among the netas present was the Karnataka Youth Congress president, the spokesman for H. D. Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular), and an office-bearer of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The conversation turned to the history of communal violence [...]

 
 
line

 
  SELECTIVE RIGHTEOUSNESS, The Telegraph [Saturday, December 8th, 2007]

A mail arrived in my Inbox last week, as part of a circular sent to many people with some connection to the press. Addressed to ‘the Chief Editor/ Photographer’, it read: ‘We request you to cover the demonstration that AIDWA is organizing against the violence perpetrated on a (sic) tribal women in Assam at 1.30 [...]

 
 
line