TWO CHEERS FOR BLASPHEMY, Hindustan Times [Friday, June 29th, 2007]

How one reads the protests by the Governments of Iran and Pakistan at Salman Rushdie being made a knight depends on where one is placed on the political spectrum. Those who incline to the right might dismiss it as yet another illustration of the illiberalism of Islam. On the other hand, some on the left [...]

 
 
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  BISMILLAH OF BANARAS, The Hindu [Sunday, August 27th, 2006]

In a delicious paradox that can only be Indian, the man who best embodied the spirit of the holy Hindu city of Banaras was a Muslim. Although he was born in Bihar, Bismillah Khan moved to Banaras as a young man, and lived there until he died, spending some seven decades in an old, crumbling [...]

 
 
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  TRUTHS ABOUT THE TRICOLOUR, The Hindu [Sunday, September 26th, 2004]

‘[Karnataka state BJP president Ananth] Kumar said Gujarat BJP unit president Rajendra Singh Rana will hand over the original national Tricolour to Uma [Bharti]. This flag was first hoisted by the great freedom fighter Madam Cama at the International Socialists Conference held at Stutgert (sic) in Germany in 1903. As Rana’s forefathers were freedom fighters, [...]

 
 
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  EDUCATING OUR WOMEN, The Telegraph [Saturday, July 24th, 2004]

Some years ago, while working on a history of cricket in India, I was reading issues of a now defunct newspaper called the Bombay Sentinel. It took time to get to the sports pages, for they were at the end, and one was prone to get diverted by the other stories on the way. Searching [...]

 
 
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  VIGNETTES OF VAJPAYEE, The Hindu [Sunday, July 4th, 2004]

In the last weeks of 1999, I was the recipient of a phone call from a Delhi bibliophile I knew slightly. The Prime Minister’s family, he said, felt that the time had come to suitably commemorate, in cold print, the life and times of the great man. They had asked the bibliophile, as the best-read [...]

 
 
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  HINDU POPES, The Telegraph [Saturday, March 6th, 2004]

When the Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992, a prominent Mahant of Ayodhya called it the first step in making the town the ‘Vatican of the Hindus’. I was recently reminded of that statement, while reading the Oxford historian R.W. Southern’s classic Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. This book skilfully [...]

 
 
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