Nehru and Patel, Hindustan Times [Sunday, October 12th, 2014]

The best biography of Vallabhbhai Patel was written by Rajmohan Gandhi. Based on full access to Patel’s own papers, it is a rich account of his life and struggles, set against the context of the historical forces which shaped them. Rajmohan Gandhi’s Patel: A Life, was first published in March 1991. The preface, written in [...]

 
 
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  The Greatest Living Gandhian, The Telegraph [Saturday, June 2nd, 2012]

When Dr Manmohan Singh went to call on Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this week, I wonder whether the great Burmese lady recalled her first encounter with India and Indians. In the 1950s, as a young teenager, she moved to Delhi with her mother, who had been appointed Burma’s Ambassador to India. The years she [...]

 
 
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  Uttar Pradesh Past and Present, The Telegraph [Saturday, February 11th, 2012]

In his charming memoir, Lucknow Boy, Vinod Mehta writes of the leisurely pace of life in his home town. Like most students of his class and generation, he paid little attention to books and exams, spending his time rather in the streets and cafés of Lucknow. A Punjabi Hindu, Mehta numbered two Muslims among his [...]

 
 
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  POWER WOMEN, The Telegraph [Saturday, May 7th, 2011]

A remarkable yet perhaps under-appreciated fact about Indian politics today is the influence, at the very top, of women. The most powerful individual in the country is a woman. The most powerful individual in the country’s largest state is a woman. The leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha is a woman. In two [...]

 
 
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  THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, Caravan [Monday, March 1st, 2010]

Not long ago, I found myself in a panel discussion on television with three politicians. One was a Congress Member of Parliament, a second an MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the third the President of one of the smaller regional formations. In the course of the conversation I found reason to criticize the three [...]

 
 
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  THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY, The Telegraph [Monday, April 10th, 2006]

In her early years as Congress President, Sonia Gandhi was treated as a political lightweight, by her opponents and independent commentators alike. Her public persona exuded diffidence. She spoke English inadequately. Her Hindi was worse. Her command of both languages was made more imperfect by the thick Italian accent in which the words were couched [...]

 
 
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  SYCOPHANTS AND DEMOCRATS, The Telegraph [Saturday, January 22nd, 2005]

One day in the nineteen seventies, Leonid Brezhnev was in a town on Lake Baikal, attending a Politburo meeting. The Soviet Union was in its pomp, whereas the rival superpower was scarred at home by the scandal of Watergate, and abroad by the experience of defeat in Vietnam. Contemplating these events, Brezhnev was naturally feeling [...]

 
 
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