Fanatics And Heretics

The Telegraph

In the early 1980s, while coming out of a Marxist phase, I came across The God that Failed, a collection of confessional essays by once hard-core Communists who had left the party and renounced its creed. The book was rivetingly readable, in part because of the quality of the writing (Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, and Louis [...]

The Pen Over The Sword Always

The Telegraph

In a recent essay in Frontline magazine, Ghulam Murshid writes of the ups and downs of Tagore’s reputation in Bangladesh. So long as it was East Pakistan, the poet was not looked upon very favourably-in part because he came from a upper-class landed family, in larger part because he was a Hindu. As the Tagore centenary [...]

Reading For The New Year

Hindustan Times

Late last year, seeking to make sense of the conflict between the Anna Hazare movement and the Central Government, I turned to an essay by the Indian scholar I most admire, the sociologist André Béteille. Published some years ago in the Economic and Political Weekly, this set out a distinction between two forms of democratic functioning, [...]