/Politics and Current Affairs

Politics and Current Affairs reproduces writings on secularism, majoritarianism, diversity, and other contentious themes in contemporary India.

In Praise of Desmond Tutu


The Telegraph

I have been thinking a great deal about South Africa these past few weeks, in part because of the Test series being played there, but mostly because of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with whose passing the last of the great stalwarts of the anti-apartheid struggle has left the stage. Although best known for the work he did [...]

For a Free Press: The Legacy of B G Horniman


The Telegraph

When, in 1995, Bombay was renamed Mumbai, it led to a spurt of such renamings of buildings, streets, parks, and railway stations in the city. However, a few dead foreigners were spared the fate of being consigned to the dustbin of history. Among them were Annie Besant, after whom a major thoroughfare in central Mumbai is [...]

The Sardar of the Kisans


The Telegraph

In 1931, the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress was held in the port city of Karachi. Vallabhbhai Patel was elected President. Early in his address, Patel remarked: ‘You have called a simple farmer to the highest office to which any Indian can aspire. I am conscious that your choice of me as first servant [...]

Taking the South Seriously


The Telegraph

I have recently been revisiting Walter Crocker’s 1966 book, Nehru: A Contemporary’s Estimate. This book remains the best single-volume study of the life and legacy of India’s first prime minister, and it says many interesting things about Nehru’s country too. Consider these remarks about the part of India I myself live in: “South India has counted [...]

The Opening and Closing of the Hindu Mind


The Telegraph

“What am I? Asiatic, European, or American? I feel a curious medley of personalities in me.” — Swami Vivekananda In 1873, the social reformer, Jyotirao Phule, published a searing critique of the caste system. Entitled Gulamgiri, the book was written in Marathi, yet it carried a dedication in English. This expressed the author’s admiration for “the [...]

Where the Hard Right Meets the Hard Left


The Telegraph

I have been reading the memoirs of Dora Russell, a pioneering British feminist and educationist. These were published in three volumes, of which I have just finished the first. This covers her upbringing in Edwardian England, her education at Cambridge, the development of her views on gender equality, an experimental school she established, and the years [...]

Why Modi and Shah Fear Young Activists


NDTV.com

Why would the Indian state arrest a twenty-one-year-old woman activist who seeks a cleaner and safer planet? Should not the country want young people to look beyond their narrow personal interests to the interests of society at large? Why did our Government lock up a young citizen seeking to build a better future for herself and [...]

In Praise of Archives and Archivists


The Telegraph

In the third week of January 2020—exactly a year ago—I was in New Delhi, working in the collections of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. I first discovered the archival riches of the NMML in the early 1980s, and explored them most fully while living in Delhi between 1988 and 1994. In those years I would [...]

Lessons in Leadership from Satish Dhawan


The Telegraph

The late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam liked to tell stories with morals. A story he was particularly fond of related to the launch of a satellite by the Indian Space Research Organization in July 1979. Kalam was in charge of the project at ISRO; and when some members expressed reservations about its readiness he overruled [...]

5 Reasons Why Rahul Gandhi Cannot Take on Modi for PM


NDTV.com

Those who oppose Hindutva seek to recover the founding principles of the freedom struggle, such as religious and linguistic pluralism, gender and caste equality, a critical attitude to state power, and an open-ness to other cultures and civilizations: all principles which Hindutva threatens to abandon or overthrow. But the closer one gets to 2024, the battle [...]

By |2020-10-27T18:52:05+05:30August 18th, 2020|Categories: Politics and Current Affairs|