/Tag: Hindutva

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 our Classical Music may be the Best Antidote to our Chauvinism


The Telegraph

Most evenings, I knock off from work and listen to Indian classical music for an hour or so before dinner. In the past, I would play CDs or cassettes I had collected over the years; now, I forage through the capacious repository that is YouTube. Sometimes I select an artist or a particular raga; at other [...]

The Multiple Tragedies of The Kashmiri Pandits


Hindustan Times

When the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits took place, I was based in Delhi, working at the Institute of Economic Growth. The IEG’s Director was the eminent sociologist Triloki Nath Madan, who had been born and raised in the Valley, and gone on to write a classic ethnography of Pandit life. Professor Madan’s brother, himself [...]

Godse Worship Goes Mainstream


Hindustan Times

In the early 1990s, the veteran Gandhian Dr Sushila Nayar, was in the temple town of Ayodhya, on a mission to promote communal harmony. At an inter-faith prayer meeting she led the singing of a hymn much beloved of the Mahatma, ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’. When she came to the line ‘Ishwar Allah Tero Naam’, a [...]

Paranoia and Triumphalism


The Telegraph

In his recent book, History in the Making, J. H. Elliot makes an interesting distinction between two different kinds of nationalist ideologies. On the one hand, there is the ‘chosen nation’ syndrome, where a country is said to have special ‘spiritual, biological, [or] racial’ characteristics’ that shall make it dominant in global affairs. On the other [...]

Letting Azad Win


Hindustan Times

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 dress, [...]

A Writer’s Comments


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. But [...]

CHAUVINISTS OF THE WORLD


UNITE!

In a recent essay in the Economic and Political Weekly, the political scientist Neil DeVotta quotes a Sri Lankan Government Minister as saying: ‘The Sinhalese are the only organic race of Sri Lanka. Other communities are all visitors to the country, whose arrival was never challenged out of the compassion of the Buddhists. But they must [...]

HINDU POPES


The Telegraph

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 sets [...]