Columnists

Anand K. Sahay

The Republic of RSS

This may be Narendra Modi’s government, but India may be on its way to becoming Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s republic. The signs point that way.

Sidharth Bhatia

2014: The annus absurdus

The past is another country, said L.P. Hartley and how true that sounds when one looks over the newspapers of just a year ago.

P.K. Hormis Tharakan

Real need to share intel data

The massacre of the innocents at the Army school in Peshawar highlights dangers that our schools are exposed to.

Devanik Saha

Saffronising education

Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poster woman, Smriti Irani, has been made the Union human resources development minister, she has been embroiled in controversies.

Varun Gandhi

Talking shop at both sides of the aisle

India’s retail sector is a potpourri of formats.

Suman Sahai

Who owns our genetic wealth?

There was a news report not so long ago that ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), an international organisation and part of the CGIAR (Consultative Group on Inte

Patralekha Chatterjee

God and mammon

Good governance seems to be all about seeking coherence through confusion.

S.K. Sinha

Caught in the act

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) has become a very controversial issue.

Kishwar Desai

Of Christmas, poverty & Hawking

As the big freeze descends, London begins to look as it used to, before we knew what global warming was.

Ashok Malik

Tripping on TRPs

Elections are cathartic moments in the life of a democracy, a time for a new beginning, a new order and a new way of doing things.

Bharat Bhushan

RSS’ reconversion project

The late Dilip Singh Judeo, poster boy of the Bharatiya Janata Party for re-conversion of Christian tribals to Hinduism became the subject of a TV sting in 2003.

Shobhaa’s Take

Hey Ram! Will we never learn?

After watching Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj holding forth in Parliament about Nathuram Godse, something happened in the pit of my stomach.

Manish Tewari

Policing the Internet

The Internet is the boldest attempt at anarchism and it has succeeded. It epitomises the vastest ungoverned sphere on the globe.

Yogi Aggarwal

Economy: Euphoric, not healthy

A booming stock market should normally indicate a booming economy, but the link doesn’t always hold.

Arun Prakash

A ‘Galle-ing’ experience

December 26, 2004, Sunday morning, saw the calm in Naval Headquarters (NHQ) being shattered by ominous reports of powerful seismic shocks and giant tidal surges in our Bay of Bengal islands and coasta

Shankar Roychowdhury

Lesson from 26/11: Protect coastlines

On November 26, 2008, ten Pakistani jihadists of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba travelled by sea to Mumbai in a fishing trawler, infiltrated ashore from rubber assault boats near Cuffe Parade, split up into te

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

Democracy in action

Democracy is the enemy of civilisation.

Aakar Patel

The story between action, reaction

This week we had a minister separating Indians as being either “Ramzadas” (meaning Hindus) or “haramzadas”, meaning bastards.

Pradeep S. Mehta

Future of Jan Dhan Yojana

The delivery of fin-ancial services at af-fordable costs to vast sections of disadvantaged and low-income groups continues to remain a big challenge in our country.

Patralekha Chatterjee

Culinary casteism

Kuppegala isn’t one of those places that instantly ring a bell.

Prakash Singh

A state of terror

The recently-held conference of the police chiefs of the country in Guwahati was a bit of disappointment considering the expectations generated by the Modi government.

Gautam Chintamani

Thanks for the laughs

Being a comedian is far from being funny. After a while you cease to be a person.

K.N. Bhat

Red light for green judgment

Verdicts of the courts can roughly be categorised into three classes.

R.C. Acharya

On track for business

Suresh Prabhu, the newly appointed railway minister, believes in moving on the fasttrack so that he can meet the expectations of Prime Minister Modi on improving the railway’s performance.

K.C. Singh

SAARC: Can hope and history rhyme?

The 18th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit was held on November 26-27 at Kathmandu.

Ronojoy Sen

Young knights in Anand’s shadow

Viswanathan Anand has for the second year running been outclassed in the World Chess Championship by a player nearly 20 years his younger.

Arun K. Singh

Can PM Modi win the marathon?

Narendra Modi was sworn in as Prime Minister on May 26, 2014, and has clearly won the sprint when his government completes six months in office on November 26.

Swami Chaitanya Keerti

Lalla of Kashmir

The spiritual world has known so many wonderful mystics and most of them have been men.

Bharatkumar Raut

Sarkar in ICU

Now that the newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party government has won the much-talked-about confidence vote and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is in the saddle, at least for some time, a question ari

Sreeram Chaulia

Stirrings of hope

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electrifying speech to a sellout crowd of over 16,000 Indian Australians in Sydney’s grand Allphones Arena is another landmark in what is becoming a trend of shining lig

K.G. Suresh

It’s time for an objective assessment

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is certainly an icon for a large number of people but he is also fast emerging as an iconoclast when it comes to the Nehru-Gandhi legacy.

M.G.S. Narayanan

Nehru: the real architect of modern India

The Nehru era, which started in the 1930s, came to an end with the last election in India. Those who came to power following the elections are not particularly interested in Pandit Nehru’s legacy.

Kumar Ketkar

Bid to belittle Nehru through comparisons

The debate on Pandit Nehru on TV channels as well as in the press is so philistine and pathetic that one wonders whether our country has lost the sense of history and intellectual rigor altogether.

Anil Dharker

Nehru & idea of India

With television, the Internet and our smartphones we have daily sightings of our leaders.

Kancha Ilaiah

Rediscovering Nehru

If Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy to India is liberal Hinduism, B.R. Ambedkar’s legacy is Navayana Buddhism, what is Nehru’s legacy in terms of socio-religious ideas and thought? Atheism and rationalism.

Lakshmi Narayan

Saving face

It was meant to be no more than a gentlemanly gesture. There was a nip in the air during the recent Asia Pacific Summit.

K.C. Singh

Today’s walls are ethnic

November 9 marked 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a potent symbol of the Cold War.

Flavia Agnes

The love jihad bogey

Saif Ali Khan, in the context of the recent “love jihad” controversy, wrote in a newspaper: “When Kareena and I married, there were similar death threats, with people on the Net saying ridiculous thin

Farrukh Dhondy

Poppy politics

“He who has the ultimate laugh Will without a doubt Laugh alone with moistened eyes And nothing to laugh about!” From Kem Dikra Kem Chhe by Bachchoo

Vivek Kaul

Tackling black money

One of the promises made by the Bharatiya Janata Party before the 16th Lok Sabha elections was that it will get back all the black money that has left India over the years.

Kiran Nagarkar

Waiting for Ebola

Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot flagged off “the theatre of the absurd” movement, which was so popular in the 1960s.

Neena Gopal

In India’s Ocean

Barely six weeks after a Chinese submarine docked in Colombo port in mid-September this year, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is clearly cocking a snook at Delhi, in allowing a second Chinese submari

S.K. Sinha

Time to bury Article 370

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for public debate on Article 370 and not for it being struck down as such.

Inder Malhotra

Dynasty in the dumps

If nothing succeeds like success, nothing fails like failure either.

Sudhanshu Ranjan

Regions out, nation in

It seems that democracy in India is coming of age.

Anand K. Sahay

PM Modi’s plans fail to dazzle

When Krishna is the charioteer, Arjuna’s arrows cut through the darkness and sheer clarity is produced.

Pushpa Sundar

The aid headache

Foreign funding of NGOs is a topic that never seems to lose currency.

Audrey D’Mello

The myth of Hindu monogamy

The recent comments of Justice Markandey Katju, a retired Supreme Court judge, in support of the uniform civil code on the ground that the Muslim personal law is “barbaric, backward and unjust” has ra

Sreeram Chaulia

The young are claiming the earth

What is common among Joshua Wong, Akbar Ali al-Kishi and Tef Poe? All three happen to be remarkable activists for social justice and freedom in their respective societies who are shockingly young.

R.C. Acharya

Chugging in a new dawn

A new committee to “restructure” railways under the chairmanship of Bibek Debroy, an economist helped by six former bureaucrats and business executives is to find the magic pill for all of Indian Rail

Dominic Emmanuel

Vanity, maya and us

I felt happy and proud reading about the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Sanjib Baruah

Our floods, their floods

There was a time when the charge of neglect by the central government was the staple of Northeast India’s politics. That is no longer the case.

Shankar Roychowdhury

The soft power war

Information warfare is both offensive and defensive the first, to dominate the mind of an opponent population and shape their perceptions to our own advantage; the second, to prevent similar efforts b

Suman Sahai

Himalayan blunders at people’s peril

I left Srinagar a week before the floods.

Matthew Kavanagh

Intellectually challenged

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Last week, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with leaders in New York and Washington, DC, there was an all-out campaign by pharmaceutical companies to force the Prime Minister’s hand on intellectual property.

Arun Kumar Singh

Clear and present danger

The Indian media, with the odd exception, has missed out on analysing a recent incident at the Karachi naval dockyard. On the night of September 6, half a dozen serving and retired Pakistan Navy (PN) personnel, led by an officer, entered the Karachi naval dockyard in a boat and attempted to take over the 3,000-tonne Chinese-built frigate, PNS Zulfiqar, when the warship in the harbour.

T.T. Ram Mohan

Growing pains

Most investors and analysts are today upbeat about India’s growth prospects. In 2013-14, the Indian economy grew at 4.7 per cent, staying below 5 per cent for the second consecutive year. From now on, analysts say, things can only improve. They see growth accelerating to 5.5 per cent in 2014-15, 6.5 per cent in 2015-16 and over 7 per cent in 2016-17.

Rakhshanda Jalil

Bonding over biryani

Ai aab-e-rood-e-Ganga woh din hai yaad tujhko Utra tere kinare jab kaarvan hamaraIqbal

Rudra Chaudhuri

Beyond the rhetoric

That Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the United States was distinctly successful is without doubt. He was, according to commentators, the second most googled — after President Barack Obama — person within the United States during the period of his stay.

Ronojoy Sen

The spirit of the Games

When the first Asian Games began on March 4, 1951, it was a modest affair. Over eight days, 400-odd athletes from 11 countries took part in six disciplines, which included athletics, swimming and water polo, cycling, weightlifting, football and basketball. In contrast, the ongoing Incheon Games has 13,000 athletes taking part in 36 sports, including Asian sports such as kabaddi and sepak takraw, 12 more than the Olympic Games.

Dilip D’Souza

Things Gandhi knew

Between 2 pm on October 1 and 10.30 am on October 2, Central government offices in New Delhi remained closed. Why? Because Prime Minister Narendra Modi, concerned about widespread filth in India, is “launching” the nation-wide “Swachchh Bharat” (Clean India) campaign today.

Pallavi Gogoi

Dreams & protests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the Indian diaspora in New York with a grand promise: “India will touch new heights.” The crowd of 20,000 Americans of Indian origin erupted in re

Sidharth Bhatia

Amit Shah made the difference

Egos or simple ambition? Expediency or strategy? Betrayal or good, old-fashioned politics? What lies behind the big splits in Maharashtra, virtually at the 11th hour before the elections?

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Vrinda Gopinath

Buffoonery over boobs

OMG! The Old Lady of Boribunder has Boob envy! Well, if you can be sexist, misogynist, misanthropist, egotist, chauvinist, you may as well add ageist, in the Deepika Padukone-Times of India cleavage controversy.

Talmiz Ahmad

Combating the ISIS challenge

Barely three years after they withdrew from Iraq, US forces have once again unleashed their fire power in the region, this time not against an abhorred regime but on a non-state actor — the “Islamic State” (ISIS).

Samrat Choudhury

The anatomy of failed relationships

It has been a bout of haggling the likes of which are rarely seen outside of saree shops and fish markets, but it didn't end like haggling in the fish markets and saree shops does.

Sundeep Mehta

Saving lives, selflessly

The article, Darkness at Noon, by your Srinagar correspondent Yusuf Jameel, which appeared in The Asian Age on September 21, stated: “Their (Army and Air Force) first priority was to rescue their own near and other security force, tourists were next and then came the turn of seasonal labourers and other non locals, whereas, common Kashmiri was left to the mercy of god”.

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Pradeep S.Mehta

Feel free to trade

Trade is not just about transactions between two or more parties. It is more about networking and building relationships. They help create positive externalities, resulting in low transaction costs.

Flavia Agnes

A fight, with crutches

A controversy has arisen over a government regulation (GR) issued by the department of women and child development (WCD), government of Maharashtra, that in cases of domestic violence, counselling or mediation between the parties can be conducted only through an order of a magistrate and any stakeholder engaging in this practice without a court order would amount to a violation.

Dilip Cherian

The big one

The big one

Yusuf Jameel

Darkness at noon

Kashmir’s history is dotted with natural calamities and man-made disasters. And over the centuries the people of Jammu and Kashmir have perfected the art of rising from the ashes. They have seen famines and epidemics, floods and earthquakes, blazes and mayhem, organised violence and massacres, forced and voluntary migrations, incarcerations and worse.

Swapan Dasgupta

Bengal churns

The kindest thing that can be said of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s indifferent performance in the series of byelections since the general election last May is that they are a pointer to the significant role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in ensuring the decisive Lok Sabha outcome.

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Shiv Visvanathan

No good deed must go unpunished

Disasters not only disrupt society, they also distort its basic categories, creating inversions, disrupting normalcy and suspending time in a prolonged way. Return to normalcy then becomes even more difficult and unpredictable.

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Jagdish N. Singh

Will Modi talk Tibet?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his historic meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday afternoon in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. As per schedule, Mr Modi took Mr Xi on a tour of Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati ashram.

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Pavan K. Varma

BJP talks of vikas, practises vinash

Chanakya believed that the unfolding present will cast its shadow on the configuration of the future. That is why he believed that analysing the situation as it exists today, provides the material for devising the strategy that must be shaped for the morrow. There is a causal continuity between the past, present and the future.

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Anita Katyal

A clash of titans and young Turks

The Bharatiya Janata Party is desperate to form a government in Delhi, but its attempts to cobble together the requisite numbers keep hitting a roadblock.

Aakar Patel

Peaks and valleys of elections

Jammu and Kashmir must have a new Assembly in place by January, but this is unlikely to happen. Unusually in India, and because it has its own Constitution, the state goes to the polls every six years instead of every five.

Suchi Govindarajan

Match fixing

In 2012, a precocious 10-year-old girl filed a Right to Information query with the Prime Minister’s Office. She wanted to know when the government had declared hockey as India’s national sport.

Farrukh Dhondy

No boots on the ground?

“The green-eyed beast lives in the closet And now and again comes out to fight. His bark is filth and obscene fantasy Threat and blackmail are his bite

Antara Dev Sen

Pride in prejudice

How much progressive liberalism can our dear old right-thinking government take? How can it unflinchingly fall in line when our highest court looks below the belt? The avuncular, ostensibly God-fearing sarkar also needs to protect our revered social conventions, our cultural traditions, our delicate sensibilities.

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Theresa Mathai

Can science defy ageing?

The first Arthur C. Clarke story I ever read was The City and the Stars. Set in Diaspar, an advanced city one billion years in the future, its protagonist, Alvin, though a few thousand years old was considered young compared to other Diasparians.

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Ranjona Banerji

Being ‘sickular’

It’s a tough life being a liberal these days, but someone has to do it... Or, in other words, anything is better than being a bigot.

Javed Anand

Message from Mumbai

Until recently we only needed to worry about Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the agency responsible for funding, training, arming and showing the terror path to a small number of Indian Muslims.

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Kishwar Desai

Curious case of jihadi brides

While those in India are grappling with the idea of “love jihad”, in the UK the popular press is now obsessed with jihadi brides. These are young “radicalised” British Muslim girls who have actually gone to Syria to marry men from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and are obsessed with martyrdom.

Shobhaa De

Time for our report card

Narendra Modi’s report card right now is looking pretty theek thaak — even impressive — compelling critics to concede the Prime Minister has passed his crucial 100 days in office with straight “As”. Nationwide polls have endorsed most of his initiatives and the overall mood in the country is as upbeat as the Sensex.

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K.N. Bhat

From ‘Lordship’ to ‘Excellency’

In 1959, just a year or so ahead of his impending retirement on attaining 60 years of age, M.C. Chagla, the legendary Chief Justice of Bombay high court, resigned from office to accept the Government of India’s offer to be its ambassador to the United States of America.

Vandana Shiva

Seeds of slavery

On July 22, 2014, an international partnership across India, Africa and the US launched the “One Agriculture-One Science: A Global Education Consortium” initiative aimed at revitalising global agricultural education, capacity building and technology transfer.

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Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

Class apart

A few weeks ago a public school in the National Capital Region organised an Id Milan during school hours for students. Not all students were invited to it. During the mid-morning recess, teachers instructed Muslim students to line up and go to the place for the function.

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Patralekha Chatterjee

Vote jihad

If elections come, can conspiracy theories be far behind? With bypolls around the corner, Uttar Pradesh is abuzz with talk of a sinister plot of young Hindu women being tricked into marriage by Muslim men, and made to convert to Islam. Over the past week there has been a flood of reports about “love jihad”.

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S. Nihal Singh

Israel: A confirmed apartheid state

Peace is at the best of times a tenuous proposition in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even as the world hopes the new indefinite ceasefire that has brought 50 days of bloodshed to an end will last, the real causes of the conflict have been put to the side, rather than resolved.

Jayanthi Natarajan

Viva Chennai!

Chennai celebrated her 375th birthday last week. In my admittedly benign view as a dedicated Chennaiwasi, the celebrations ought to have been nationwide, highlighting all the absolutely wonderful dimensions of Chennai and her residents.

V. Balachandran

Westerly jihad

The first time terrorists abducted hostages with a political message to foreign powers warning them against intervention was the series of kidnapping done by “Islamic Jihad” in Lebanon during the 1980s.

Jayant V. Narlikar

Speakers Anonymous

In January this year there was a special meet in a town in northern Maharashtra to celebrate the 900th birthday of the Indian mathematician Bhaskaracharya. According to records, his birth place was near Chalisgaon, although like many historical events in our country, lack of proper records makes this claim subject to controversy.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

An oily affair

It is sometimes said that not even God can predict the price of oil. As a humble mortal, that too a practising atheist, one must confess at the outset that the dip in the international prices of crude oil has taken me and many others completely by surprise. Iraq is in a turmoil, almost on the verge of imploding.

Mohan Guruswamy

Thank God for think-tanks

The word “think-tank” owes its origins to John F. Kennedy, who collected a group of top intellectuals in White House, people like McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, John Galbraith, Arthur Schlesinger and Ted Sorenson among others to give him counsel on issues from time to time.

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Anil Dharker

Populism over honour

The Bharat Ratna is of the politician, by the politician, for the politician. A look at the Bharat Ratnas awarded since inception makes revealing reading. In their 60 years of existence — the Padma awards were instituted in 1954 — the Bharat Ratna has been given out 43 times.

Ram Gopal Varma

Wrong and right

Relationships are really the bane of our life whether they be with our loved ones and also within our so called professional lives. We’re, throughout our lives, seeking that one very right relationship with a very right person who we think is absolutely right for us.

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Khalid Mohamed

Matchpoint: Deepika

Now, why am I not surprised? The very actors, directors and power-brokers, who had once dismissed her either as just another pretty face or as an actress who looks good but acts bad, are now eating their words for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Rakhahari Chatterji

Gandhi’s India

A charitable interpretation of the acceptance by our leaders of Partition and the bloodbath that it entailed would be that they expected it to have, once and for all, settled communal conflict in Inde

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Seema Sirohi

Dr Singh may not be king, but he won

New York Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may not be king again but he certainly can launch a guerrilla action or two.

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Anupam Kher

Balancing act in life

I’m a 20-year-old college student. I was in love with my classmate. Last month I broke up with her. She cheated on me. And now it is very hard for me to face her all day in class.

Srinath Raghavan

Forward Ho!

It is easy to be nostalgic about US-India relations. Think of the days when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would gush to President George W.

Sajjad Ashraf

The muffled sounds of the dholak

Gazing into India, on my occasional visits, standing on the Pakistani side of Wagah border, the only land crossing permitted along the border between India and Pakistan, I have inevitably, with moist eyes, remembered my late father.

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Khalid Mohamed

Dancing in the dark

Kajol, who lived on the upscale Altamount Road, had never seen life in the raw.

Bharat Karnad

A frog in the hot water

John Garver, a leading American expert on Sino-Indian relations, has likened Beijing’s strategy towards India to the Chinese way of cooking a frog. Plonk the frog in a vessel and turn up the heat slowly. If the water was hot to begin with or the temperature were to rise much too quickly, the frog would simply jump out and escape.

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Bharat Karnad

A can-do helmsman

Nations on the march, or those in the dumps, have sometimes found great leaders to lift their spirits, offer a guiding vision, fuel ambition and help them leap forward. A down and out China found Deng Xiaoping, a fast-declining Britain got Margaret Thatcher, and a de-spirited America had Ronald Reagan.

Kishwar Desai

Convulsions in pop press

One of the most tumultuous occurrences in the history of British media took place this year when some journalists working at the highly successful tabloid, News of the World , were accused of using underhanded means for news gathering.

Shreekant Sambrani

The election that isn’t

In the next 10 days, Gujarat will go to polls, ostensibly to elect a legislative Assembly, but in reality to put a stamp of approval on its chief minister for over a decade, Narendra Modi. The only suspense is whether it does so with absolute conviction, that is, with a clear majority of votes cast, or through a plurality.

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This may be Narendra Modi’s government, but India may be on its way to becoming Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s republic. The signs point that way.

The past is another country, said L.P. Hartley and how true that sounds when one looks over the newspapers of just a year ago.