Columnists

Flavia Agnes

The burden of proof

Nineteen-year-old Naina was made to take the place of her mother who had died of tuberculosis in 2004.

Patralekha Chatterjee

Punjab: Terror & drugs

Punjab is back in the headlines with a brutality reminiscent of the violent Eighties. In the early hours of July 27, three gunmen dressed in Army uniforms struck at Gurdaspur.

Sanjeev Ahluwalia

The hypocrisy of socialist liberals

Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage — playing in Mumbai and Delhi — makes us laugh at ourselves by stripping bare the self-serving hypocrisy underlying socially acceptable roles.

Jayant V. Narlikar

The maze & the magic of numbers

In the Prussian town of Königsberg, the river Pregel had seven bridges connecting two small islands in it to the two sides of the town as well as to each other.

S.K. Sinha

Bihar will set the tone

Bihar has a rich history from ancient to modern times. Vaishali in Bihar was the first democracy in the world.

Shantha Sinha

Bachpan bachao

Eleven-year-old Lachimi has no time to play with friends, enjoy leisure, study or even do homework.

Dilip Cherian

AAP ne bulaya...

While not always tilting at windmills, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal continues his confrontation with the Centre, which he has accused of creating hurdles for his government and ruling the capi

Samit Tandon

Gadar se Bajrangi tak

“When we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old we invent different pasts for others.” — Julian Barnes in his 2011 prize-winning novel,

Aakar Patel

We are a nation of Dennis Skinners

Black Rod is the name of the official in charge of maintaining the Palace of Westminster, where the United Kingdom’s Parliament meets.

Ashok Malik

Courting chaos

In recent weeks, the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, better known by its Hindi abbreviation of Vyapam, has become a subject of notoriety.

Faizan Mustafa

Let universities choose their V-C

Under the new regualtions of the University Grants Commission, even Albert Einstein cannot become a vice-chancellor of an Indian university.

Karan Singh

Population: The forgotten problem

In all the recent activity that we have witnessed on the economic front, representing a continuous attempt to free the economy from the clutches of red-tape, statism and rampant bureaucracy, there is

Shashi Tharoor

‘Britain owes India an apology’

At the end of May, the Oxford Union held a debate on the motion “This house believes Britain owes reparations to her former colonies”.

Antara Dev Sen

Justice, smile please

Justice must not only be done, the saying goes, it must be seen to be done. And video recordings can help us clearly see the process of justice being done.

Manish Tewari

The politics of mercy petitions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Yakub Abdul Razak Memon’s curative review petition, setting off the countdown to July 30, the date of his hanging.

Khalid Mohamed

Cabaret, cigarettes, and a hint of musk

She has just about managed a paragraph or two of an obituary at most. Sheila Ramani, who passed away uncrooned and unmissed at the age of 83 in the hilltown of Mhow, has been criminally ignored.

S. Raghotham

Thank you, Dr Singh

Quick, how many joint statements between leaders of nations have their own “anniversaries”!

Yogi Aggarwal

Rescuing with poison

Though the eurozone crisis seemed to be over when the Greek Parliament voted with a large majority to accept draconian austerity measures for a bailout by the European Union, the matter is far from se

Vikram Sood

Been there, done that

It is perhaps best to describe the recent Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi meeting in Ufa as “been there done that” in the India-Pakistan context.

C. Raj Kumar

Raising the bar for legal education

The recent announcement by commerce secretary Rajeev Kher that the government will, in a phased manner, open up India’s non-litigation and international arbitration services to foreign law firms is a

Charles Marquand

A punch in the gut for eurozone

On Sunday, July 5, another chapter opened in the odyssey of Greece’s tortured relations with the eurozone.

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

A Maharaja in the republic

The latest controversy over Air India reminds me of Singapore Airlines (SIA) dropping out of the bidding in 2001 when the national carrier hoped that partial privatisation would raise enough money to

Anand K. Sahay

Decoding the Modi mystique

When it was observed in this column a month ago that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suffered a precipitous loss of popularity within one year flat, faster than his predecessors who lasted longer tha

Paulo Coelho

Running the business of life

Pamela Hartigan, director of the Schwab Foundation, drew up a list of 10 points common to people who become dissatisfied with the world around them and decide to create their own work.

Pavan K. Varma

Security shanghaied

To what extent can issues of national security become hostage to partisan politics? This is the question that has come to the fore in the reactions to the new book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years by A.S.

Anita Katyal

Flying solo

When the Congress’ first family went abroad recently, it was assumed that party president Sonia Gandhi was travelling to the United States for a medical check-up since she has made similar trips over

Talmiz Ahmad

Saudi, Iran and the Islamic divide

Over the last year and-a-half, Iran and the P5+1 have steadily reached various milestones in their negotiations on the nuclear issue.

Indira Jaising

Emergency 2.0

It was on June 26, 1975, that the Emergency was declared in the country.

Shiv Visvanathan

Sordid tales of those dark days

The Emergency, a historical scar in the minds of one generation, is treated as a curiosity today.

V.M. Pandit

Case of buried SIT reports, from Emergency to Indira assassination

The declaration of a state of Emergency in India forty years ago is a matter of debate even now.

Saad Bin Jung

A ‘niyat’ for secularism

Yoga being branded and fought over as a Hindu discipline, one that is against the edicts of Islam, on one hand befuddles me and on the other exposes a very fundamental discord in our country — the Hin

Sreeram Chaulia

Queer revolution

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535 BC-475 BC) is remembered for the maxim: “everything changes and nothing stands still.” Lesser mortals who do not internalise this eternal wisdom are caught flatfo

Javed Anand

Yes to yoga, no to yogis

In December 2014, 170 member nations, including 37 Muslim countries, endorsed the UN proposal to observe June 21 every year as World Yoga Day.

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Vinay Kaura

A history of humiliation

Representing India in the special representative-level boundary talks with China, national security adviser Ajit Kumar Doval is performing the most challenging diplomatic trouble-shooting tasks on beh

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Shri Prakash

Emulate the e-rickshaw

Mild, unseasonal rains and thundershowers in an extremely hot summer season this year, have lifted the spirits of Delhiites as it brings down the elevated toxic ozone levels and improves the air quali

K.N. Bhat

Yamuna to lead Namami Gange

Does your government want to complete cleaning of the Ganga during this term, or is the intention to keep the issue alive for the next elections?” These were the sarcastic remarks of Justice T.S.

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Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

Vision vs action

In one of the interviews Prime Minister Narendra Modi granted to mark the first anniversary of his government, he said that his government would not discriminate on religion lines because he believed

Arun Kumar Singh

N-carriers vs N-subs

The US defence secretary Ashton Carter is expected to visit Visakhapatnam on June 3 and then New Delhi on June 4-5 to sign the 10-year Indo-US Enhanced Defence Framework Agreement, and convince India

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Tridivesh Singh Maini

Lessons from Delhi on cooperative federalism

In the past year, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's major priorities has been more robust Centre-state relations, and the need for “cooperative federalism”'.

Shobhaa’s Take

Who’s a ‘Big Shot’?

The central thought behind Bombay Velvet was powerful enough. Such a pity it was tossed aside to make an unappetising khichdi that has been declared the biggest turkey of 2015.

Varun Gandhi

Small can be big

India harbours tenacious entrepreneurs.

Charles Marquand

Tories enter minefield

The dust is beginning to settle on an extraordinary election result in the UK.

Neena Gopal

India unwanted pawn in US AfPak game

Pakistan’s ludicrous charge that India’s spy agency RAW is behind the Karachi attack on the Ismaili community maybe laughed out of court here, given that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed re

V. Balachandran

Overt impact of covert acts

Immediately after Independence we had a police chief in the old Bombay state who was very fond of sports hunting. Police officers soon learnt that the best way to please him was to arrange a hunt.

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Praveen Davar

Remembering Rajiv, the soldier’s PM

Under the headline “Super India” the Time magazine, in its April 9, 1989, issue, ran a cover story about how India was spending enormous amounts on “its weaponry and seemingly preparing itself for war

Vandana Shiva

Save our annadatas

The peasants and farmers of India are the most resilient and independent community I have ever known.

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S. Nihal Singh

Kejriwal’s new avatar

Arvind Kejriwal’s transfor-mation from an anti-corruption advocate and street fighter to a shrewd hard-boiled politician is a remarkable Indian political phenomenon without parallel.

Farrukh Dhondy

Britain-EU relationship status: It’s complicated

“Descartes was wrong: To simply be conscious is not to be; Our constant song Is ‘I must make a mark, acknowledge me!’ The mirrored face Is not sufficient evidence that we Are in the race

Sudhanshu Ranjan

Justice served, with partiality

Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Young India (July 23, 1919), “Justice in British courts is an expensive luxury.

Claude Arpi

LAC not ripe for settlement

Invariably, when an Indian Prime Minister goes to China or a senior Chinese leader visits India, the Indian media goes berserk speculating, “this time” the border dispute between the two Asian giants

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

Disproportional representation

The triumphant “David Cameron phir ek baar” outcome of Britain’s parliamentary election might suggest that India has won a signal victory in a foreign land.

Mohan K. Tikku

Can Sirisena lift Lankan curse?

On Tuesday (April 28), last week, Sri Lanka commenced a process of constitutional change that has gone mostly unnoticed by large sections of the media in this country.

Farrukh Dhondy

Vic-Tory for Britain

If Bachchoo were a Sufi he would say “Arrey mere yaar don’t take it the wrong way When I say ‘The Beloved — my stars, my moon, the sun’

Kishwar Desai

A princess arrives, a queen departs

Within hours the tweets changed from “It’s a girl!” to “Who’s the hairdresser?” as Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, emerged on the steps of St Mary’s Hospital with the newest baby princess in

Shikha Mukerjee

Trinamul’s tryst with success

An unquestionably authentic verdict is fundamental as much for democracy as it is for political parties that win with spectacular success.

Shiv Visvanathan

Culture and regulation

The media as news often triggers a compost heap of interpretations. One wants to read events both as forms of action and as modes of thought.

K.C. Singh

Nepal: Stay the course

The Nepal earthquake on April 25, 2015, caused colossal loss of life and property by a combination of intensity (7.8 magnitude), its shallowness and the nature of the ground beneath the largest Nepale

Inder Malhotra

Affairs & break-ups

To say that China and Saudi Arabia are the closest friends and biggest benefactors of Pakistan would be to stress the obvious.

Bharat Bhushan

Why PM hates some NGOs

The Narendra Modi government has suspended the registration of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, (FCRA) for 180 days, preventing it from receiving any foreign funds

Sidharth Bhatia

What’s wrong with appeasement?

The Hindu Council UK has prepared its own “manifesto”, a list of demands submitted to political parties ahead of next month’s elections in the United Kingdom.

Suchi Govindarajan

Life measured out in boxes

Can I pack the fridge items now madam?”, one of the packers asked and proceeded to wrap our pickle jars, sauce bottles and sundry other items from the fridge.

Austin Williams

To Amaravati

Earlier this month it was announced that Amaravati will be the new capital of what some have disparagingly called, “the rump state of Andhra Pradesh”. This will not be just any old capital city.

Samrat

Farming in India: Decline of a profession foretold

The death of a farmer, Gajendra Singh Rathore, during an Aam Aadmi Party rally in Delhi in front of cameras and crowds has shocked an increasingly insensitive nation. Whether the death was a publicity stunt gone wrong, or suicide, is now being hotly contested. The statements by relatives of Rathore that have been reported from his village in Dausa so far suggest that he had political ambitions, was not poor by Indian standards, and had spoken of returning from the rally at which he died.

Patralekha Chatterjee

Murder by 377

Middle-class urban India woke up to some bitter truths last week when a young woman doctor ended her life in a hotel room in New Delhi’s Paharganj area.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Sher-o-Shayari

When politics, business and media rivalry get mixed up in wildlife conservation, the consequence can be pretty bizarre.

R.C. Acharya

Chugging reforms

The Bibek Debroy Committee, seventh in a series of committees spanning over last two years, and set up to suggest reform and restructuring of Indian Railways, has come up with a long list of recommend

Farrukh Dhondy

Self, selfie & stupidity

“The Sufi told me ‘love is like the air You can’t see it, but it’s everywhere!’ But being a sceptic I couldn’t believe In things unseen — and so I stare and stare…”

Pinaki Roy

Bakshi! Bakshi! Burning bright?

When William Blake published his The Tyger in 1794, he carefully replaced the usual “i” of “Tiger” with a “y” in order to suggest the extraordinariness of the apocalyptic beast.

Swapan Dasgupta

A fur coat & a shawl

Some months ago, a prominent journalist posted a photograph on Facebook of Indira Gandhi visiting a Government of India-run emporium in New York.

Bharat Bhushan

The prodigy or the prodigal?

The Congress Party seems divided over who between Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is most capable of leading the party.

Mohan Guruswamy

The myth of ‘Greater China’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon be in Beijing following up on the Chumar incident blighted visit by Chinese’s President Xi Jinping.

Kancha Ilaiah

No one can convert Ambedkar

The 124th Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations on April 14 (leading to the 125th next year) are trying to tran-sform Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar into an acceptable Buddha of our times by totally opposite politica

Shankar Roychowdhury

Yemen must not occur in India

The Indian Navy has once again kept the country’s flag flying high, in the emergency evacuation of a large number of Indians from Yemen.

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

Minority Report

A leading Jewish figure’s warning to Britain’s Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, to change his position on Israel and Palestine before the May 7 parliamentary election is a reminder that minorityism i

Samik Ghosh

Towards a secular future

As a school principal, I cherish talking to our school alumni whenever I get a chance. Each such interaction often triggers a new line of thought.

Dominic Emmanuel

Three wise men

Speak truth to power, make the truth powerful, and make the powerful truthful,” said Jeremy Cronin, a South African poet and Communist leader.

Audrey D’Mello

Diluting dowry law betrays gender bias

The recent announcement by the ministry of home affairs, that the government is planning to dilute the provisions of Indian Penal Code’s Section 498A due to its alleged misuse has alarmed not just wom

Jayant V. Narlikar

Challenge the ego

Considera-ble thought has gone into the question of how to make teaching interesting to the taught.

Pradeep S. Mehta

Let’s get down to business

Deepak Parekh, the non-executive chairman of the board of HDFC, has rightly lashed out at the government that there has been little improvement in the “ease of doing business” in India by the governme

Anil Dharker

In Mumbai, back to the drawing board

The best thing about Mumbai’s draft development plan (DP) is that there is one.

Javed Anand

What can I say?

To the mourning parents, siblings, children, spouses, lovers, family and friends of those who were gunned down in the horrific massacre in Paris, what can I say?

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Running on fumes

The sharp and sudden collapse of international prices of crude oil brings significant short-term gains for the Indian economy.

Sreeram Chaulia

A promise of change

The defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s presidential election is good riddance for the troubled island.

Anil Dharker

Two cheers for Rahul

What Rahul wants, Rahul gets,” was the headline in one national newspaper. Others were not so direct, but nevertheless played up Rahul Gandhi’s outburst against the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs.

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Kishwar Desai

Attack that came with benefits

If anyone in India thinks heaping abuse upon a politician or their families can wreck careers, they must think again. Sometimes the more an individual is reviled, the more public sympathy s/he arouses.

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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Dilip Cherian

Dilli Ka Babu

Clean-up time

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Aakar Patel

Soft side of the Hindutva hero

Has Narendra Modi softened himself as his campaign continues to progress? This week we had a statement from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate that for him, toilets were the priority over temples.

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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Shankar Roychowdhury

Nuclear realities

The significance of the second test on September 15, 2013, of India’s improved Agni-V intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) from Wheeler Island test range, off the coast of Orissa, has to be per

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Sidharth Bhatia

In politics, it’s a season of friend requests

Along with holding public rallies all over the country to up his profile and take his message of throwing out the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Narendra Modi has also been working to get friends

Anand K. Sahay

Tear up the ordinance & make history

Rahul Gandhi’s intervention last Friday on the side of the Supreme Court and the people, and against the ordinance-in-the-making that seeks to bail out criminal politicians, was the stuff of history.

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.

Pavan K. Varma

Where Parliament fails, judiciary saves

The Supreme Court’s ruling that legislators must cease to be members of the House if they are convicted by a court for an offence where the punishment is more than two years, and its more recent judgm

Antara Dev Sen

Democracy of disgust

The personal is political. And the political is personal too. Only the incurably innocent or doggedly somnambulant would refuse to recognise this.

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Farrukh Dhondy

Slut as in slattern

Slut as in slattern “Isn’t it strange? Isn’t it rich? That Panini The Grammarian of Sanskrit Is now an Italian sandwich?” From Hai Doonya!

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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.

S. Nihal Singh

Will Syria be the West’s next Iraq?

The world is staring at another military intervention by the United States and its allies in Syria to punish the Assad government for allegedly using chemical agents leading to hundreds of deaths of civilians.

Shobhaa De

Silencing the rationalist

Certain “dastardly deeds” (how our netas love these two words!) are just more “dastardly” than others. The cold-blooded, pre-meditated daylight murder of a legend called Narendra Dabholkar was one of them.

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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.

K.N. Bhat

Judge, gadfly and newsmaker

Maverick, eccentric or unique? Which of these adjectives describe Justice Markandey Katju — the current chairman of the Press Council of India — adequately? Considering Justice Katju’s ability to shift from reality to fantasy without any forewarning, all of these epithets may fit on a given occasion, but none as aptly as I-centric.

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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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Patralekha Chatterjee

Children of lesser parents

Once again, we are furiously debating parental abuse. A court in Norway has convicted an Indian couple for allegedly maltreating their seven-year-old son. This is the second time that Indian parents have fallen foul of Norwegian parenting laws. A furious war of words has broken out about good parenting.

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Nineteen-year-old Naina was made to take the place of her mother who had died of tuberculosis in 2004.

Punjab is back in the headlines with a brutality reminiscent of the violent Eighties. In the early hours of July 27, three gunmen dressed in Army uniforms struck at Gurdaspur.