Columnists

Vivek Menon

The tiger’s leap

I am happy that we have more tigers today than yesterday. But I am not happy that, as a nation, we are bent on counting tigers and alternately moaning or gloating over it.

K.N. Bhat

Delhi debate... But on what?

The fuss that the TV channels have been making about a debate between the Delhi’s potential chief ministerial candidates like the US presidential candidates do has been baffling because the focus has

S. Nihal Singh

Bade-bade desh

Beyond the two key agreements on nuclear cooperation and a new 10-year defence arrangement reached in Delhi during US President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit is a set of premises.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Lessons from Greece

The expected electoral victory in Greece of Syrizia, an acronym meaning “radical coalition of the Left”, had made waves across financial markets.

Matthew Kavanagh

The patent puzzle

US President Barack Obama, during his visit to India this week, intends to highlight the strategically essential US-India relationship and shore up support for a wide variety of shared policy interest

Kishwar Desai

Mantel, the magician

These are two prize-winning books, which became critically acclaimed plays and now, if the reviews are to be believed, they are going to create television history as a prime-time series.

Shiv Visvanathan

Growing intolerance

There are several ways of looking at the debates around freedom of speech.

Shobhaa’s Take

It’s nautanki time in Delhi

This is truly epic. Though, perhaps, hysterical is a more apt description.

Seema Sirohi

Obama visit: Symbols and substance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to US President Barack Obama to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade is a confident, bold stroke.

K.C. Singh

Let there be debate

Narendra Modi’s electoral juggernaut finally hit marshy ground in the nation’s capital.

Charu Nivedita

The death of taste

The controversy that has erupted in the wake of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan declaring himself dead, disowning all entire writing, and requesting readers to set fire to all his novels, not just Matho

Nitin A. Gokhale

India’s new Lanka agenda

The smallest of diplomatic gestures are sought to be analysed from the prism of China-India rivalry on the island nation of Sri Lanka.

Sanjeev Ahluwalia

BJP dials 100, Bedi to the rescue

The DNA of Kiran Bedi and the Bharatiya Janata Party seem twinned at birth.

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

True colours

Appearances are deceptive. A white American President will be received next Sunday by a white Asian President.

Sidharth Bhatia

India: The binary nation

Amartya Sen may well think that Indians as a people are argumentative, but the kind of arguments going on around us in these times are not the ones he has in mind.

Arun Kumar Singh

Ocean of opportunity

While covering the recent tragic terror attacks in Peshawar, Sydney, Paris, the ISIS war in Iraq as well as the Pakistani terror boat incident 185 miles off Porbandar on January 1, the Indian media ha

Shankar Roychowdhury

A homage to the Indian Army

The Indian Army observes January 15 as Army Day every year to commemorate that day in 1949 when Lt. Gen. (later Field Marshal) K.M.

S. Nihal Singh

Time for a rethink?

What happened at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was condemnable without reserve and the world’s media, including in India, have risen in solidarity.

Sudhanshu Ranjan

Legislating through ordinances

The Opposition is targeting the government for issuing ordinances immediately after the Winter Session.

Talmiz Ahmad

Global jihad will find little appeal in India

The Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has not just changed the jihadi landscape in West Asia, but its tentacles have also reached India.

Samrat Choudhury

New ‘hate speech’ law is a bad idea

Good intentions may sometimes lead to bad outcomes.

Pradeep S. Mehta

A bitter pill for docs, pharma companies

Many doctors often prescribe a particular brand of medicine for personal gains.

Vandana Shiva

Corporate fiction

As the New Year begins, I feel compelled to reflect on how fictions and abstract constructions are ruling us; the nature of being and existence is being redefined in such fundamental ways that life it

Shankar Roychowdhury

Peshawar attack is a warning to India

It’s like that old story. You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to only bite your neighbours.

R.C. Acharya

Put Railways back on track

With Vinod Rai, the former Comptroller and Auditor-General, heading a committee to suggest ways for infusing more transparency in the railways — the sixth committee in the last two years, the railways

Suchi Govindarajan

Happy homecomings

The epiphany came to me on a chilly morning many years ago in Melbourne, Australia.

Sumit Ganguly

Affirming the two-nation theory

Most Indians with the slightest knowledge of India’s nationalist struggle have at least a passing familiarity with Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s “two-nation theory” Pared to the bone, Jinnah’s contention was

Rajiv Bhatia

India’s external outlook in 2015

Beginning of a New Year is an apt time to appraise the nation’s performance in the management of its foreign policy and diplomacy as also to reflect on what may be in store in the coming months.

K.N. Bhat

Defend right to offend

Tolerance requires no more than the ability to ignore what is not to one’s liking. But people expect others to be “reasonable” — in other words, be like me.

Austin Williams

People alone can’t keep India clean

When Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won the election in May, many commentators were worried that a new brand of authoritarian nationalism would soon rear its ugly head.

Christel Devadawson

2014: Contours of pictorial satire

2014 was the year in which pictorial satire in India deliberately sought and found new worlds to conquer.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

The tensions beneath the growth story

Two unconnected developments marked 2014 as a unique year in the contemporary history of India’s political economy.

Syed Ata Hasnain

Resolving the Kashmir conflict

Rarely have analysts applied the theory of conflict management in the 25-year long ex-ternally spon-sored internal conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.

Arun Jaitley

Atalji: The gentle giant

I first heard Atalji’s speech in 1967, when I was in school. There was a political rally near my house in Delhi for the 1967 general election. He came to address that rally.

Swapan Dasgupta

What’s the real Opposition?

The term “shifting the goalpost” has come to be overused in polemical exchanges.

Pradeep S. Mehta

Power to all, and how

Earlier this month, energy minister Piyush Goyal announced that the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003, will allow consumers to exercise their choice to select the electricity supplier.

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.

Anita Katyal

Nuclear babas, sartorial dadas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised a lot of eyebrows when he arrived at the banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Rashtrapati Bhavan last week

Pavan K. Varma

Modi’s maun vrat

For most of last week the Rajya Sabha has not been able to function. Disruption of Parliament is not an edifying scene, especially when the whole nation can watch it unfold on live television.

Aakar Patel

What do the Taliban really want?

What do the Taliban really want and why is it not easy for Pakistan to fight them?

Dilip Cherian

PMO moves

PMO moves

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.

Jayant V. Narlikar

Of God and cheeky geeks

Science is serious business! To the outsider, scientists are a body of people who are dedicated to their research and know how to go about it.

S.K. Sinha

Caught in the act

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

Ranjona Banerji

Paraya Dhan

December in Delhi and we are dealing with the horror of one more woman raped in the National Capital Region.

Anil Dharker

Modi should step in

It’s good to be an optimist at the best of times.

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.

Jagdish N. Singh

New Delhi must back China’s entry in SAARC

Why is New Delhi opposed to Islamabad’s idea of upgrading Beijing as a full member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc).

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.

Farrukh Dhondy

Torture report

“Suspicion was a fairy With a cyber-sifting wand Suspicion had a licence to kill Suspicion was James Bond Suspicion knew no logic Sister of Jealousy Suspicion wove its tangled web

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

S. Nihal Singh

India, Russia must reinvent ties

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin comes to New Delhi on an official visit at a tantalising time for two reasons.

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.

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.

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.

Kishwar Desai

‘Negging’ to woo? No, thank you...

There are quite a few strange categories of employment.

V. Balachandran

Who caused fall of Wall?

On December 18, 1992, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “celebrated” the demolition of the Berlin Wall by installing a piece of that structure as a monument in their Langley office compound.

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.

Shiv Visvanathan

Congress: Wake up, own up, take charge

A party in doldrums is always an invitation for analysis. The eerie aspect of the Congress’ decline is the reaction to it.

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.

Antara Dev Sen

Swachchh Bharat & dirty politics

Today I was reminded of this joke from my childhood, about a Fuller Brush salesman trying to sell a new vacuum cleaner.

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.

Javed Anand

The Malegaon mystery

If you are concerned about how a brazenly communal party like the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (MIM), whose sphere of influence remained limited for decades to a single city, Hyderabad in A

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

In Delhi, it’s AAP vs Modi

Exactly a year ago, to the date, state elections were notified in Delhi pitting contrasting electoral machineries of the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party against each other

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.

Patralekha Chatterjee

Let’s talk about racism

When do altercations become hate crimes? When is a hate crime a racist attack? These are no longer hypothetical queries.

Inder Malhotra

Dynasty in the dumps

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

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.

Sidharth Bhatia

Are you flying the patriotism flag?

Preity Zinta, the one time cute-as-a-button star of many romcoms, was in the news some time ago for getting a young moviegoer thrown out of a multiplex for not standing up for the national anthem at t

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.

Suman Sahai

Himalayan blunders at people’s peril

I left Srinagar a week before the floods.

Jayanthi Natarajan

Six yards of prejudice

Amid the high-pitched discussion of multitudinous issues dominating the national mindspace, extremely significant quotes caught my eye. On the pictures of male scientists celebrating the success of Mangalyaan, their contribution to science and country was appreciated; on the pictures of women scientists who too worked on Mangalyaan, the fact that they were wearing saris was appreciated. “These womens in saris are the real MODERN women of India; Here comes the Scientists in Sari! #RESPECT #Mangalyaan”.

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.

Shobhaa De

India’s jhadoo pledge

Trust me, I am feeling really guilty, sheepish vaghera today. I haven’t picked up a jhadoo this morning, and got to work. Not even in my own home, forget the filthy streets of Mumbai. No wonder, I didn’t make it to Narendra Modi’s elite Dirt Squad of eminent citizens who have taken the Jhadoo Pledge.

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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.

Mohan Guruswamy

To the Club born

In 2007, the then railways minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, at the crest of his power and popularity, a man feted from Harvard to IIM Ahmedabad for supposedly turning around the Indian railways, was turned down for the membership of New Delhi’s prestigious India International Centre (IIC).

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.

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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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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I am happy that we have more tigers today than yesterday. But I am not happy that, as a nation, we are bent on counting tigers and alternately moaning or gloating over it.

The fuss that the TV channels have been making about a debate between the Delhi’s potential chief ministerial candidates like the US presidential candidates do has been baffling because the focus has