Columnists

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

When facts are few and fiction flies

As frenzy over a young girl’s presumed murder three years ago gripped the media, I wracked my brains to think if I had ever met Sheena Bora while visiting my son when he lived in Bandra, Mumbai.

Paulo Coelho

Importance of meditating without a cat

A great Zen master, in charge of the monastery of Mayu Kagi, owned a cat, who was the real love of his life.

Aakar Patel

Reservations is not the solution

To understand the Patidar, or Patel, stir in Gujarat, let us look at the background.

Dilip Cherian

Dilli darshan first

It’s a big change. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Centre has directed that Indian Administrative Service starters will begin their career in Delhi instead of their allotted state cadres.

Pavan K. Varma

Set the parrot free

On May 10, 2013, Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha of the Supreme Court said that the Central Bureau of Investigation is a “caged parrot”.

Anita Katyal

Of brothers, rakhi sisters & the usurped Patel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clearly caught unawares when the agitation launched by Patels to demand Other Backward Class status for their community took a violent turn last week.

Ranjona Banerji

Crying wolf on gender

As the compelling and crazy Sheena Bora murder case unfolds before us, detail by bizarre detail, the main focus remains on the prime murder accused Indrani Mukerjea.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

How to return from the point of no return

Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader K.N. Govindacharya did not have many visitors when he was staying in New Delhi’s elite V.P. House, home and office to many parliamentarians and parties.

Sudhanshu Ranjan

Right to privacy: It’s in our DNA

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India is to pronounce whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right or not.

Sreeram Chaulia

Soft power outage

A comprehensive new ranking of countries labelled “Soft Power 30” by a London-based political consultancy, Portland Communications, carries a rude awakening for India.

Jayant V. Narlikar

Kepler-452b: A space odyssey

The discovery of a new planet is always an occasion to celebrate. For it may generate a rise in confidence (so far unproven) that we are not alone in the universe.

Shiv Visvanathan

Majority-o-cracy

Ever since the Velvet Revolution and the Arab Spring, democracy has become a global epidemic.

Patralekha Chatterjee

‘First the money, then the body’

Do India’s private hospitals view patients as just revenue generators?

Deepak Pental

The GMO in your mustard is good

Personalities that aspire to be cult figures often resort to hyperbole and lies and Vandana Shiva has done exactly this in her piece, GMO in my mustard, which appeared in this newspaper on August 12,

Anil Dharker

A clockwork justice

Whenever people make comparisons between India and China, everyone says, “China may be more efficient and less corrupt, but India has a good judicial system.” Of course it has.

Dr S.S. Rajagopalan

A retrograde step indeed

I had never been an apologist for the Right to Education Act of 2009 for it was not brought out with any political will to provide all children quality education.

Jayaprakash A. Gandhi

Exams will bring out best in kids

The Central government's decision to have annual examination for every class from 1st to 12th is definitely a positive move, because students need a minimum knowledge and performance which should be e

Manish Tewari

Let the imagined wars begin

With the national security adviser talks between India and Pakistan being called off late on Saturday night, despite tensions on the borders at a zenith, it may be worthwhile simulating a war game bet

Om Puri

No misbehaviour, please

As an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, I feel sad seeing what has been happening at the prestigious institute for months now.

Neena Gopal

Shifting sands

Weeks after the Babri Masjid demolition in Decem-ber 1992 by crazed pracharaks, a handful of Indian — and Pakistani — expatriates stormed the Krishna temple tucked away in the warren of shops in the I

Suparn Verma

A tragic twist in a sad talkie

A little over 70 days ago the government in its infinite wisdom appointed six people to helm the affairs of India’s premier film institute, the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.

Aditya Sinha

The spy who led Pak’s deep state

In 1993, Kashmiri separatist Firdous Syed got to meet Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul, who had formerly headed the Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate and who had retired the previous

K.C. Singh

Good start, but Gulf game still open

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 16-17 United Arab Emirates visit produced pictures of bonhomie, ending with fist-clenched slogans to Mother India in Dubai in a stadium packed with expatriate Ind

Varun Gandhi

Time to open the eastern gates

The formation of a “Naga Club” by 20 young men of the French Labour Corps in 1918 initiated the longest insurgency in modern Indian history.

Pradeep Kaushiva

The arithmetic of honour

The current media discourse on One Rank, One Pension (OROP) is focused only on the financial aspect of the issue which, perhaps, is understandable.

Antara Dev Sen

Clean our money

It will take much more than curious laws to clean up our dirty money.

C. Raj Kumar

Death penalty fails the test of humanity

The recent execution of Yakub Memon after his conviction in the Mumbai blasts case of 1993 has brought the debate regarding death penalty in India into a sharper focus.

Arun Kumar Singh

Punch hard, punch now

On August 4, while delivering the 21st Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture on “State Security, Statecraft and Conflict of Values” in Mumbai, national security adviser Ajit Doval not only raised a pertinent p

Amit A. Pai

Supreme Court and the dice of death

Death penalty is barbaric and inhuman in its effect, mental and physical upon the condemned man and is positively cruel.

Shankar Roychowdhury

The problem with India’s promises

The almost tandem news coverage of the execution of Yakub Memon, one of the key accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, and the 16th Kargil Vijay Diwas at Dras, highlight in their own fashion, the two

Abhijit Bhattacharyya

J&K is not sovereign

What often goes unnoticed is the fact that the genesis of Kashmir (commonly known as Jammu and Kashmir) is linked to 565 princely states, which became independent along with the birth of two sovereign

Shruti Seth

Colour blind

Lately, I have been feeling that I am part of a dwindling minority that has the ability to differentiate between colours since most people in my city, Mumbai, seem rather deficient in this regard.

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.

Sidharth Bhatia

Selective memories

In December 1992, as violence spread in different parts of Bombay, as it was then called, I met a young man who had indulged in a bit of stone throwing and general mayhem.

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.

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.

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,

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

Swapan Dasgupta

Is Parliament victim of echo chamber politics?

Last Monday, I attended a cosy dinner in Delhi hosted by a visitor from Mumbai.

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”.

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

Suchi Govindarajan

Tests of faith

You should’ve seen it coming”, my PT sir said. He was right. What he didn’t know was that I was a pre-teen with all the hand-eye coordination of a drunk panda.

Farrukh Dhondy

Dregs of democracy

“The innocent are struck by lightning — it’s frightening! Tsunamis wreck all before them — it’s mayhem! Earthquakes, floods, acts of God — it’s really odd

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

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.

Mohan Guruswamy

The smart way to smart cities

Most capital cities have a concentration of government offices of various tiers and responsibilities crowded in as close as possible to the real and imagined corridors of power.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Great recession to Great Depression II?

After the great recession that started in 2008, and eight decades after the first Great Depression wreaked havoc across the world in the 1930s, is Great Depression II in the offing?

Indira Jaising

Emergency 2.0

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

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

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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Samrat

Manipur’s moment of resolution

Indian Army’s Special Forces taking out the militants who ambushed an Indian Army convoy in Manipur is a rare show of resolve, and a warning to those who think they are safe in hideouts in Myanmar.

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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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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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Pradeep S. Mehta

Make in ‘digital’ India

In the midst of the debate on allowing foreign direct investment in retail and in e-commerce, it would be worthwhile recalling what Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund chief, early this

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”'.

Kishwar Desai

Open Parliament and chutney

The high point of the fortnight was the State Opening of Parliament by the Queen, who will be 90 soon, making her the longest serving monarch.

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.

Charles Marquand

Tories enter minefield

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

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

Patralekha Chatterjee

Pride and the piper

What is so surprising about an Indian Prime Minister speaking about India, Indianness and Indian pride during a trip abroad? On the face of it, nothing.

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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

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’

Jayant V. Narlikar

The gender games geniuses play

Looking at the history of science and mathematics, it does not take long to appreciate how male-dominated it has been.

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.

Bharat Bhushan

Rahul’s risen, now he needs to shine

Congress scion Rahul Gandhi has announced his party’s leadership transition with a bang. His dramatic intervention to scuttle the ordinance nullifying the Supreme Court order on convicted politicians in public life demonstrates his desire to dictate the future course of his party.

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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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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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As frenzy over a young girl’s presumed murder three years ago gripped the media, I wracked my brains to think if I had ever met Sheena Bora while visiting my son when he lived in Bandra, Mumbai.

A great Zen master, in charge of the monastery of Mayu Kagi, owned a cat, who was the real love of his life.