Shiv Visvanathan

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Shiv Visvanathan

Whither democracy?

There is a celebratory air about the recent elections in West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu that is intriguing. The celebration is at two levels.

The strange case of Kanak Dixit

Nepalese journalist-activist Kanak Mani Dixit, who was arrested on April 22 and released on May 2 on the orders of that country’s Supreme Court, is now free, and it is in the nature of the media to th

The death of the university

The university is one of the strangest, grandest institutions. It is a theatre of knowledge, a site for debates, a custodian of democracy and the epitome of pluralism.

Life and the theatre of violence

For the last few years, one has been a witness to extraordinary acts of violence and equally problematic responses to it. Violence seems to be mutating in unexpected ways.

The Guru & the Ego

Spirituality as an act of faith, as a social organisation probably has more followers in India than any secular movement.

A cameo to remember

Smriti Irani, the human resources development minister, had been losing ground in the last few months. Universities were up in arms and syllabi had become a source of angst.

The notion of nation

Controversies in India leave one jaded and jarred because they produce neither debate nor resolution. The protagonists live contentedly in the silos of their mind, happy to insult each other.

Does GM food pass scientific muster?

The debate on genetically modified (GM) mustard has acquired an epic and urgent quality. It is a story that needs a wider elaboration.

Rusticating dreams

Dear Rohith Vemula,

2015: Wapsi of protests

In his classic novel, The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens had a wonderful, quotable beginning: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

If you wanted to sum up the contradictions of two years of the Modi government, you could do so by taking one name, Subramanian Swamy.

Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, when one man’s protest changed Christianity in Europe.