Shiv Visvanathan

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Shiv Visvanathan

Science and responsibility

One of the most fascinating things about science is that it can no longer be seen as the thing under a lens. Science has become kaleidoscopic meaning many different things to many people.

Why we need AAP

One of the most difficult things to write about after the current elections is the fate of the Aam Aadmi Party. The AAP was many things to many people and yet to all of them it represented a sense of hope, the optimism of a new politics.

The politics of the inauguration

Inaugural rituals like swearing-in ceremonies have a power of their own. They create spaces, hierarchies, transitions, new pecking orders. They erase history to create history. One witnessed all this in the oath taking ceremony of Narendra Modi and his Cabinet.

In exile, programme a sleek Congress 2.0

I often think of political parties as a different species, as forms of life which add to the diversity of the cultural landscape. In fact, I feel diversity in politics is as important as diversity in language or nature. To watch the decline of a party can be a tragic experience.

Epidemic of hysteria

Elections provide moments of ambush that become moments of surprise. At one moment, a person stands with all his categories intact and in a split second something changes. Such an event happened on Wednesday in Hyderabad.
A crowd of about 900 odd people was waiting patiently.

Fable for democracy

One of the eeriest ironic stories I have read recently is by the Portuguese novelist, Jose Saramango. The novel, titled Seeing is a story of an unnamed country which decides to hold an election.

New India will vote for a new idea

The 2014 election is a landmark of its kind. It is different in many ways and we have to savour every little difference to grasp the new texture of the historical. The future seems to have arrived and, as a novelist explained, this future is a different country where people do things differently.

Gandhi, between hate & cliché

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

The joys of being ‘third class’

Modern theories of efficiency and equality are such that one loses a celebration of the marginal. Ever since socialism, we have removed the category called “third class” from our trains and our lives. As an upwardly mobile nation, we want to travel first class and as a truly global country we want our institutions to be world class. Our presidents and vice-chancellors were upset when they realised that our IITs and IIMs are not world class.

The Babri memory

Babri Masjid is today a photo-montage of images, with each image capturing one angle of a strange and kaleidoscopic event. Babri is also a failure of storytelling because each separate story demands a different sense of ending, and a different idea of consequences.

Much as I am tempted to see the fuss over Ved Pratap Vaidik’s posturing as a warning against busybodies and meddlers, wholesale condemnation of what is known as Track Two diplomacy might be unfair.

There is considerable speculation about when the Planning Commission will be reconstituted and who will occupy the largest room in Yojana Bhavan.