Shiv Visvanathan

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Shiv Visvanathan

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”.

The immediacy of loss and amnesia after

Narratives of disasters are virtually summoned by the urgency and intensity of the event. They convey the immediacy of the loss, the helplessness and the range of destruction.

The Bihar drama

Politics makes strange bedfellows and stranger enemies. When the elections in Bihar are advertised as a clash of titans — of Nitish Kumar vs Narendra Modi — one wonders where old loyalties went.

Bhagwat’s new Bharat

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech on Vijay Dashmi at Nagpur has not received a serious reading.

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.

Air power is the most capital-intensive means of war. A modern fighter jet now could cost several hundred crores and the prices seem to be rising exponentially.

I returned to India in August 1946 after serving in Burma and Indonesia during the Second World War.