Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

Sunanda Datta.jpg

Can Modi make desi better than pardesi?

As commentators trip over each other to applaud Narendra Modi’s first address to the nation as Prime Minister, I must confess to the slight feeling of scepticism that laced my own admiration as I sat glued to the box on August 15.

The diplomat PM

It was a nice touch for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include the young Nepalese he has befriended in his team to Kathmandu.

Tracks of diplomacy

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.

To China, via Tibet

A group of red-robed monks waited in a curve of the road that wound up from Teesta towards Gangtok. A Kalimpong lama had died, my Nepalese Hindu driver said indifferently.

To China, via Tibet

A group of red-robed monks waited in a curve of the road that wound up from Teesta towards Gangtok. A Kalimpong lama had died, my Nepalese Hindu driver said indifferently. “They are waiting for him.” It wasn’t until a day later that I learnt the deceased monk was Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, the 14th Red Hat Lama, a powerful prelate whose passing, on June 11, can have repercussions on Himalayan religious politics.

Colourblind kingdom

A Muslim and a Sikh in a tight hug would be a stagy illustration of communal harmony in India. But the picture I mean was published in London’s Evening Standard newspaper last Friday. The intention was not to highlight inter-religious cordiality but the Labour Party’s success in Britain’s current municipal elections.

Of past glories

Greece brings to mind the late Nani A. Palkhivala’s fear that a nation that had peaked once would never be great again. He was speaking of India but my expensive hotel clinging to the mountainside above the Aegean Sea in the Greek island of Santorini reminded me of the remark.

Waiting for history to be rewritten

If there is a change of government in New Delhi, we will probably see many historical events presented in new garb. History is bunk, according to Henry Ford. It would be more accurate to say history is how the victor sees events and wants posterity to see them.

Why terrorism has an Islamic stamp

A Muslim is not a terrorist. A terrorist is not a Muslim”.

A political party which seeks a text book start often remains superficial, pretending that the preamble or the introduction remains the real thing. For a party that created a great propaganda machine to devastate the Congress during the election, the Bharatiya Janata Party regime has little to say.

The Narendra Modi government approaching the 100-day mark demands an assessment of its performance. A national television channel even arranged, more a boxing match than a debate, a programme on whether Mr Modi’s foreign policy is continuity or radical change.