Swapan Dasgupta


Swapan Dasgupta is a senior journalist

A mighty fall from a moral high ground

No election, and certainly not an Indian election, is ever won on the strength of diplomatic despatches. Like most other pundits in the forecasting business, diplomats often get it right and occasionally wrong.

Past forward

In the eight terms I spent in Oxford in the early 1980s, I developed a slight distaste for Neville Maxwell, then a fellow at the Queen Elizabeth House. Differences over perceptions of Indian politics owed very little to the incompatibility. I saw Maxwell as a man whose understanding of contemporary India was caught in a time warp.

Take offence

There are many Indians who take every word written or said about the country in media overseas a shade too seriously. The same lot that peers at the global media through a microscope is equally inclined to treat every positive remark as a testimonial and every unfavourable review as a conspiracy of hate.

A nuts & bolts race

Opinion polls in India, quite understandably, have a very mixed record. Part of the unevenness stems from the cost factor: it is hideously expensive to conduct an opinion poll with a truly randomised and yet socially representative sample.

A nuts & bolts race

Opinion polls in India, quite understandably, have a very mixed record.

The Loser’s Front

The term “Third Front” has been so discredited and arouses so much fear among those who have a stake in the future of India that even its most avowed protagonists are loath to use it in a public forum.

The papier-mache mahatma

On December 23, 1987, incensed by the Faizabad district order to open the locks of the disputed shrine in Ayodhya, Syed Shahabuddin and the newly-formed All-India Babri Masjid Conference gave a call t

The man who quit before his last day

In normal circumstances the announcement of a sitting Prime Minister, especially someone who has served two full terms, to not seek re-election should have occasioned both a stir and feverish speculat

The Christmas Clubs of Kolkata

For a very long time — indeed, till I was well into my 20s — I was fanatical in my insistence that Burra Din, the way we natives used to refer to the festival the burra sahibs called Christmas, was best spent in the city we knew as Calcutta.

A week is a long time in politics

Success and failure often depend as much as what one side does right — both tactically and striking the right notes — as what the other side does wrong. In the three weeks since he was anointed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, a move that set the terms for the 2014 general election, Narendra Modi may, arguably, have faltered twice, and both times at his mega-rally in Delhi on September 29.

Of late, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been thoughtlessly and in a hurry jumping into every available situation, without verifying basic facts, to criticise the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Madhu Kishwar, as the editor of Manushi, set the feminism agenda for many Indian women decades ago. Madhu Kishwar as chief media admirer of prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi is another story completely. The first Kishwar has been declared missing, never to be found.