August 2011

THE DIMINISHING OF RAHUL GANDHI

In October 2009, Open magazine ran a cover story with the title ‘Will the Congress rule for the next 20 years?’ The Congress had just won three state elections soon after its Lok Sabha triumph, the Opposition was still in disarray, Manmohan Singh seemed like a man in charge, Sonia Gandhi confident and Rahul Gandhi […..]

THE MOB AND THE CAMERA

A couple of days ago, a prominent TV anchor, not associated with the Anna protest coverage, posted sardonically on his Facebook wall that he wanted to go on a fast against TV. He may have been only half-serious but his page was quickly flooded with ‘likes’ and supportive messages, most of them from cynical TV […..]

THE GAMES OF GLOATING

Back in the 1970s, Willie Whitelow, who later became Margaret Thatcher’s deputy prime minister, famously responded to a crisis in the then Labour government by tut-tutting to reporters: “Mustn’t gloat, wrong to gloat, mustn’t do it, no, no, no. Well, I can tell you, I am gloating like hell.” The parliamentary debate on the Commonwealth […..]

Television: The daily theatre in our lives

For television, the 1990s began with a worried bureaucrat in the ministry of information and broadcasting submitting a file to his minister on how to stop what was then still called the “satellite invasion”. Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s 1945 vision of a satellite in geosynchronous orbit solving the global broadcast distribution problem suddenly […..]

THE FALL OF ROME

In the foyer of the magnificent Musee D’Orsay in Paris hangs a telling painting by the nineteenth century French artist Thomas Couture. Titled ‘The Romans during the decadence’, the canvass depicts a mass orgy in a guilded Roman assembly hall, its citizens sprawled all over in various stages of drunkenness and post-coital repose as the […..]