2011

MUM’S THE WORD FOR CONGRESS

Among the litany of mistakes that have littered the Congress’ path around the crisis it finds itself in now, two structural ones stand out for special mention. The first was an inexplicable strategic call early on that it could somehow pretend that the party was in some way separate from the government, that the sins […..]

WHY BJP SHOULD BE WARY OF R-WORD

Whatever Baba Ramdev’s faults, his unrelenting desire for publicity has turned out to be a lightening rod that has exposed in sharper relief some of the fault-lines in our polity: between an unresponsive, arrogant government, out of touch with a changing India, and a shape-shifting, rudderless-looking Opposition looking for the next big idea. The BJP […..]

CALLING RAMDEV’S BLUFF

When the French writer Andre Malraux asked Jawaharlal Nehru in 1958 about his greatest difficulty since Independence, Nehru is said to have replied, “Creating a just state by just means”. He then added: “Perhaps, too, creating a secular state in a religious country.” The supposed religiosity of voters is one reason why governments are almost […..]

CONSPIRACY-STAN AND SEA OF STORIES

By now it is clear who attacked Mumbai on 26/11. Contrary to general opinion, it was a wily plot by India itself to malign the good name of Pakistan. 9/11: it was a Jewish conspiracy, didn’t you know? Use the Roman principle of cui bono who benefits and the truth is self-evident. Didn’t the Americans […..]

THE IN-BETWEEN MOVEMENT

By now it is fair to characterise the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption campaign as the ‘in-between’ movement. In-between because of its curious timing between the World Cup and the IPL, because the particular version of the Lokpal Bill it is rooting for has led to discord even among its most ardent supporters, because the wide coalition […..]

OF ISLANDS AND POLICEMEN

In December 2009, soon after completing his first year as Home Minister, P Chidambaram gave an important speech to Intelligence Bureau officials where he proposed radical changes to India’s internal security structures and identified the key weaknesses as he saw them. As he put it, the first big problem was that “the police stations in […..]

THE LEFT IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE LEFT

Just before the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Prakash Karat, still strutting with the swagger of the Left’s largest ever contingent in Parliament, declared before an election rally in Agartala that it was a “thousand per cent confirmed” that the Third Front would form the next government in Delhi. The Left was promptly reduced to a […..]