May 2012

Why Sangma is no Obama

Ambition is no mean thing. It is the elixir that drives all politics and most creative impulses but there is a difference in wearing your ambition on your sleeve and spouting it like a megaphone. What does one make of P.A. Sangma’s rediscovery of himself as a tribal and the pointed comparison with Barack Obama? […..]

Politics of the Indian Presidency

Debating the role of the President in the Constituent Assembly on 21 July 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru articulated some of the dominant political expectations of the time, arguing that even though ‘we did not give him any real powers’ in the proposed Constitution, ‘we have made his position one of great authority and dignity’.2 As the […..]

Understanding Chinese whispers

Ten months ago, the Indian and Chinese navies were muscling up to each other in the South China Sea. But last week a Chinese training ship docked at Kochi as part of a round-the-world voyage. It had an Indian cadet on board. Later this month, four Indian ships will call at Shanghai. India and China […..]

China-India Media Mediation, Singapore, and India-China Dialogue

The India-China relationship is one of the most significant bilateral relationships of the 21st century. While the economic and strategic aspects of this equation have long been debated, the role of the media on both sides is much less understood. Together, the two countries constitute the world’s largest media market and the day-to-day concerns of […..]

Once there was a cartoon

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill in 2009, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal forcefully argued that education was the key to India’s future, that “it is intellectual assets that form the wealth of the country”, and that “any impediment” in the […..]

The do-good show

Has public service broadcasting returned to Indian television? When Ashok Kumar began appearing with his public service messages at the end of every Hum Log episode in 1984, he was adapting the model of Mexican telenovellas that couched family-planning messages within entertainment. No one paid much attention to the preachy messages but the elder statesman […..]

Politics and the presidency

Debating the role of the President in the Constituent Assembly on 21 July 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru summed up the consensus view, saying, “We did not give him any real powers but we have made his position one of great authority and dignity.” He is first and foremost, a “symbol” of the country, one who, despite […..]