June 2012

London calling


The foundation was laid at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October 2010. With 101 medals, 38 of which were gold, and second place on the medals table displacing England for the first time in history, Indian Olympic sports made a statement to the world. Critics, however, attributed this to the relatively lower level of […..]

When Olympic Sports Lost Out

Until the early 1980s, cricket was not the most pre-eminent Indian game. It was popular but hockey was the ‘national game’ and soccer was equally popular in large parts of the country. What happened? [Edited exclusive extracts from Nalin Mehta, Boria Majumdar, Olympics: The India Story, HarperCollins, 2012, 3rd edition, first published 2008] Cricket, Television […..]

Sibal is right, almost

Kapil Sibal has always been an opinionated and combative minister. Perhaps this is why the rather simplistic caricature of an overbearing central ministry trying to somehow tinker with and fix the hard-working old IITs turned into the dominant narrative of the controversy around the common engineering entrance exam. Yet, this is far too important a […..]

Colonial India’s Olympic encounter: a photo essay

ABSTRACT India’s Olympic encounter has been a battle ground where an emerging nation’s internal dissensions were given full play: issues of national representation, colonial and postcolonial resistance, sports diffusion and participation at the global stage. This photo essay, with hitherto unseen photographs, seeks to detail some moments from colonial and early post-colonial India’s encounter of […..]

Hybridity and subversion: the Olympic flame in India


Abstract This article presents the results of a field study of the 2008 Olympic Flame Relay in Delhi, India, where Tibetan and pro-Tibetan protests against the Chinese Olympic hosts generated a state security transformation of Olympic ritual and a parallel Tibetan counter-performance. These events are placed in the context of earlier Indian practices of indigenization […..]

Back to the 1990s

Not since V.V. Giri’s election in 1969 has a Presidential election become such a game of smoke and mirrors. Giri’s narrow defeat of the official Congress candidate Neelam Sanjiva Reddy heralded the phase of Indira Gandhi’s dominance over the polity. The thrusts and parries that have preceded the current election may well signify the return […..]

Mr Modi, we presume?

There is something particularly intriguing about the drama surrounding Narendra Modi’s intense tussle with Sanjay Joshi which has culminated in the latter’s resignation from the BJP. The cloak-and-dagger atmospherics of the battle between the charismatic chief minister and the relatively faceless RSS man has been a local sideshow within the BJP for years but its […..]