August 2014

The BJP’s new shah: Amit Shah’s ascent and appointment as party president signifies a new wave of social engineering

The last time a newly appointed BJP president alluded to his humble origins before the party’s national council was on August 3, 2002. An emotional Venkaiah Naidu broke down at the Talkatora Stadium while talking about being born to ‘‘a farmer’s family in a remote village far down in the south’’ and declared that ‘‘this […..]

Phoolan Devi: The righteous daku

India has always been fascinated by the figure of the righteous daku, and never more so than with Phoolan Devi. From Sunil Dutt’s brooding Birju in Mother India who is driven to becoming an outlaw by a rapacious village moneylender to the countless Dharmendra films of the 1980s, popular culture has always been saturated by […..]

Who cares if Sachin Tendulkar doesn’t talk

The last time a government was really worried about the attendance of a nominated Rajya Sabha MP was when Pramod Mahajan as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs pulled out all stops to get Lata Mangeshkar to fly down from Mumbai and cast her vote during the special combined sitting of Parliament convened by the Vajpayee government […..]

Glasgow shows Delhi’s false dawn

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How does one benchmark a nation’s performance in an event that was never really meant to be super-competitive anyway? Most athletes in Glasgow who gave it their all to stand on the medals podium would disagree with any value judgments about the seriousness of the Commonwealth Games and they would be right. But they would […..]