Nehru

Soft power, hard battles: Inventing the Asian Games is a forgotten facet of the Nehruvian idea of India

As Indian athletes get ready to compete in Incheon today few remember how the modern Asian Games themselves were virtually invented by India, how central these Games were for the hopes, aspirations and ideals of Nehruvian India and the role they played in soft power diplomacy in the early years after independence. “You have certainly […..]

The story of how an Asiad remade a city

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India may not be a major sporting power, but as Indian athletes get ready for the Incheon Asian Games, few remember the central role the Asian Games have played in the remaking of Delhi. The Asian Games themselves were virtually invented by India as part of Nehru’s attempt to forge a new Asian solidarity and […..]

The Games Politicians Play

The world turns on its axis, night comes after day, the Olympic Games are held every four years. The Olympics are so ubiquitous, so much a predictable, fixed feature of the rhythms of the world that it is easy to forget that they essentially began as a private initiative by a French aristocrat. In the […..]

Once there was a GANEFO

The world turns on its axis, night comes after day, the Olympic Games are held every four years. The Olympics are so ubiquitous, so much a predictable, fixed feature of the rhythms of the world that it is easy to forget that they essentially began as a private initiative by a French aristocrat. Amid the […..]

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 […..]

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 […..]

A BRIDE AND TWO HUSBANDS

As the all-party delegation heads to Srinagar today to try and find a meeting ground for dialogue, they will be mindful of an old aphorism of the Chief Minister’s grandfather Sheikh Abdullah, who in his speeches in the mid-1960s often described Kashmir as a bride cherished by two husbands, India and Pakistan. Then, as now, […..]