ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846


Two Mothers - A Thank You & a Sorry

Anshul Mantri was a 19 year old budding student who had just started studying chartered accountancy. His parents looked forward to a bright future for their young boy. On the 29th of December he fell from a local train in Mumbai & suffered severe injuries to his brain. On the 31st of December 2013 when the world was in its usual festive mood to welcome the New Year, Anshul was declared brain dead at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital. His parents were approached with a request to donate his organs. Even in that moment of intense loss & grief they agreed.

Our Modi


More than Tradition - Jazz in Cape Town

This weekend  the Cape Town International Jazz festival takes place. It has given me pause to think once more about the place of this genre in this country’s cultural-political life. That’s because jazz here is not just jazz. It’s a whole lot more. For one, it is a dance style that continues to be the predominant feature of successive generations of Cape Flats families.  Almost similar to what is called salsa in the Latino communities,  jazzing on the Cape Flats is now somewhat of a tradition.

Communalism - on its Way Out of Indian Politics?

The last months have seen some excellent analyses of the BJP’s poll prospects; the reasons for Narendra Modi’s rise to power in the last decade within his party; and what seem to be their critical stakes in the coming elections.

Judge Not...

Earlier this week I was startled to come across the following report in Open Magazine (

State of Indian Digital Libraries

How does one pick up a habit of reading books? Or rather, the habit of reading good books. I guess you need to read a lot of books. And that requires easy access to books. I grew up in a small Indian town. That is a nice way of saying, "I grew up in Jammu. The city of stones, monkeys and temples". My interest in books developed because my grandfather would borrow a maximum of three books every odd month from the local public library and I would get to read them for free but often after a mock fight with him over the right to read them first.

Freedom of expression: K. A. Abbas and his Sardarji

There is a chapter Perils of Progressive Literature in Khwaja Ahmad Abbas’s autobiography (I am not an Island: An Experiment in Autobiography, Imprint 2010), which offers us a detailed account of the controversy around his short story Sardarji (1948). Written in a polemical yet informative tone, this description could also be used to understand the sequence of events that makes this controversy politically as well as intellectually relevant even today.    

Berlin: A Photo Essay

This is a purely impressionistic set of images of Berlin – chronicling my own relationship to a city that I had never visited before last month, but felt I knew intimately – through books, films and its own complex, and rapidly transforming, public history. It is also, in my own way, a tribute to one of its greatest sons – Walter Benjamin – whose own chronicling of his childhood in this city is whimsical, yet evocative. 

The Memory of Rocks

It was under a gentle rain that morning we arrived in Arniston, or Waenhuiskrans, a coastal town about two hours outside Cape Town. I was there accompanying a lawyer friend who was on his way to block an unauthorised extension of a hotel because it contravened heritage laws in this historic and quaint fishing village.

Ergonomics of 'Photography is Prohibited'

National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi was celebrating Amrita Sher-Gil's birth centenary by exhibiting her major works. I heard about it on Twitter.

I first read about Amrita Sher-Gil in a school text book. Although primary education in India barely touches arts, somehow Amrita Sher-Gil is mentioned in context of formation of modern India. The half-Sikh girl from Budapest who painted rural Indian women is celebrated. I had seen her paintings browsing the net, most famous of them easily available even though her wiki page only offers two paintings.


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