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

Of Life, Letters and Politics

Of Life, Letters and Politics
Indian liberals cannot be selectively loud in one case of fundamentalism and whisper in another as is shown by their response to the ban on Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and that on Rohinton Mistry...
Indians are great champions of banning anything and everything. Why is it that we prefer prohibition and vandalism to a frontal and intellectual attack on the book or work of art in question? There...
India's politicians have figured out that coalition politics can not only be played out but also played with and lately, that is what all of them are doing.
The annual Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in Pune has a long history going back to the early 2oth century. The events surrounding the 83rd sammelan, held last month, when Maharashtra chief...
There was a time when India was a champion of independent foreign policy. That was the meaning of various formulations that were current in Nehru's days. Indira Gandhi knew how to handle the US and...
While Indian elites hanker after recognition from the American dominated world, we have debased our own awards. They are now often given for services rendered to the powers that be. What does this...
It is usually the State - at times the media - that indulges in censorship. In the world of Marathi theatre and films, however, censorship is currently invisible and non-official, and carried out...
The Indian people have been miles ahead of the Bollywood boys or media savvy purandhrees in fulfilling their democratic duties as far as voting is concerned. Who are these glamour boys and girls to...
The Taliban has destroyed the Dargah of Rehman Baba on the grounds that women visit it and offer their prayers there. Closer home an ignoramus called Mutalik dictates to all Hindus what Hinduism...
In the reams and reams expended on criticising Pramod Muthalik, the Sree Ram Sene and their ilk for their attacks on women, we do not see that the Muthalik kind of defence of Indian "culture" is the...
In the realm of foreign policy, the Indian elite have surrendered the initiative to Washington. For them, it must be a peaceful south Asia under the American aegis. Everybody from the Congress to the...
Only in India would you expect to see the central government decide which language is "classical" and which one is not. Sanskrit, Tamil, and now Kannada and Telugu have been decreed by the State as...
It is all one big confusion of lines. The opposition in Singur borrowed its lines from familiar left rhetoric, bombast that should have belonged to the other player in the drama over Tatas' small car...
The Marathi Sahitya Sammelans have been the victim of the crass vulgarity that characterises our literary culture.
M F Husain comes from Pandharpur, known in history as the capital of protest. Husain's paintings must be judged by the criterion of aestheticism and not on the grounds of "blasphemy". There is no...
A code of conduct issued by the government of Maharashtra for the teachers in secondary, senior secondary schools and junior colleges is another example of the mindless distrust of people that...
The recent Pakistani elections bring to mind the play called Teesri Dastak (Third Knock) that showed how after every so-called return to democracy in Pakistan, the military knocks on the door. Will...
In his election campaign, Narendra Modi provided a celebration of the anti-political in the highly urbanised state of Gujarat. The Congress, even in its use of the vernacular, showed how inept a...
The Indo-US nuclear deal seems to be dead. The Congress has now realised that it did not read the left very well. The party may try to revive the deal after the next elections if it retains office,...
The controversy over the existence of Ramsetu was generated by the government's attempt to settle a matter it was not called upon to settle.
Radicals used to argue that there is politics even in sexuality. In our postmodern times, the self-styled opinion-makers seem to think that there is sexuality even in politics.
The bizarre arguments taking place over the presidential election have all the trappings of a morality play. Amidst the din and the noise, political discourse in India is distinctive in its...
Our politicians and in some cases their families have always had a fascination with the arts.
The royal family syndrome that characterises the Congress Party makes it incapable of dealing with the problems and challenges of contemporary India.
Whether it is cricket or the presidential election, Australian experts and diplomats have been indulging in some undiplomatic language. But such indiscretion received little notice in the media. This...
Three Indian playwrights found themselves travelling to the 'Nizam-e-Mustafa' in January. The 10 days they spent in Pakistan convinced them that the divides between the two countries are minor,...
With his candidates winning both the recent by-elections in Maharashtra, Narayan Rane's ambitions of becoming chief minister have been further strengthened. Yet, he can do little to erase his Shiv...
It is time the dalit leadership stopped allying with one party or the other and thought through the issues confronting the dalits. There are many interested groups who want the dalits to react in a...
Kanshi Ram's ideology seeking power for the "bahujan" can too easily be seen as opportunism. But his was a strategy defined on winning political power for the bahujans, which implied reaching an "all...
Festivals celebrating ethnicity no longer attach themselves to a "native" destination. That non-resident Kannadigas are now organising their own jamboree in faraway Seattle, where Basaveshvara's '...
The banning of the film Da Vinci Code is irrationalism of an extreme kind, which panders to fundamentalism in one community and puts liberals in the other on the defensive.
The communists may have come back to power in West Bengal but some still think they have failed to change with the times. The feeling is that Buddhadeb has his economics right but has to carry a...
The "slip-ups" witnessed during Chinese president Hu Jintaoâ??s recent visit to the US constituted more than mere diplomatic faux pas; they were unintentionally or otherwise, an admission of US...
M S Golwalkar, whose birth centenary the RSS observes this year, was the RSS chief who gave shape and imparted a definitive ideology to the organisation. Golwalkar's position on "Hindu consolidation...
The attack on a newspaper whose only "crime" was to respond with silence during the occasion of "Shivaji jayanti" portends the rise of a new kind of cultural chauvinism.
In the short history of Indian democracy, "familocracy" has long established precedents. But familocracy, as revealed by the Karnataka crisis, sparked off by moves made by Kumaraswamy, Deve Gowda's...
A play in a local language is pulled off stage as it ostensibly offends religious sentiments. This incident finds no mention in the national press or in the English language dailies. On the other...
By dispensing with the celebrations associated with November 7, Russian president Vladimir Putin is seeking to define a new history for his country. But his action involves the sweeping erasure of a...
Over the years, a culture of forgetfulness has come to dominate the general understanding of politics in our country, where the immediate past is forgotten to accommodate short-term compromises...
Telling the truth, with a capital 'T' is in fashion - be it between the coach and captain of the Indian cricket team, or by the defence minister about relations with China or prime minister Manmohan...
It is no surprise that once again there is no consensus on the question of women's reservation in Parliament. Political parties seem divided on the mode and the nature of reservation. But that such...
There is probably no better word than 'prashasti', usually a long poem intended as a work of praise and veneration for a king or patron, to refer to the prime minister's exercise in rewriting of...
Ayodhya and London tell us that there are two kinds of terrorism. For want of any scientific descriptive terminology, we have to call them 'their' terrorism and 'our' terrorism. Here the 'we' is as...
Advani?s remarks on Jinnah were not praise for a ?secularist? leader of Pakistan but part of a new Savarkarite discourse on India.
Political inheritance in India has its own peculiar logic that appears to go against democracy's accepted tenets of functioning.
The decision in Maharashtra to ban dance bars is an instance of the state government donning the garb of the moral police. But the centre?s action in recommending the dissolution of the Bihar...
Narendra Modi has survived the furore over the US denial of a visa and the party rebellion has been quelled. Modi has created the myth of ?I am Gujarat? quite successfully. Such myths are good as...
With the inauguration of the second Bush presidency, the American neo-conservative empire is set to perpetuate itself. The empire has also generated its own lexicon, where words like 'freedom' and '...
Notwithstanding the increased frequency of talks between India and Pakistan, the unresolved issue of Kashmir continues to vex relations between the two neighbours. Perhaps it is time for new...
The present battle over key portfolios in Maharashtra, including that of chief minister, reflects a sad loss of vision on the Congress' part. A vision of bringing together Congressmen of all hues was...
We as a people are passing through a peculiar phase. From planning to terrorism we find ourselves at a loss. We need foreign agencies or their nominees to help us evaluate ourselves. Naturally some...
Reagan was the first president to have made unabashed power play into an art. It was an art in the sense that he made it into a moral principle. All those who opposed or appeared to oppose the...
Six odd tests do not a nuclear summer make. But these tests by India and Pakistan served one purpose. The act of opposing nuclear power was resistance to several things, the most important of which...
The basic issue is to figure out why a given government loses or is likely to lose its credibility. To speak in terms of the so-called antiincumbency factor is to beg the question. But then the...
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