Are men and women equal?

28 02 2007


This is perhaps one of the defining questions of the modern world.

Irrespective of the country and culture one lives in, it is next to impossible to negotiate life today without running into this question lurking behind office desks, popping out of the messy bed sheets, and mixing with the food on our plate. How we ask and answer this question marks our politics, paints our ideology, highlights our socio-cultural context as well as gives hints about how we live our private lives.

So I might as well ask and answer this question, even though I can hear Alexander Pope whispering in my ear: “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread”! Read the rest of this entry »


Left Writing Pakistan…

25 02 2007

The following are a random collection of posts relating to Pakistan from different debates I have been part of on Orkut in the past few months. Read the rest of this entry »

Humpty Dumpty Revisited

21 02 2007


Humpty Dumpty reportedly gave “Living on the Edge” as his last known address to the King’s men who came to rescue him as he lay dying.

It may well be a metaphor for the times — Living on the Edge!

As this column has argued over the past two weeks, our astounding progress of the past two and an half centuries has been accomplished at a terrible cost. Not only have we irreversibly changed our climate and the Earth’s ecosystem, we have become addicted to a non-renewable resource, oil and coal, for our very existence. Read the rest of this entry »

The Search for Energy’s Holy Grail

21 02 2007

Climate change, as was pointed out in this column last week, has been primarily driven by carbon emissions from human activity in the past two and a half centuries. The industrial age has thrown more carbon di-oxide into the atmosphere than was done in the past 650,000 years. The effects of this massive infusion will last us for millennia to come and change the entire ecology of planet Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

Can we weather this storm?

21 02 2007

This article started off my column with The Post ( which is an English language daily newspaper published from Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan.

It was published on 7 February, 2007.

You can find all my writings for The Post at

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Read the rest of this entry »

Coal & End of Oil

21 02 2007

These two books look at the history of human interaction with these two hydrocarbon energy sources which are central to our lives. The combined review was published in Down to Earth in 2006.

Barbara Freese, Coal: A Human History, Arrow Books, London, 2003;

Paul Roberts, The End of Oil: The decline of the petroleum economy and the rise of a new energy order, Bloomsbury, London, 2005.

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Read the rest of this entry »

India Stinking & Dalits in Dravidian Land

21 02 2007

  • Dalits in Dravidian Land: Frontline Reports on Anti-Dalit Violence in Tamil Nadu (1995 – 2004), S. Viswanathan, Navayana, Pondicherry, 2005, pp. xxxviii + 318, Rs. 300.

  • India Stinking: Manual Scavengers in Andhra Pradesh and their Work, Gita Ramaswamy; Navayana, Pondicherry, 2005, pp. xii + 108 + 8 pages colour photos, Rs. 100.

I reviewed these two books together for HardNews magazine in 2006. India Stinking is perhaps a book everyone should read. It documents, in all its horrendousness, both the conditions of life of the shit cleaners as well as social and governmental responses to their existance.

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