Tackling the Taliban

22 05 2009

This is the draft version I wrote for the editorial of the Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XLIV No. 20, May16 2009.

[A sole dependence on military solutions cannot defeat the Taliban] Read the rest of this entry »

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So what is the solution in Swat?

28 02 2009

The rise of extremism in Pakistan’s Swat valley needs a nuanced and democratic response.

 

[This is the draft for the editorial I wrote on the Taliban takeover of the Swat and the Pakistan Government’s deal with them. The final revised version will be published in the EPW 28 Feb – 6 Mar 2009 (Vol XLIV NO 9) edition.]

Read the rest of this entry »





Watershed to end the Bloodshed? Jammu and Kashmir Elections, 2008

6 01 2009

The significantly high voter turnout in the recently concluded seven-phase elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has become the leitmotif around which all analysis of this event is being structured. This is not entirely misplaced given the large-scale public demonstrations favouring azaadi, or independence, in the Kashmir Valley in the middle of the year posed a question mark on the advisability of holding elections in the State. Even New Delhi had appeared to have doubts about convening elections so soon after the Amarnath agitations had exposed regional and religious fault lines in the State. The separatists, on their part, had seemed to strengthen sufficiently by that agitation to overcome their own divisions and unite again under a single All Parties Hurriyat Conference and had given out a call to boycott these elections. Read the rest of this entry »





A Liberal Interpretation of India’s Future

2 01 2009

Review of

INDIA EXPRESS: the future of a new superpower

Daniel Lak, Penguin/Viking, New Delhi, 2008, pp. xx + 314, hardcover, Rs. 499, (Indian edition)

Read the rest of this entry »





The Zanjeer on Devdas

9 09 2008

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The idea for the present column first came to me after I watched (again) the 1975 Bollywood cult movie, Zanjeer.  As most would know, Zanjeer is the story of the angry-young-man-Amitabh Bachchan who is witness to the traumatic twin murders of his parents which orphans him as a child and how he takes revenge for that in his youth. Zanjeer established the hegemonic genre of “angry young man” films and put Amitabh Bachchan firmly on the road to superstardom. So domninating was this genre that it rapidly led to the eclipse of the romantic hero and forced everyone with “heroic” aspirations in Bollywood to enact “dhishoom – dhishoom” roles. In the post-Zanjeer era of Bollywood, only the angry-young-man character could deliver blockbuster hits. Exceptions like Love Story or Ram Teri Ganga Maili were precisely that – exceptions. Almost all other genres and characters were confined to niche audiences or forced to become supporting characters to the angry young man. Other hero-aspirants quickly learnt the new rules of the game and moulded themselves into similar screen personas. Read the rest of this entry »





India – US nuclear deal: a left critique

5 08 2008

The India-US nuclear deal, which faced stiff and unprecedented opposition inside the country was finally smuggled through the Indian Parliament by the ruling combine. It is quite interesting that the main opposition to this deal came from within the country and not from the international community. The passage of the deal, despite the stiff resistance from the Left in India, also marks a watershed of sorts in the political landscape of the country and will have implications well into the future. Read the rest of this entry »





Under the Nuclear Shadow: Reviewing one decade of nuclear weapons in South Asia

20 05 2008

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Ten years ago, on the occasion of the birth celebrations of India’s own prophet of peace – Gautama Buddha – the Indian State exploded nuclear warheads under the sands of Rajasthan. Pakistan responded to it in a predictably unfortunate manner by exploding a set of nuclear warheads of its own. We complete a decade of living under the nuclear shadow in the sub-continent of South Asia and it’s a good time as any to remind ourselves of what this means. Read the rest of this entry »