Ashok Malik


Ashok Malik can be contacted at

Easy Test win can be dangerously deceptive

Nothing establishes India as a society with a short memory than the response to the cricket team. Two big victories against a weak and confused Australian Test team, and M.S. Dhoni’s men are being hailed and praised as if there were no tomorrow.

‘Shinde expressed regret, not apology for Hindu terror remark’

As dust settles on the ‘Hindu terror’ issue, government has said home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had not apologised for his controversial remarks but only expressed regret, which was accepted by the BJP.

India’s Gordion knot

Speaking about the failings of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government the other day, a senior official made the pithy observation that in its administration nothing seemed to come to resolution. Things lingered, discussions and debates continued, points and counter-points were raised, the National Advisory Council and the Planning Commission sniped at each other, and somewhere along the line, a state of paralysis became permanent. Gradually, this government’s default position became the Mexican stand-off.

Neighbours adrift

It is a bit of a cliché that diplomatic outreach to India’s neighbouring countries lies through its states. There is reason for this. Economic integration of our subcontinent is unlikely to be a dramatic, top-down event. As things stand, there seems little chance of South Asian nations signing something like the Treaty of Maastricht, the 1991 agreement that created the European Union.

Think, Shinde, think

At the Congress’ Chintan Shivir in Jaipur earlier this month, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde made a reference to terrorism that has evoked heated debate. His adherents and critics alike have sought to expand and, in the case of Congress spokespersons, hijack the debate. Several other issues, many only tangentially connected — if connected at all — to Mr Shinde’s contention have come to be argued over.

Gadkari’s annus horribilis

Exactly 20 years ago, in the closing days of 1992, Queen Elizabeth II brought the expression “annus horribilis” into contemporary usage. It had been a terrible year for the lady. Her daughter got divorced. Her second son announced separation from his wife.

What’s a soldier or two in peace pursuit

To those old enough to remember the Kargil War of 1999, the insensitive, insulting and downright mendacious remarks made about Capt.

Key to our security lies in the water

Following the cancellation of GMR’s airport contract in Male, there has been much hand-wringing in New Delhi. This is India’s backyard, it has been said, and the Male airport area itself was secured by Indian troops as recently as 1988, when the government of the Maldives was threatened by Tamil mercenaries from Sri Lanka.

Poppy capitalism

Few outside the incestuous power circles of New Delhi and Lucknow would have heard of Ponty Chadha except in a vague sort of way. With the manner of his death and the dirty secrets of his family disputes and professional discrepancies coming to light, even fewer will mourn his passing.

Karnataka is practice pitch for 2014

Today’s voting in Himachal Pradesh begins a 17-month poll marathon that will conclude only in May 2014, with the verdict of the 16th Lok Sabha election. India has elections all the time but what is remarkable about the bunch of state elections that come in the final 1.5 years of a Central government’s term — at least in the current calendar — is the direct contest between the Congress and the BJP in almost every major state.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.