Ashok Malik


Ashok Malik can be contacted at

Banerjee and Mukherjee

In the aftermath of the Mamata Banerjee fiasco and the all but anointment of Pranab Mukherjee as the next President of India, there are some who are sympathetic towards the Trinamul Congress chief.

Don’t be taken in by Pak’s peace moves

At the end of May, the Pakistani government finally admitted that there was enough evidence to prosecute and probably convict Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, leader of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), for his role

History of heroes

This past week, I travelled to Shivpuri, a small city that’s a two-hour drive from Gwalior.

Presidents and precedent

President Pratibha Patil ends her term in very much the foggy environment in which she began it. When she was chosen as the Congress nominee for Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2007, there were murmurs of dissent. Did this middle-ranking state politician, with a rather undistinguished career, deserve to be India’s President, let alone its first woman President? Stories of her family’s implication in local intrigues in Maharashtra and Jalgaon — Ms Patil’s native town — started to do the rounds. It all seemed very messy.

Nostalgia noose

Arresting a Jadavpur University (JU) professor for emailing an innocuous cartoon that poked fun at Mamata Banerjee is just indefensible.

Two easy diners at 7, Race Course

Despite fervid attempts by the usual suspects and impressionable sections of the media, the government and the Prime Minister’s Office have resorted to an appreciable degree of expectations management

An Indian story we don’t hear often

This past week Dilip Tirkey became one of India’s unlikeliest MPs, being elected to the Rajya Sabha from his native Orissa as a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate. A few months past his 34th birthday, Mr Tirkey is among the youngest members of the House of Elders. He is a tribal (adivasi) and a Christian, adding to the pan-Orissa social alliance the BJD seeks to represent in Parliament. Said to be a charming man, Mr Tirkey’s nomination is certainly a welcome innovation by his party.

No goodbyes in India

Greg Chappell, former Australian cricketer and once coach of the Indian cricket team, has made several disparaging remarks about Indians and the Indian way of cricket and life. Some of these remarks are unfair and clearly over the top. Yet there is one point Chappell has made that is not easy to dismiss. Indians, he argues, are not leaders and do not take the responsibility that comes with leadership.

Battle of Awadh & the ruler of Bengal

On March 6, the results of the Uttar Pradesh elections will be known. Watching them closely will be a person whose party has put up a few candidates in the northern state but who otherwise has only a peripheral interest in the Hindi heartland: Mamata Banerjee. The Trinamul Congress leader and West Bengal chief minister is anticipating a poor performance by the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and reckoning this will trigger a chain of events that may lead to an early Lok Sabha election.

The Modi business

Depending on how you saw him, George Wallace was one of the most colourful, charismatic or controversial politicians in the turbulent America of the 1960s. A native of Alabama, in the racially divided south of the country, he began life as a liberal but lost his first election because his opponent successfully projected him as somebody out of tune with local (white) convictions and prejudices. Wallace then adopted a harder persona and was elected the Democrat governor in 1963. Eventually, he was to serve four terms as Alabama’s highest-ranked public official.

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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.