Shiv Visvanathan


Shiv Visvanathan

Corruption, yes. But where’s the scandal?

There is something about the debate on corruption in India that is distressing. I admit that a powerful drama is unfolding, that TV is offering a spectacle of a “fresh” corruption every week. Yet, what amazes me is that there is really no sense of scandal. The sense of outrage is at the level of a skit.

Between green terror and growth fascism

Green is a colour that often makes people see red. I am not talking merely of the opposition between environment and justice, but also the battles between green and growth. The tragedy is categories are set up as Manichean dualisms when they should be friendly reciprocities in a democracy.

In politics, welcome little leaps of change

Politics still provides the excitement and openness of Indian society. Other systems like business, education, even sports have moved towards equity and creativity but politics excels them all because of its quarrelsome openness. Politics is one system that is still open to people and debate.

The meaning of Koodankulam

The battle over Koodankulam should have been constructed as a graphic novel. It has the right Manichean touch, where the two sides attribute the worst to each other.

Seeking justice is not revenge

On August 31, the quantum of sentence on Naroda Patiya was announced. The judgment and punishment awarded was met with a sense of surprise. The sentences “appeared severe” and crowd reactions split the population again into a double domain.

Confessions of a troubled secularist

This is an essay on secularism and the Indian Muslim. And I must admit the recent events have made this a difficult piece to write. Let me begin at the beginning.

Anna’s Fables: An ethical critique

I am a writer by profession and the readers are my only constituency. The only way I can pay back my audience is by responding to them with honesty, admitting my mistakes and yet standing ground when I disagree with them.

It is hard to say ‘goodbye’

I am not a sentimental man but often I am caught in deeply emotional situations which leave me helpless. This happens particularly when friends die on you, laughing one day and leaving you empty the next.

The missing leader

Every time I read about certain events in newspapers I feel embarrassed. I feel we are a society proud of commodities but uneasy about ourselves. We seem like petty creatures who prefer horse trading even the country to taking an ethical stand. It is not the size of the event that I am worried about but the stature of the people participating in it.

India: Death by development

India is a country pockmarked with scandals but in a happy normalcy. We take scandals in our stride, and corruption seems a way of life.

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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.