Shiv Visvanathan


Shiv Visvanathan

The tick-tock-tick of justice

On February 22, 2011, the judgment on the Godhra train tragedy was delivered. While the media desperately searched for bytes, a different drama was being played out. It was a drama collaged out of silences; the relief of the body, of hands thrust out in prayer, snippets of sentences sounding like telegrams to a long-lost home. Sixty-three people were released as innocent after a span of nine long years. The only question one repeatedly asked is what does waiting mean and what does waiting do to the ideal of justice?

Is Bollywood losing its way?

There are three institutions I love in India. The first is the informal economy. Survival would be impossible without it and subsistence would not be an art form without its creativity. The second subculture I love is the culture of food, the sensorium of smells and tastes that make India the greatest civilisation around cuisine. The third

Binding differences

India is a strange country. We seem to be quarrelling all the time. We identify ourselves by the dislike we feel for other or smugness with which we say “we are not them”.

The cynical state of Telangana

I am one of those dreamy political scientists who always makes wishlists and scenarios of “What if”. I am always waiting for new conversations of intersecting categories. I believe Hyderabad can be the centre for one major encounter. The Srikrishna Commission report on the possibility of Telangana has been released. It is a

Confessions of a middle-class mind

I am middle class. Only the middle class can confess a fact about itself with such self-consciousness. I am a middle-class man whose body is iconically middle, whose career is middling.

An ode to the hacker

Wikileaks has become a modern fable. Its founder Julius Assange faces charges of rape and years of harassment. Mr Assange is seen as that loathsome creature, the hacker.

Dear Editor, your halo is slipping

The Niira Radia scam has created its own set of spaces. It has emphasised the need for privacy and the impending fear of banana republics.

Mammaries of the welfare state

Yesterday night I dreamt that the ghost of M. Visvesvaraya, the great engineer, was haunting the streets of Bengaluru. The old man who lived beyond hundred was a technocrat par excellence, a part of the folklore of Karnataka. He epitomised the bureaucracy as a way of life, a normative system that separated the public and the private,

A tale of two isms

An ism is an all encompassing ideology. It is a total system. It is an enclosed world view. In the past few decades India has been subject to two grand isms — Gandhianism and Marxism.

The seed and the mine

The minister of environment and forestry, Jairam Ramesh, is an interesting man to quarrel about and quarrel with. In many ways, he has become a public figure keen to enact policy as an open drama.

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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.