Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

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Bharat is India in the making

Despite the storm it provoked, Mohan Bhagwat’s sweeping comment about “India” and “Bharat” wasn’t without a small kernel of truth. It recalled for me a remark by the 13th Duke of Bedford, who died in 2002, that “living in an English way is more important in India today than it ever was in the times of the British Raj.”

Epithets, with love?

No one missed the contemptuous inflection when Narendra Modi, poised for his electoral hat-trick, asked rhetorically why the Congress hadn’t declared “Ahmed Miyan” its chief ministerial candidate. He did not use the surname of the Congress president’s political adviser because there wouldn’t have been any sting in it.

Cutting class

There’s no sacrifice parents will not make to give their children a better start in life.

Freedom to suppress

Is the press above the law? Must newspapers enjoy a degree of immunity from normal corrective processes to keep politicians on their toes and ensure justice and good governance for all? These questions are being feverishly debated as Britain waits for Thursday when Lord Justice Brian Leveson will present the report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press on which he has been working for a year at a cost of £4 million.

Indian twist to the military salute

India’s political leaders must be stopped from making a mockery of the military salute.

An analyst of class

Eric Hob-sbawm, the Bri-tish Co-mmunist historian who died recently, might have called the current debate over class a storm in a British teacup. But rumblings in China and Hobsbawm’s own penetrating comments about India suggest Karl Marx knew what he was talking about when he wrote that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”.

The exodus of Jews has left India poorer

India lost a valuable element of cosmopolitanism with the exodus of its several Jewish communities. Only a culturally vibrant and economically dynamic nation attracts settlers from abroad. India was both. There’s a third condition: the host nation must also be socially and politically tolerant. That, too, India was before bigots
began splitting ethnic and religious hairs.

A ‘sahib’ on a return visit

It was moving and memorable without being mournful or in any way maudlin. I mean the dinner in memory of Philip Crosland, one of the last British editors on the Statesman, who died on July 14, a week short of his 94th birthday.

Politicking Pranab

It says something for the traditions, institutions and protocols of our parliamentary democracy that Pranab Mukherjee’s first visit to Kolkata after being sworn in as President of India turned out to be such an amicable affair.

A bloody stink in Gandhi’s Gujarat

Were any of those Indian-Americans who celebrated Chalo Gujarat 2012 last Sunday with Narendra Modi conscious of the depth to which their state has sunk? Are they aware that two wrongs don’t make a right?

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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.