Surendra Kumar


Salience of US ties

The ambivalence and hypocrisy of many Indians’ attitude towards the US can’t be summed up more tellingly than the way Jairam Ramesh, currently minister for rural development, once did while speaking a

From Iraq to Libya, US flubs all along

The daring and pre-planned killing of Christopher Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, and US consulate officials in Benghazi on September 11, though tragic, won’t have surprised hardnosed observers. There runs a common thread in what has happened in Benghazi and what’s happening in Cairo, Sanaa, Gaza and elsewhere in the Arab world.

Seducing Pakistan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent reference to his Pakistani counterpart, Yousaf Raza Gilani, as a “man of peace” has been greeted with scathing criticism. But it has been on predictable lines. One wonders what harm has been caused by his
India-Pakistan experts tend to be on the short fuse; as prime-time TV debates show, you utter one soft word about a Pakistani leader, dead or alive, and they pounce on you with the ferocity of a tiger! We all know what happened to L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh when they dared to make some laudatory references to Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The Gaddafi paradox

After 42 years, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who seized power in Libya in a bloodless coup d’etat in 1969 and who claimed to have escaped over 4,000 assassination attempts, ran out of time. The curtain has fallen on the longest ruling Arab dictator who lived a life full of contradictions, messianic delusions, eccentricities, unbridled ruthlessness and unfulfilled promises. His downfall carries a stark message for despotic rulers facing their peoples’ anger. It also speaks volumes about the broader objectives of intervention by the US and its allies in sovereign nations in the name of protection of civilian lives and its wider implications.

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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.