Swapan Dasgupta


Swapan Dasgupta is a senior journalist

Chocolate museum is Ooty’s new draw

If it is A.R. Rahman in music, then it is Rahman brothers in the Nilgiris hills for home-made chocolates as these brothers have opened a new chapter in the annals of home-made chocolates by setting up their chocolate museum — M&N Chocolate Museum — on Mysore Road. The brothers claim it’s a first-of-its-kind in the country and gives an insight into the history of chocolate-making, especially the home-made chocolate.

‘Russell’ up a mod revolution

She is humble and her modesty reflects in her design elements too. Bangladeshi designer Bibi Russell, who ruled the style charts in the late 70s and 80s and was also among the top 10 women in the world who changed the face of fashion, is a force to reckon with. With a mission of promoting Bangladeshi fabrics and handicrafts for international markets, she has provided work for thousands of weavers and artisans. Her latest show in April at the Colombo Fashion Week won her a standing ovation.

Modi is Nitish’s fig leaf to go it alone in Bihar

The Janata Dal (United)-BJP alliance in Bihar has endured for nearly two decades. Forged in the mid-1990s as a united front to take on Lalu Prasad Yadav who dominated Bihar politics after his initial victory over the Congress in 1990, the alliance was much more than a mere seat-sharing arrangement; it was also a social alliance.

A scapegoat for political games

Since issues and “causes” are most often a fig leaf for other hard-nosed calculations, there is an understandable reluctance to take the formal pronouncements of political parties at their face value.

The Modi magic

The detractors of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi have repeatedly asserted that he runs a personalised administration and is unmindful of both advice and criticism. These attributes, it is often said, may work in a state but are singularly inappropriate for running the Government of India where there are far more conflicting pressures that involve sensitive handling.

Fergie is giving in to her pregnancy cravings

Fergie, who is expecting her first baby with husband Josh Duhamel, is giving in to her pregnancy cravings.

No pain, no gain

An Indian Budget has more than its fair share of hype. This has its origins in the bad old days of the “socialistic” economy when every fiscal year brought about a large measure of unpredictability. Mercifully, wild policy shifts and fluctuating rates of taxes are evils that went out of fashion after Manmohan Singh’s landmark Budget of 1991.

The Netaji riddle

January 23 was a public holiday in West Bengal and has been so since Independence. It is the birthday of Subhas Chandra Bose, the Netaji that most Bengalis and many other Indians believe, should rightfully have been at the helm of the post-1947 dispensation.

New India vs Old Bharat

The social divide that is said to exist between Bharat and India has often been used to score debating points. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat was, arguably, guilty of this needless game of one-upmanship when, in response to a question, he told a gathering in Silchar (Assam) that rape was essentially India’s problem and not a Bharatiya problem.

On a whim & a dare

Earlier this month, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee convened a meeting of industrialists in New Delhi. The purpose was obvious and unexceptionable: to talk up West Bengal and invite investment to a state that, for all practical purposes, had dropped off the economic map of India.

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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.