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  • In Kafka’s universe

    In Kafka’s universe

    IN June every year the media publishes articles recollecting the imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi’s government in June 1975. ...

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  • 2024: Two narratives

    2024: Two narratives

    RESPONDING to the 2024 election manifesto of the Congress party, titled Nyay Patra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it bears ...

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  • Have money, will spend

    Have money, will spend

    THE Ambani family’s over-the-top partying at Jamnagar has been widely commented upon at home and abroad. Only the socially unaware ...

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  • Money power and politics

    Money power and politics

    A quarter-century ago, in a different era, a very different kind of politician from very different political parties sat together ...

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  • Banga at the Bank

    Banga at the Bank

    AJAY Banga made headlines when he was named president of the World Bank by US President Joe Biden. Indian born ...

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  • People and summits

    People and summits

    A summit, by definition, is for summiteers. Sherpas are needed and so are all the camp staff. Ordinary people are ...

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  • A debate of bytes

    A debate of bytes

    WE have all heard television journalists implore whoever they are seeking to interview, “Give me a byte”. In the age ...

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  • Down the drain

    Down the drain

    During the year I was at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore the then Lt Governor ...

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  • Diplomacy, society and business

    Diplomacy, society and business

    For over two years the United States political and administrative system found it difficult to appoint an ambassador to India. ...

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  • Mobilizing civil society

    Mobilizing civil society

    CIVIL society groups have always been engaged in mainstream politics in one way or another, albeit at its margins. Rarely ...

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  • Censorship and self-censorship

    Censorship and self-censorship

    THE problems for democracies, observed an editorial in the inaugural issue of the national newsmagazine India Today (December 1975), “is ...

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  • Foreign funds, Indian minds

    Foreign funds, Indian minds

    A few years ago I had written in these very pages of Civil Society a column titled “Funding the Indian ...

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  • End the plan holiday

    End the plan holiday

    WE have had ‘plan holidays’, that is, a break from five-year plans, many times before. In the late 1960s, the ...

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  • Quantifying reality

    Quantifying reality

    THE Global Hunger Index (GHI), published by two European non-government organizations, has been universally slammed in India both by government ...

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  • Among the people

    Among the people

    ON the eve of Rahul Gandhi’s padayatra political commentator Neerja Chaudhuri made a pertinent observation in a televised discussion. Almost ...

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  • Uncertainty complex

    Uncertainty complex

    A new ‘uncertainty complex’ is unsettling lives and has already reversed the gains of five years of human development at ...

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  • India at 75

    India at 75

    In quick succession, between 1896 and 1906, Swami Vivekananda, Jamsetji Tata, Rabindranath Tagore and the engineer, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, who founded the ...

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  • War and the economy

    War and the economy

    WAR has direct human and economic consequences. Often, such consequences impact not just the countries at war but many others, ...

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  • The federal political cycle

    The federal political cycle

    ECONOMISTS are familiar with the concept of a business cycle and some even with the idea of a political business ...

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  • The other divide

    The other divide

    AMITAVA Ghosh’s recently published book, The Nutmeg’s Curse, exploring the historical roots of global warming and ecological destruction, tracing them ...

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  • Atmanirbharata redux

    Atmanirbharata redux

    WHEN Prime Minister Narendra Modi first spoke about the concept of atmanirbharata, many mainstream economists criticized him for reverting to ...

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  • IOU: A 2022 message for 2024

    IOU: A 2022 message for 2024

    INDIA is a psephologist’s and electoral data miner’s delight. Not only does the country generate an enormous amount of electoral ...

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  • The decline of debate

    The decline of debate

    ON August 5, 2019, I met Arun Jaitley, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, for the last time at his ...

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  • The outward bound

    The outward bound

    When news of business billionaire MukeshAmbani acquiring a massive 300-acre estate in England was flashed in the media, it was ...

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  • Bombay House and Delhi

    Bombay House and Delhi

    WHEN the Narendra Modi government announced its decision to hand over Air India back to the House of Tatas, a ...

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  • Koizumi’s question

    Koizumi’s question

    ON his first visit to India in 2005, Japan’s Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, asked his host, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ...

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  • Narasimha Rao’s legacy

    Narasimha Rao’s legacy

    THE birth centenary of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao will be observed on June 28, 2021. The government of ...

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  • Diplomacy and public opinion

    Diplomacy and public opinion

    THE decision of the external affairs ministry to issue an official statement in response to tweets by American singer Rihanna ...

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  • Memoirs of a Lutyens leader

    Memoirs of a Lutyens leader

    IT is perhaps typical of a quintessential Lutyens’ Delhi leader like Pranab Mukherjee that only the fourth volume of his ...

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  • The post-COVID world order

    The post-COVID world order

    When COVID-19 becomes history the era of this virus will perhaps be remembered by two words — lockdown and webinar. One ...

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  • COVID and the communists

    COVID and the communists

    HEALTH activists and concerned citizens have tried for a long time to place healthcare and public health on the national ...

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  • Strong leader, weak State

    Strong leader, weak State

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore a paradox at the heart of the present political conjuncture in India. ...

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  • The citizenship paradox

    The citizenship paradox

    I was amused to read a tweet from Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in which he quoted former Union ...

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  • Language and opportunity

    Language and opportunity

    Of all the daily editorials I had to write during my tenure as the editorial page editor of the Times ...

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  • New India and the West

    New India and the West

    The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has expressed serious concern about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) voted ...

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  • Politics of consensus

    Politics of consensus

    In his authoritative treatise on the Indian Constitution, The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation, Granville Austin made the interesting ...

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  • Politics of foreign trade policy

    Politics of foreign trade policy

    It is not surprising that the subject of India joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement figured in the ...

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  • China's shadow on South Asia

    China's shadow on South Asia

    China’s dramatic and sustained economic rise over the past quarter-century has impacted the global economy and global geopolitics. In purchasing ...

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  • A loyalty tax on nationalism

    A loyalty tax on nationalism

    One of the amusing aspects of the debate on nationalism triggered by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election campaign and ...

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  • What's manifest in manifestos

    What's manifest in manifestos

    A party political manifesto is supposed to impart distinct brand identity to a political party and its leadership so that ...

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  • Who will police the police?

    Who will police the police?

    Over the next several weeks the festival of democracy will keep Indians busy and entertained. The jingle on my radio ...

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  • Do ministers matter?

    Do ministers matter?

    Time was when Hyderabad had become famous for being home to the largest council of ministers. More recently it has ...

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  • Do manifestos matter?

    Do manifestos matter?

    A committee set up by the Central Election Commission of India has come out with a curious, if amusing, ruling. ...

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  • Poverty of the wealthy

    Poverty of the wealthy

    In the mid-1980s, when I was teaching at the University of Hyderabad, I invited the then finance minister of West ...

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  • Who needs a library?

    Who needs a library?

    Driving down one of Beijing’s broad boulevards one evening, I chanced upon a tall building with dozens of students seated ...

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  • An Indian view of the world

    An Indian view of the world

    The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) funds a think-tank studying China called the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS). Its board ...

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  • The language of politics

    The language of politics

    That she could speak in Hindi, even if with a heavy Italian accent, endeared Sonia Gandhi to millions of Indians. ...

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  • Mr Mukherjee goes to Nagpur

    Mr Mukherjee goes to Nagpur

    Pranab Mukherjee has got the Congress Party’s knickers in a twist. It is a measure of his political clout and ...

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  • Friends with benefits

    Friends with benefits

    A few months ago I had to discontinue this column when I took up an assignment that did not give ...

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  • A ‘Learn East’ policy

    A ‘Learn East’ policy

    This is Sanjaya Baru's farewell column. He joins FICCI as Secretary-General.  As India celebrates 70 years of freedom from colonial ...

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  • States of enterprise

    States of enterprise

    Anxiety about the future within the business community created by the break-up of the united state of Andhra Pradesh has ...

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  • The making of a President

    The making of a President

    Nothing unsettles the old Delhi Darbar more than to find a hitherto unknown name hog the headlines. The question “Kovind ...

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  • Regime change in Delhi?

    Regime change in Delhi?

    Three summers ago a routine Lok Sabha election, 16th in a row in independent India, threw up a slightly unexpected ...

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  • Every dog has his day!

    Every dog has his day!

    There is delicious irony in the fact that on the one hand it was a former maharaja who recently ordered ...

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  • Coalitions are like amoebas

    Coalitions are like amoebas

    Power politics is not a morality play! That quotable quote may well be found in Machiavelli’s tracts but it was ...

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  • Funding the Indian think tank

    Funding the Indian think tank

    A columnist pens out at regular intervals one’s opinion about something or the other that one imagines to be of ...

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  • The importance of pretence

    The importance of pretence

    The arrival of a politically powerful leader heading a single party government with absolute majority in Parliament has renewed the ...

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  • Modi’s rupee call is politics first

    Modi’s rupee call is politics first

    Economics is a political science. In the 18th and 19th centuries the discipline was in fact known as ‘political economy’. ...

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  • The power of loyalty

    The power of loyalty

    The Indian sub-continent has had several capital cities of successive kingdoms and empires, but Delhi occupies a special place. Mohammed ...

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