Navjot Singh Sidhu: The Performer Unmasked

IT MAY NOT BE inappropriate to say that Navjot Singh Sidhu has a face behind the mask that he constantly tries to hide. Great comedians have talked about this professional dilemma. So have clowns and slapstick performers known for their frenetic pace. Sidhu perhaps fits into the last category, a sort of a Punjabi Jim … Continue reading Navjot Singh Sidhu: The Performer Unmasked

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Why Restrictions on E-Cigarettes Won’t Help

IN THE MOVIE Tourist, Johnny Depp, who plays Frank Tupelo, an American in Venice who lands in mysterious circumstances after meeting a fascinating woman (Angelina Jolie), puffs on a vaporised cigarette, also called electronic or non-combustible cigarette, that is said to be 95 per cent less harmful than its burning counterpart. The 2010 thriller perhaps had … Continue reading Why Restrictions on E-Cigarettes Won’t Help

India’s Institutions Are Crumbling Due to Excessive Political and Corporate Meddling

INSTITUTIONS OR THOSE at the helm of prestigious government agencies going rogue has time and again put the Narendra Modi Government in a bad spot. A number of judges of the Supreme Court of India rising in revolt against the Chief Justice and hogging news headlines was an unprecedented event in the history of Indian … Continue reading India’s Institutions Are Crumbling Due to Excessive Political and Corporate Meddling

Shivraj Singh Chouhan Faces His Toughest Election Yet

IN THE BASEMENT of a residential building in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, a heavyset, middle-aged man is seated in a chair, watchful and slightly tense. He is multi-tasking as his team of 70-odd volunteers clicks away at computers, creating content and editing videos. They send slogans, promos and other material to the BJP … Continue reading Shivraj Singh Chouhan Faces His Toughest Election Yet

Air Quality in North India Divides the Rich and Poor More Than Ever

AT DYSON’S TRENDY showroom in Delhi’s DLF Promenade mall in Vasant Kunj, sales of the British company’s air purifiers have shot up in the past month as people from various parts of the National Capital Region and elsewhere, alarmed by the rise in pollution levels and chances of related long-term health hazards, especially for their … Continue reading Air Quality in North India Divides the Rich and Poor More Than Ever

Lekshmy Rajeev: ‘Local religious rituals were crushed by Brahmins in Sabarimala’

LEKSHMY RAJEEV is the author of Attukal Amma: The Goddess of Millions. A writer, poet and translator, she is currently working on two new collaborative books on temples—the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple and the Tirupati Venkateshwara temple. Her research covers the Brahminisation of local religious practices and appropriation of lower-caste places of worship, especially in Kerala. Executive … Continue reading Lekshmy Rajeev: ‘Local religious rituals were crushed by Brahmins in Sabarimala’

Mario Vargas Llosa’s New Novel Has His Trademark Cliffhangers

IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, Mario Vargas Llosa delves deep into a period about which he has told us before—in his 1993 memoirs titled A Fish in the Water, which, besides revealing a lot about his childhood, also talked about his unsuccessful career as a politician. He contested the presidency of Peru, the country of his birth, against Japanese-origin … Continue reading Mario Vargas Llosa’s New Novel Has His Trademark Cliffhangers

The Likely Exclusion of a Crucial Amendment to India’s Abortion Law Highlights Official Apathy Towards Women’s Reproductive Rights

ANJU WAS ONLY 14 when she ran away from her employer’s home where she worked as a domestic help. She was disgusted with what a male cook at the ‘kothi’ had done to her. Not once, but multiple times. She stayed for a few days with her elder cousin who worked as a stay-at-home cook in … Continue reading The Likely Exclusion of a Crucial Amendment to India’s Abortion Law Highlights Official Apathy Towards Women’s Reproductive Rights

Gita Gopinath: The New Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund

FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE Chairman Ben Bernanke, known to be economical with praise, speaks of Gita Gopinath as “one of the strongest and most promising students I ever worked with”. Gopinath, who has several firsts to her credit, did her PhD at Princeton under the guidance of Ben Bernanke and Kenneth Rogoff, a former IMF economist … Continue reading Gita Gopinath: The New Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund

Tridip Suhrud: ‘Did Gandhi fear a violent death? No. He feared a purposeless death’

Tridip Suhrud, 52, is a multilingual scholar and translator renowned as an authority on Gandhi and his intellectual tradition. While he was director of Sabarmati Ashram, he had helped create the Gandhi Heritage Portal, a free digital archive running into over 1.4 million pages. Armed with knowledge of all three languages in which Gandhi wrote, … Continue reading Tridip Suhrud: ‘Did Gandhi fear a violent death? No. He feared a purposeless death’