Pinarayi Vijayan: The Leader as Survivor

No other Kerala politician, with the probable exception of the late Congress patriarch K Karunakaran, has been as loved and hated in equal measure and embroiled in as many controversies. Within the CPM, no other leader, not even icons as legendary as EMS Namboodiripad or AK Gopalan or P Krishna Pillai or the indefatigable and … Continue reading Pinarayi Vijayan: The Leader as Survivor

The Modi Government Is a Regime of Low-Intensity Terror

Stanford University anthropologist Thomas Blom Hansen discusses the rise of anger, brutality, and violence in Indian public life. Thomas Blom Hansen is a Stanford University anthropologist and author of The Law of Force: The Violent Heart of Indian Politics. (Thomas Blom Hansen) Not many academics have studied Hindu nationalism with the intensity of Stanford University anthropologist Thomas … Continue reading The Modi Government Is a Regime of Low-Intensity Terror

Indian Farmers Versus Narendra Modi’s Propaganda Machine

Hundreds of thousands of India’s farmers have been camping on the roads leading to New Delhi in an unprecedented protest that has lasted more than two months but has not been given its proportional share of attention, either from the media or the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for its merit and legitimacy. The … Continue reading Indian Farmers Versus Narendra Modi’s Propaganda Machine

They Didn’t Come to Worship at Your Throne

Farmers at Singhu border. December 2020 (Photo: Ullekh NP) You see them from behind concertina wires at lunchtime They tuck into their traditional breads like lions at their feast The scent of clarified butter tickles your palate through the nose The intimate bond of the hot slow-cooked meal Eternal smiles of the countryside, chiseled and … Continue reading They Didn’t Come to Worship at Your Throne

Watching Christopher Nolan’s Tenet: First Day First Show in India

In this sci-fi movie, forces from the future seek revenge on past generations for what they had done to the planet WATCHING Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on December 4, the day it was released in India, was thrilling for more reasons than the movie itself. It was the first film I watched in a cinema hall in over … Continue reading Watching Christopher Nolan’s Tenet: First Day First Show in India

NIA Declines Reply to RTI Plea About ISIS-Related Data

In sharp contrast to the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) earlier disclosure that it had arrested 127 people with links to Islamic State (ISIS) until late 2019, it has now refused to answer my right to information (RTI) application about arrests and crime stats related to ISIS activities in India. NIA, which deals with terror-related crimes in … Continue reading NIA Declines Reply to RTI Plea About ISIS-Related Data

The Response to My Book, Kannur, and the Foreword to the Malayalam Edition

The following is a foreword I had written more than three years ago for the Malayalam edition of my Kannur book (Kannur: Inside India's Bloodiest Revenge Politics; Penguin Viking). The Malayalam version of this was printed in the translated work published by Mathrubhumi. Ever since Kannur appeared in its original English version nationwide in June … Continue reading The Response to My Book, Kannur, and the Foreword to the Malayalam Edition

How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

They say Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the right man in the wrong party. He wasn’t. Academics and independent political analysts such as Robin Jeffrey and Vajpayee’s contemporaries in politics remember him in the 1960s as a young, firebrand leader of the Hindutva cause, someone capable of the most offensive of anti-Muslim statements. A man groomed in the … Continue reading How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

Ahmed Kathrada, the Indian-South African whom Mandela called his ‘Mirror’

Back home in India, Ahmed Kathrada (1929-2017), a Liberation Struggle veteran who spent 26 years in prison with his great friend Nelson Mandela, is relatively unknown. Ahmed Kathrada, the Indian-origin South African politician, who passed away following a brain surgery on March 28, aged 87, at Johannesburg’s Donald Gordon Hospital, had entered the anti-apartheid movement … Continue reading Ahmed Kathrada, the Indian-South African whom Mandela called his ‘Mirror’

The Making of ‘The Untold Vajpayee: Politician and Paradox’

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on the day Mahatma Gandhi was elected the Congress president for the first and the last time on December 25, 1924. But unlike most of his peers, the young Atal didn't think highly of the man who made a movement out of the Congress, which, before he took the helm … Continue reading The Making of ‘The Untold Vajpayee: Politician and Paradox’