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

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When the Monster Rains Came, Kerala Was Not Prepared

In Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, one of the worst affected regions in the biggest flood to hit the southern Indian state in almost a century, 72-year-old Chandrasekharan Achari died for want of medical assistance. He couldn’t be taken to the local hospital two kilometres from home because the water had risen so high that no … Continue reading When the Monster Rains Came, Kerala Was Not Prepared

Blackmail and Rape Charges Shake Up the Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala

EARLIER THIS MONTH, an ‘affidavit’ of rather scandalous proportions was leaked to a section of the media in Kerala. It contained salacious and incriminating details by a woman, a member of the close-knit Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, confessing sexual relations with four priests of the congregation. Let aside the fact that the document—which the husband … Continue reading Blackmail and Rape Charges Shake Up the Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala

Kerala’s Popular Culture Has Abetted Misogyny in Life and Politics

WHAT IS IT ABOUT the Malayali male that attracts equal parts respect and scorn? Normally, expectations from Kerala, a state that enjoys high social indicators, some of which are on par with Nordic countries, are that it is a fairer and far more egalitarian society compared with the rest of India. The sex ratio, the … Continue reading Kerala’s Popular Culture Has Abetted Misogyny in Life and Politics

Kannur: Inside India’s Bloodiest Revenge Politics (Penguin Viking)

A sleepy coastal district in the scenic south Indian state of Kerala, Kannur has metamorphosed into a hotbed of political violence in the past few decades. Even as India heaves into the age of technology and economic growth, the town has been making it to the national news for brutal murders with sickening regularity. What … Continue reading Kannur: Inside India’s Bloodiest Revenge Politics (Penguin Viking)

A Report From the 22nd Party Congress of CPM

SPEAKING TO DELEGATES in Hyderabad on the fourth day of the six-day 22nd Party Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), its triennial summit, General Secretary Sitaram Yechury poked fun at what he called the ‘bourgeois media’ for their distorted portrayal of communists. He specifically named the Malayala Manorama, a Kerala daily, for carrying allegedly … Continue reading A Report From the 22nd Party Congress of CPM

Can the Indian Left Reinvent Itself?

Outside AKG Bhavan, the CPM’s headquarters in Delhi’s Gole Market area, barricades are in place with armed policemen on duty. India’s biggest Communist party in mainstream politics has been at the receiving end of violent protests in the past few years by rival political parties, especially Hindu nationalists, some of whom had barged in, fulminated … Continue reading Can the Indian Left Reinvent Itself?

When Pinarayi Vijayan Put Sitaram Yechury in His Place

LIKE MOST OF his puritanical predecessors in the Stalinist confines of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is a reluctant conversationalist. His interactions with the media are always guarded. He belongs to a generation of Marxists taught to be tight-lipped about the goings-on of the party apparatus, unlike the CPM’s … Continue reading When Pinarayi Vijayan Put Sitaram Yechury in His Place

Actor Dileep’s Arrest Is a Wakeup Call for India’s Misogynistic Film Industry

THE ARREST OF Dileep, one of Kerala’s most popular actors, over a plethora of charges, including gang rape, criminal conspiracy, blackmail, attempt to destroy evidence and an assortment of other alleged crimes, is a wake-up call for an Indian film industry known for its brazen misogyny, unaccounted-for wealth and cartelisation. It ought to send shockwaves … Continue reading Actor Dileep’s Arrest Is a Wakeup Call for India’s Misogynistic Film Industry