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’

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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

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018): The Beloved

On a deserted street outside Ahdoos Hotel in curfew-bound Srinagar on that distant afternoon of August 2016 from where I was heading towards Press Enclave, an elderly gentleman in a skullcap approached me, almost blocking my way, and began to talk animatedly in Hindi and English. He didn’t introduce himself, but I didn’t panic because … Continue reading Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018): The Beloved

Violence Between the Left and the Right in Kerala Unabated Despite Secret Parleys

ON THE MORNING of 30 July 2016, within two months of him taking over as chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, accompanied by leaders Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and V Sivankutty, broke protocol and drove down to Mascot Hotel, a heritage building that once housed British officers during the First World War. There was no pilot jeep and no … Continue reading Violence Between the Left and the Right in Kerala Unabated Despite Secret Parleys

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?

Arvind Panagariya: Farewell, Professor

FOR MORE THAN a year in the run-up to the 2014 General Election, Arvind Panagariya had played a pivotal role in hardselling the Narendra Modi brand of ‘economics’ and reviving a debate over the Gujarat- versus-Kerala models. Along with his mentor, the trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati, Panagariya also locked horns with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen … Continue reading Arvind Panagariya: Farewell, Professor

M Venkaiah Naidu: A Friend and Loyalist

ON THE EVENING OF July 18th, Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu received a call from Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, who was in Kashmir at the time. It had been an emotional day for the 68-year-old parliamentarian. He had wept before his colleagues after formally stepping down from all political positions, including his primary membership of the … Continue reading M Venkaiah Naidu: A Friend and Loyalist

Proxy War: An RSS-backed Trade Union Battles NITI Aayog, Headed by PM Modi

FOR A TRADE unionist, Virjesh Upadhyay is rather calm and collected, even under work stress. But when he talks about the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and its myriad recommendations to the Government of India in various sectors, especially for easing labour laws and for disinvesting sick public-sector units, the general secretary of … Continue reading Proxy War: An RSS-backed Trade Union Battles NITI Aayog, Headed by PM Modi

The Cultural Campaign of RSS: War Over the Mind of India

Even as RSS tries to add new icons to its intellectual history, it wants to redeem scholars denigrated by the leftist establishment. Last year, on September 16th, the RSS and BJP in Kerala referred to the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928) as a ‘Hindu saint’, setting off a slugfest between Leftists and the … Continue reading The Cultural Campaign of RSS: War Over the Mind of India