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[26 May 2014 | No Comment | 66 views]
Glimpses from Tirth ’12

555am: I am packed and ready for the 10-hrs trip ahead.
Outside it is still dark. But the streets are already busy with devotees and people going about their day.
I make my way through the winding street to Dwarkadheesh.
Inside the temple, there is not much of a crowd and practically no queue.
I have my Darshan and it is still only 645am. Plenty of time for me to make the bus on the long trip today.
At the bus stand, the driver expresses surprise that I am taking this route to Ahmedabad.
He tells …

India & Its Neighbours, ToI Columns »

[26 May 2014 | No Comment | 171 views]
At NaMo’s swearing-in, Chanakya’s Raja-Mandala on display

For students of statecraft and history, the invitations to SAARC leaders for the swearing in ceremony of PM-designate provide a fascinating example of Acharya Chanakya’s Raja-Mandala doctrine at work.  In Kautilya’s Artha-Shastra, in Book VI, “The Source of Sovereign States”, Acharya is quoted as saying;
“The king who is situated anywhere immediately on the circumference of the conqueror’s territory is termed the enemy….The king who is likewise situated close to the enemy, but separated from the conqueror only by the enemy, is termed the friend (of the conqueror).”
This of course, is part …

Political Ideology, ToI Columns »

[15 May 2014 | 3 Comments | 211 views]
On Hindutva & Liberalism..

In Lutyen’s Delhi hushed tones speak of a new bugbear in town. Such is the fear that even ardent & otherwise proud Hindus will try & avoid uttering the word – lest they be shunned and ridiculed. The word is ‘Hindutva’.
But fear was not what prompted this post. It was a question triggered by an email from a friend (who shared this fear). He asked, is Hindutva really appropriate in a liberal context? That question pretty much summed up all that is wrong with our understanding of the word. It also …

Indian History, Islamic Rule in India, Medieval Indian History, ToI Columns »

[9 May 2014 | 2 Comments | 204 views]
An uneven battle, the heroes of Haldighati & forgetting history

Today happens to be an important date in Indian medieval history. It marks the birth of one of India’s true heroes – a man whose life exemplifies valour, courage, fierce pride and self-respect - MahaRana Pratap Singh of Mewar*.
Unfortunately most of us have only the foggiest idea of his exploits, thanks to our “education”.  The MahaRana is largely ignored in the history textbooks of early years in India. Yesterday, as I was browsing the Class VII History Text Book prepared by NCERT, I noticed it did not have any mention of …

Elections 2014, Elections Results, Analysis and Related, Indian Media, Photos and Videos »

[6 May 2014 | No Comment | 127 views]
The Influence of Media in Elections 2014

This short snippet was recorded for the “Listening Post” feature on Al Jazeera titled, “Indian media: Choosing sides?”  I was responding to the specific question, “..what influence do you think Indian mainstream media outlets have during these elections?” I am at 09:50.
In the video, I question how much influence (mainstream) media would have on these elections (except for Hindi and other native language news-papers). I cite three reasons for my assertion:

Wide perception of MSM as being biased. More than a third of news channels are owned by politicians or politico-affiliated …

A Hindu Identity, An Indian Identity, Conversions, Missionaries in India, India & Its Neighbours, ToI Columns »

[26 Apr 2014 | 2 Comments | 122 views]
What happened to my wonderful kaleidoscope?

The official website of the “Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner” of India mentions that, “Religion returns in Indian census provide a wonderful kaleidoscope of the country s rich social composition..”.  It also proudly states that “In fact, population census has the rate distinction of being the only instrument that collets the information son this diverse and important characteristic of the Indian population.(sic)”.  The site has a helpful and neat table of data from the 2001 census on the main page as well as the distribution of population …