Why Sonia Gandhi must become Prime Minister

Sonia Gandhi seems to have turned down the opportunity to become Prime Minister. Turning down the position is tacit acceptance of the objections raised about her foreign birth. Backtracking now will knock down the message of inclusion and acceptance that both the Indian constitution and Indian people have so strongly signaled. Nothing should prevent an … Continue reading “Why Sonia Gandhi must become Prime Minister”

Gandhi and Chauri Chaura

It is my belief that Gandhism has a template that can be used to resolve many of the long-standing, seemingly intractable disputes raging around the world – the Palestinian struggle, the Sri Lankan Tamil queston, and yes, even Kashmir. It requires strong, principled leadership which goes beyond paying lip service to ‘peace processes’ and is … Continue reading “Gandhi and Chauri Chaura”

Adopt ways of Gandhi: Wolfowitz to Palestinians

Although Wolfowitz might not be the best person to advise the Palestinians, he has told them the right thing. I have long felt that the best way for the Palestinians to express their struggle for self-determination is through non-violent Gandhism. Violence brutalises. More importantly it casts a shadow of delegitimacy over many just causes. If … Continue reading “Adopt ways of Gandhi: Wolfowitz to Palestinians”

Three thoughts on Independence Day

On preserving liberty, preserving India Can we keep our Republic? All this has held for close to seven decades, so much that we take the Indian Republic’s survival for granted. Yet our confidence might be as contingent as the scepticism of many in the 1940s and ‘50s who didn’t think that the grand political project … Continue reading “Three thoughts on Independence Day”

A better way of selecting the top brass

Nothing is lost by abandoning the principle of seniority, but the armed forces need restructuring Yesterday, the Modi government decided to supersede two general officers and appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next chief of army staff. In a system where seniority has risen from a criterion to the criterion, and where “lines of … Continue reading “A better way of selecting the top brass”

On coercive majoritarianism

Why it is not about mere “intolerance” Some of the most important issues in Indian political discourse are confused by wrong language: we either misuse certain terms or just frame the issues in inappropriate words. Secularism and communalism are instances of the former. The contemporary debate over “intolerance” is an example of the latter. Acts … Continue reading “On coercive majoritarianism”

An interception in the Arabian Sea

Dissecting the national security issues The Indian Coast Guard’s interception of a suspect vessel just inside country’s exclusive economic zone in the Arabian Sea, off the Gujarat coast quickly moved from being a national security issue to a partisan political issue. While politicisation of national security is not necessarily bad in itself, the polarised circumstances … Continue reading “An interception in the Arabian Sea”

To escape the tyranny of the ignorant

Why education must outpace population growth How do societies become enlightened? If they are under authoritarian rule, a small elite can impose values of the broader population. Sometimes authoritarians—or leaders with personal charisma and political power—promote enlightenment values: Peter the Great and Kemal Ataturk, for instance, used political power to push liberal values into their … Continue reading “To escape the tyranny of the ignorant”

Robbery is not right

The ‘rights-based approach to development’ is immoral and illiberal Why was there ideological collusion in the passage of a bill that promises ‘food security’ but is certain to severely undermine India’s development path? Several reasons can be adduced—from the electoral to the conspiratorial—but what gave both the terrible bill and the even more terrible scheme … Continue reading “Robbery is not right”