I was a month too late. At the end of July, I was due to fly to London to see Michael Jackson perform at the O2 arena at his so-called comeback series of concerts. Now I guess I’ll cancel my trip.
Unlike many of those who are in mourning this weekend, I was never a great Michael Jackson fan. I always thought he was a bit of a weirdo and a paedophile. Nor was the music that terrific. Compile a list of the 500 greatest songs of all time and I doubt if more than one or two Jackson songs will make the cut. Read more
On the grounds that there’s not a lot happening this week, I’m going to focus on something that seems slightly obscure and out of the headlines but is actually crucial to the future of India.
If you look at the way the election campaign was conducted, two sets of economic issues kept cropping up again and again. Read more
Okay, first things first. I’m not going to say I told you so — mainly because I didn’t. Nobody I know expected a Congress victory of this magnitude. The political pundits were wrong. The exit polls underestimated the Congress’ popularity in such key states as Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Even the Gandhis did not think that such a massive victory was on its way. Priyanka Gandhi told Outlook that it was “touch and go”. And her mother, always the cautious one in the family, told friends that she would be happy if the party got 150 seats or so. Ahmed Patel, the Congress’ key strategist, had a more optimistic expectation (170-180) but even he did not think that 200 was a possibility. Read more
Contrary to the impression that Rajnath Singh is trying to give, the internal war within the BJP is not winding down. It is just beginning. And contrary to the sentiments that have been put down in letters, the war is not about ideology. It is about: who runs the BJP. Read more
Around two decades ago, Prem Shankar Jha wrote a prescient piece about the coming of the new prosperity. Jha’s argument was that as India’s growth rate accelerated, this would lead to the rise of a new middle class comprising people who had benefited from the higher growth. Read more
The first time most of us heard of Mushirul Hasan was in 1992. Asked whether he supported the ban on The Satanic Verses, Hasan said that while he found the book deeply offensive, he did not believe in banning books. Read more
As the BJP begins post-mortems of its defeat in the General Election and tries to institute a generational change in its leadership, many suggestions have been put forward about how it can recast itself.
The first suggestion — made by Arun Jaitley in an article in the Indian Express — is that the party must abandon shrillness because voters prefer moderation. Read more