For much of the last year, I have been dabbling with new media. It’s not as though I have given up writing this column or appearing on TV, but I have tried to combine the old media stuff I have always done with some new things. Read more
On December 6, 1992, as the Babri Masjid was falling, eye witnesses saw L.K. Advani – who was present on the occasion – getting increasingly agitated and emotional. Eventually, when it was clear that it was too late to halt the demolition, other party leaders, among them Pramod Mahajan, took Advani back to the guest house where he was staying. Read more
It is tempting to dismiss the furore over Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from the BJP as a matter of no great consequence. After all, the BJP is a party that is out of power and seemingly in terminal decline. Jaswant Singh is at the end of his career and even if the BJP does manage to recapture power in five years’ time, he would probably have been too old to play an active role in the next government. 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
Two of last week’s events offer some indication of how badly India’s politicians cope with the legacies of dynasty, patronage, wheeling and dealing, and communalism. By some coincidence, both relate to the BJP. But my guess is that they could have happened in any party. Read more
Those sections of the commentariat who urged the government to get into a confrontation with its allies over the nuclear deal had predicted that the popularity of the deal would lift the government’s own standing. India would be so thrilled, we were told, by the sight of a regime that fought bravely for the right to be allowed to buy uranium that the Prime Minister would be hailed as a hero and the government’s own image would be secured.
When it comes to the Gujarat election, nothing is as simple as it seems. Take the BJP, for instance. It is a party in disarray, confounded by the virtual withdrawal of AB Vajpayee from public life, demolished in Uttar Pradesh, at war with itself and desperately in search of a coherent ideology. You would expect that because Gujarat offers the BJP its single best hope of a morale-boosting victory, the party would do everything possible to win the election.