Frits Staal, a Dutch Indologist and Sanskrit scholar, died on February. I read one of his latest books on the Vedas last year. It was a wonderful read, especially in describing the Athirathram, an ancient Vedic ritual that included a construction of a fire altar shaped like a bird.

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There is a curious divide between the popular Indian view of the relationship between New Delhi and Tehran — and how it is perceived within official circles in New Delhi. Read more

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The Maldivian political crisis is a suitable reminder of how difficult it is to run a sphere of influence. This archipelago nation should be a snap for New Delhi. Read more

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US President Barack Obama, facing a tight election, used this year’s State of the Union address no less to call for an end to supposed tax breaks that rewarded US firms who exported jobs overseas. Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, whose government is no less embattled, declared a few days later that outsourcing was a benefit for both the US and India. “Protectionism ultimately does not help the country that resorts to it,” he declared. Read more

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