Premchand. Raja Ram Mohun Roy. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. What do they all have in common? A Madarsa education, I shoud say. And that never stopped them from achieving greater heights that those opposed to Madarsas might presume. One became a great story teller, the other a social reformer ahead of his time and the third a great educationist. So what has gone wrong with Madarsas today – if at all?

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After the BJP wins nearly a hundred seats in the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, it seems a bit much for BJP leader Vijay Goel to threaten migrants from these states with deportation/prevention of free movement into Delhi – it reminds me of the time when Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had made a similar statement soon after his party came to power in Maharashtra. Read more

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I must begin by disclosing my vested interest in writing this particular blog post. Some might call it a plug (which in a way it is) but I wished to familiarise a wider readership with Bal Thackeray and what he really was and meant to Bombay and Maharashtra – and that is why I wrote the book “Hindu Hriday Samrat : How the Shiv Sena changed Mumbai forever’’. Read more

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clearly thinks Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is his best minister. But many of his party men are not so easily convinced. Read more

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It says much about us, in the media, that not a single newspaper, television channel or news agency, had the faintest clue that the UPA 2 government was preparing to hang 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab on November 21, five days before the fourth anniversary of the terror attack. Read more

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“You used to be such a good girl! What’s happened to you in the last month or so?” Bal Thackeray once asked me sometime in the mid-1990s. Read more

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During his first term as chief minister of Maharashtra, I had once quizzed Vilasrao Deshmukh about the general feeling of critics that his was a lack-lustre government that was really incapable of doing anything significant for the people. Read more

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When Sharad Pawar split the Congress in 1999, he had hoped that the whole of the party will rally behind him and that Sonia Gandhi will be just left with herself and a handful of her close supporters. Read more

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Noticed a little but not much commented upon earlier this year was the fact that for the first time in a decade or more, the BJP had lost its Ayodhya seat in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. Now the party has lost a graduates’ seat from the Konkan which it had held for 40 years in the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Read more

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