There was a time in the last decade of the 1990s when Bal Thackeray was ranting and screaming blue murder at the Atal Behari Vajpayee government at the Centre. Vajpayee had taken a bus to Lahore (and broght back some goats on it), had invited Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf to Agra, had attempted to build bridges to the minority Muslim community and, at one time, even donned a typical green turban.

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Recently a BJP ideologue from Gujarat, Hemant Fitter, called me to express his anguish. “I will never vote for the BJP again in my life. It will be ghor paap (a cardinal sin) if I do so and I will have to burn in hell.”
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In the early 1990s, when I had made tracks to Paris to pursue a mid-career course for journalists, I discovered that my colleagues from Latin American, African and even t Read more

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Years ago after a rather scintillating interview with Bal Thackeray, I thought I had a sort of `scoop’ of the century. The Shiv Sena was ruling Maharashtra in alliance with the BJP and the 13 day government of Atal Behari Vajpayee had just reinstated the Srikrishna commission probing the 1992-93 Bombay riots, which had earlier been dismissed by the state government. Thackeray was livid. He sent for me when I called him for a reaction – it was worth every minute spent at Matoshree to watch him letting off steam. I recorded the entire interview. Read more

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On Teachers’ Day today, I can see a lot of tributes being paid by all people to all their teachers. I learnt a lot from most of them but the tributes I saw got me thinking if there was any one in particular that I could pick out as particularly influencing my life, education and career – sadly in early life and school days I cannot think of one. Read more

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For all that Narendra Modi invited leaders of SAARC nations to his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi, just about two weeks later it seems no one is afraid of our new Prime Minister. Really. Read more

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On a day when Narendra Modi and the BJP decisively sweep the elections, I have hardly anything left to say except that I am truly stunned. I have not as much idea about states in other parts of the country to which I did not travel at these elections but I toured Maharashtra extensively and all my instincts rebel against the results – I and most of my colleagues who thought similarly are unable to fathom what went wrong for the Congress-NCP alliance. Read more

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If I had liked Narendra Modi better, I could even have been highly amused at the manner he chooses to turn every event to his advantage. But at the end of this very long drawn-out, very hot summer election, it is very clear to me that there had been no Modi wave in the country – only a media manipulation toward the same – and that Mr Modi is actually struggling to win this one and striving hard to hit the target with whichever weapon comes in handy. Read more

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