BJP prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi kicked off his election bid from Varanasi, an ancient seat of Hinduism, with a blog beholden to city’s multicultural traditions. Read more

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Not so long ago, it was widely presumed that, in a modernizing and fast-growing India, sickening religious clashes aimed at garnering votes would be a thing of the past. The western UP rioting, like those preceding it in Bihar, points to the opposite. “Communal polarization” has staged a comeback. Read more

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I despise the term ‘Liberal Muslim’, although sometimes I use it for the sake of convenience. It is invariably used in a patronizing way and it perpetuates, what I call, the “zoo effect”. Read more

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As expected, the Gujarat elections could hardly have escaped national attention. Narendra Modi will have probably won the polls even before the last votes are counted. This nation is at the crossroads: a demagogic leader, conceited in thoughts and uncompromising in actions, is wiping clean his past with the present. He could soon push India into a phase of unilateral politics, ascending to the very top. This could also mean less legroom for India’s much-vaunted democracy. Read more

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The Yamuna Expressway, a 165-km, six-lane glistening north Indian motorway, which a newspaper aptly described as the Yamunabahn, has cut by half the travel time between Delhi and Agra, the Taj Mahal city. Read more

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India’s political scene, viewed from the peephole of the Presidential election, is fluid but one with interesting foreshadowings. Read more

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A significant mass of this nation, after 60-odd years of nationhood, still lacks a heart. It cannot bear the sight of even crumbs being given to minorities. Read more

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To not know Bhupen Hazarika is like living in a dark dungeon of a dark continent in the dark ages. Read more

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Affirmative action or “reservation” for Muslims is back on the political table. The ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition has more or less decided to pull it off, we are told. But those least excited about this supposedly game-changing idea are Muslims themselves. Read more

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I do not know what the cultured political stalwarts of the BJP have to say about it, but Narendra Modi, Gujarat’s chief minister, let a great opportunity slip when he turned down a Muslim skullcap and a keffiyah, a traditional tussled kerchief, offered to him as mementos recently. Read more

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