How India’s T20 World Cup Win Changed Indian and World Cricket

“I was looking at the end of my career when T20 came in. I played my first T20 for Surrey. Yes, World Cup victory in 2007 changed the entire scene. I played 3 IPLs. The first one was a major challenge. While it took me 4 overs to warm up otherwise, I had to produce results in 4 overs in IPL. It was said that the RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) was the best test team of the century. Everything was against us.”, Anil Kumble quipped in his inimitable style. Continue reading “How India’s T20 World Cup Win Changed Indian and World Cricket”

Separated at Birth – India & Pakistan at 70

The realization of true ramifications of the partition of India would be perhaps an ever-developing phenomenon and the people of the divided regions would have to look back at the tragic beginnings of the process every once in awhile. When we stand at a distance of about 70 years from the partition, it would serve us well to look back and measure our progress in all the years in between then and now. The session ‘Separated at Birth – India & Pakistan at 70’ was aimed at such an introspection and a measured reflection of the ever vacillating fortunes of the two countries.

Journalist and filmmaker Adrian Levy, Lt. General Kamal Davar who has written ‘Tryst With Perfidy – Pakistan and its Deep State’, Former IFS officer and Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan (2013-15) TCA Raghavan, and feminist publisher and writer who has authored ‘Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition’ formed the panel with Nitin Pai, the co-founder and director of the Takshashila Institution playing the moderator. Nitin Pai brought in Bangladesh too to the equation and asked Raghavan about what Pakistan got right in the last 70 years. Raghavan began by explaining how the partition was an event that affected not only India and Pakistan but there were about three to four more partitions that took place at the same time. With India and Pakistan, Punjab was divided and also Bengal was divided. The Pathans were divided by the Durand line between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Apart from these, the Muslim community itself got divided. This partition did cast a shadow that continues to live till today. Coming to the question of what Pakistan had done right, Raghavan quoted a South Korean Ambassador who once told him that he envied our relationship with Pakistan pertaining to the shared lifestyle and choices. This was because we are doing just fine when compared to South Korea – North Korea. Pakistan and India also worked together on the complex issue of the Indus water sharing.

Pai asked Davar if the Indian army had an admiration for the Pakistani army. Davar admitted that both the armies shared a common root and hence there is a sense of admiration but the attitude from the other side had been myopic and they have harboured a pathological and obsessive hatred towards India. In the same breath, he also appealed to all the political parties that when it came to the issues of national security, they must not politicize them.

At this point, Ritu was invited to bring in the Bangladesh angle by the moderator. Ritu said that she was essentially a partition family and life had become a before and post-partition phenomenon in her growing up years. “The partition was being lived by the divided families and not by the army or the government.”, said Ritu. Ritu explained that she had started studying the partition from all the three perspectives of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and found out that the partition study was essentially a preoccupation of the Indians. While Pakistan developed a new nation narrative and Bangladesh developed a revolution centric narrative, they never had a desire to look back at partition. Ritu lamented the absence of any kind of historiography of Pakistan and Bangladesh partition. For her, the partition has remained an unfinished business for all the three countries. “Even for the partition of Bengal in 1905 and 1911, no one really knows anything.”, added Ritu.

Adrian joined the discussion from a traveller’s perspective. Since he has travelled extensively on both sides of the border and has not been tainted by diplomacy, he has seen a struggle for democracy in both the countries. He spoke of successive failures of democracy in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif’s ouster being the latest, and how this was a bad thing for India. On a euphemistic tone, Adrian told the audience that Imran Khan who calls himself a crusader for freedom of speech and democratic values, owns the largest residential property in the protected green belt of Islamabad and the wastewater from his wash dumps into the reservoir that supplies water to the city implying that Imran Khan was perhaps doing the same to the country. Adrian also spoke about the role of China and Iran in the equation.

While Dawar admitted being an unabashed admirer of Indira Gandhi for her role in one of the most crucial victories of the Indian military, Raghavan said that leaders like Indira Gandhi or Bhutto in Pakistan had a deeply divided legacy. However, it was also true that the democratic institutions of India have always set a benchmark for the neighbouring countries.

The panellists mutually agreed that India has at times exaggerated its role in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Raghavan said, “Pakistan has 200 million people and is nuclear-armed. What India can do to foster democracy in Pakistan is a superficial question. It is for the people of Pakistan to do it. All we can do is play immediate neighbours.”

Nationalism, Populism and the Threat to the Global Liberal Order

6pm on 29th October | 2nd Day of the Bangalore Literature Festival – connoisseurs of literature moved through different directions; some took the left, another set walked from the right, and a few had to take the centre (political correctness?). Notwithstanding the route wished, granted, or taken, the feet of democracy converged at ‘Speak Up’ venue of the Bangalore Literature Festival to register their attendance for the numero-uno on the  best-selling sessions list of the day titled ‘Nationalism, Populism and the Threat to the Global Liberal Order’.

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Festering Wounds – The 1984 Riots

While the session was titled ‘Festering Wounds – The 1984 Riots’, Preeti Gill, who is an independent editor and literary agent and someone who experienced the horror of 1984 first hand, broke ice with the panelists suggesting that to address the ‘84 violence as riots would be a tremendous mistake. According to Gill, it was a premeditated ethnic cleansing and a pogrom. She spoke of her brush with the 1984 violence and narrated how she was spared only because she didn’t wear any identification mark of a Sikh.

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The Plumbing Problem in India’s primary education

Pablo Picasso famously said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” While Picasso would have thought of any child of any nationality in general while having to make such a statement, citizens of Bangalore had a more localized version of it to mull over on the evening of 26th of October, 2017 inside the premises of Alliance Francaise. Eminent Historian and Author Ramachandra Guha extended a warm welcome to American French economist Esther Duflo, who is the Co-founder and Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was delivering the 11th New India Foundation Lecture titled – ‘Every Child Counts; How to fix Primary Education in India?’ Continue reading “The Plumbing Problem in India’s primary education”

Firecrackers are Anti-Hindu, not the Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court has prohibited the sale of firecrackers in New Delhi and NCR region and daggers have been drawn. The noise on twitter post the decision has been shriller than any of the crackers sold during Diwali season can produce. For many, like every other debate in our country today, this has become a Hindu identity versus other religions. There are others who are pitching 364 other days against this 1 day and defending the sale and usage of fire-crackers. There are also people who are rationally calling for bans on a lot of other pollutants that are more poisonous and hence more harmful. I stand by the last lot.

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Orwell’s Dunkirk

Internet is perhaps the most democratic country you can get. I concede that it has its own ugliness but show me one democratic country that doesn’t have its claws soaked in viciousness? With all its traps and tribulations, this is how a free and open society would perhaps look like. Finders of information and seekers of knowledge never had a better time in the history of humanity.

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The Secular Facade of Indian Politics

An India Today article quotes from the autobiography of Kuldip Nayar Beyond the lines: An autobiography (Source). Kuldip Nayar writes, “It was Sanjay Gandhi, known for his extra-constitutional methods, who suggested that some ‘Sant’ should be put up to challenge the Akali government. Both Sanjay and Zail Singh, particularly the latter, knew how the former Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon had fought the Akalis. He had built up Sant Fateh Singh against Master Tara Singh, the Akali leader, who had become a hard nut to crack. Zail Singh and Darbara Singh, who was a Congress Working Committee member and later became chief minister, selected two persons for Sanjay’s evaluation.

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A Gaurakshak meets Swami Vivekananda

“The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth.

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Patanjali Yoga Sutras – Know Thy Self

“The simplest meaning of the word sutra is “thread”. A sutra is, so to speak, the bare thread of an exposition, the absolute minimum that is necessary to hold it together, unadorned by a single “bead” of elaboration. Only essential words are used. Often, there is no complete sentence-structure. There was a good reason for this method. Sutras were composed at a period when there were no books. The entire work had to be memorized, and so it had to be expressed as tersely as possible Patanjali’s Sutras, like all others, were intended to be expanded and explained. The ancient teachers would repeat an aphorism by heart and then proceed to amplify it with their own comments, for the benefit of their pupils. In some instances these comments, also, were memorized, transcribed at a later date, and thus preserved for us.”

From the Translators’ Foreword.

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उलझते बंधन – Rakshabandhan Special

करीब १२-१३ बरस का था। नए पड़ोसी आये थे उस दिन। माँ ने मुझे उनकी मदद करने के लिए भेजा। एक ट्रक भर कर सामान था। काफी चीज़ें थीं। घर में उनके बस सिन्हा अंकल खुद, उनकी पत्नी और उनकी बेटी थी। आंटी और बेटी तो अंदर बैठ गए, सो मैंने और अंकल ने मिलकर सारा सामान उतारा और अंदर रखा। थालियाँ, चम्मच, मिक्सर ग्राइंडर – मुझसे तो यही उठ रहे थे। करीब तीन से चार घंटों में ये काम पूरा हुआ। अंकल ने अंदर आकर बैठने को कहा। यही सोचकर कि कुछ खाने पीने को मिलेगा, मैं अंदर बैठ गया।

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