Dilip D'Souza is not Dinesh D'Souza. Nor is he related to him. But he has had the joy of dining with him once. Other than that, Dilip tries to balance his writing, a part-time software job and lots of inertia. The inertia usually wins.
I Analyze A Lump - November 16, 2002
'Fifty-five years after Independence, we have built a place whose defining national characteristic may soon be hatred.'
In search of discredit - November 9, 2002
'Exalted as the Gills and Jaitleys are, common sense is not something they have in abundance. Or they would have known that questions are like the Hydra. You cut off one, you raise dozens more.'
Watery countdown - November 3, 2002
'So charged is the Narmada issue that no political party in Gujarat can afford to ignore it. They will all vie to make claims, one more remarkable than the next.'
Certain kinds of people - October 25, 2002
'We may have our religious differences, economic differences, all that; but in India, our ultimate reality is caste. No doubt about it.'
What A Lovely Water War! - October 14, 2002
'Water from dams is supplied to farmers at absurdly low rates. They pay nowhere near what it has cost to bring it to them, nowhere near what would make them use it wisely. As a result, they pour it onto their fields with abandon.'
Hope in a time of death - October 4, 2002
'If that famous son of Gujarat taught us anything, perhaps it was about courage. Perhaps it was about the courage to listen.'
And The Games Played On - September 28, 2002
'Following the massacre of over forty brother and sister Indians in Akshardham, we found two ways to grieve for them: playing games and choosing to bleed our country ourselves. What do you think would they have wanted to be remembered like that?'
No, It Wasn't A Mistake - September 24, 2002
'We live in an age of competitive victimhood: your suffering is nothing compared to mine. Every kind of group is able to define itself only by how horribly it has been oppressed, or brutalised, or beaten into submission; more than that, this definition works only if it can be presented as positively the worst suffering in human history. For the suffering is then used to justify any excesses the group itself perpetrates.'
Cracks in the Tracks - September 19, 2002
'If you reach your destination safely the next time you take a train in India, call it luck. Because maybe that's all it is. But please also remember those who died in the Rajdhani accident in Rafiganj. They were not so lucky.'
The More Things Change - September 11, 2002
'No, I suspect that, despite September 11th, much of the world goes about its daily life in much the same way as it did "before." '
Twilight City - September 4, 2002
'In more ways than one, Dharavi, the throbbing heart of Bombay is India. Also in more ways than one, it forces you to see what India could be, and what's holding it back.'
Insinuation Rules - August 28, 2002
'To Modi and Togadia at this time, the only thing that matters is that James Michael Lyngdoh has a Christian name. Therefore, he is anti-Hindu.'
Living the Catastrophe - August 21, 2002
'Worst of all, development has produced an elite -- you and me -- that has learned to shut its eyes and pretend that India is "progressing."'
Just like me - August 14, 2002
'Hatred and war are the easy options, which is why there are enough people in India and Pakistan demanding them.'
The tape goes round and round - August 6, 2002
'For his murky deeds, Sanjay faces the law. For his, Sarpotdar spent years actually making our laws. Do you see a difference? This time, I do.'
Off the topic, on with the killing - July 30, 2002
'Let's get used to it: there will never be an end to Indians killing other Indians as we saw in Gujarat. Not as long as we let ourselves think of such massacres as "old and outdated subjects".'
Meanwhile in Bhopal - June 15, 2002
'The intricate levels of injustice, of trickery, of double-speak, of sheer bull-headed indifference to the condition of ordinary human Indians, are truly beyond comprehension.'
Whiskers, Whisky, Whisked Away - June 8, 2002
'There's only one way to stop the shameless mooching we are watching in Maharashtra: a law that says that if you defect after you are elected, you are debarred from contesting an election ever again.'
Time for the Trump - June 1, 2002
'Jammu happened, and suddenly Vajpayee and gang had their trump card out. War on Pakistan! they shouted, and within minutes all their fellow politicians, whatever their party, and the rest of us had fallen in line.'
All Aboard The Mainstream - May 27, 2002
'All India's problems, the callers tell us, will be solved when non-Hindus think of themselves as "Muslim Hindus," or "Christian Hindus," or "Sikh Hindus." We must join up for the mainstream gravy train, and all will be well. Such a fine prescription, really!'
Life and death: the pseudo-patriot way - May 18, 2002
'Left to themselves, these patriots in two countries will lead us all -- a fifth of humankind on this subcontinent -- into mass carnage, widespread destruction and nuclear nothingness. That's patriotism for you.'
George tells the 'truth' - May 4, 2002
'What Fernandes wants to do, because above all else he wants to continue as defence minister for a while longer, is to take away the greatest weapon we ordinary citizens have: our outrage.'
The ABC of violence - April 27, 2002
'Nine years on, so much has changed around us. But when it comes to hatred and violence between religions, nothing has changed. Nothing.'
Bet you didn't know: Traitors are traitors - April 20, 2002
'Vajpayee's purpose has been achieved: he has put the impression of violent Muslims, whom nobody can get along with, into peoples' minds.'
Across the Great Divide - April 16, 2002
'Why does the trip of Kashmiri Pandits to Gujarat fill me with hope? Because like the visit of those Nimad farmers to Kutch, this is a demonstration that there are still people who are willing to bridge the divide.'
Rot-Fed Wrath - April 6, 2002
'Blood flowing from his arm, my driver is doubled up in pain. The broken off piece of the lathi lies on the ground. I look at him, at it, at the grinning crowd that has gathered. It takes all I have not to scream: What is happening in Gujarat?'
A Question of Hatreds - March 30, 2002
'Nothing is gained by thinking of the other guy as an ogre. It might help me vindicate my own beliefs, but it doesn't help us find solutions.'
Maybe We Must Remember - March 25, 2002
'In the seamless expressway of injustice and death, Daniel Pearl and Sanjoy Ghose are not even milestones. Not even speedbumps. Just blips. Two more deaths of two more men.'
Vignettes from the Ides of March - March 15, 2002
'Two weeks ago, much of Gujarat erupted into human flames. Bhuj and Kutch did not. Why? Perhaps the quake left them more aware of humanity and the meaning of suffering.'
Till Retaliation Do Us Part - March 8, 2002
In this horrible time, what happened in Gujarat made a simple point: 'retaliation' against an entire faith for the crime of a few is not only justified, but something to be expected, even encouraged.
Memories of Resolution and Resolve - March 3, 2002
Vajpayee stands in the grave he dug for himself, very cynically and deliberately, in 1989. He and his party wanted to get into power and they knew this resolution was but one step on the road there.
Big Black Beauties In My Home - February 22, 2002
'Those of you too young to remember LPs, or records are welcome to come gawk at my collection sometime. Prior appointment recommended. Bring a stock of suitable awe.'
Peaceful Democratic Fantasy - February 8, 2002
'Hindutva's heroes lose no opportunity to tell us that the demolition of that 16th-century mosque was actually a great redemption of honour. Which doesn't quite square with shutting down a film that depicts how they went about that redemption.'
You Keep The Company You Keep - February 1, 2002
'Yes, if Enron is threatening disgrace for some prominent names on that other side of the world that hardly means prominent Enron-touched names here in India are facing anything similar. In fact, they are facing nothing at all.'
The Republic, in Kutch - January 26, 2002
'When I meet people like Lakshmi and Amina, and feel first-hand their spirit and courage -- that's when I am proud. These are the things, the people above all, that make the India I find so energizing. The India I salute.'
Climb Every Crane - January 22, 2002
'Tenzin Tsundue had reminded the Chinese premier that Tibet will not be swept under some bland Chinese carpet, forgotten forever. And I was left wondering: what drives a man to take a risk like that?'
The School Is the Insult - January 14, 2002
'Our educational system faces some very serious problems, but revamping history books is not one of them.'
I Cannot See The Dignity - December 31, 2001
'The profoundest truth about war is surely that it so dehumanises us. It turns everything we know and cherish about ourselves, our notions of civility and civilisation, into so much blood-spattered tripe.'
Careful what you close - December 24, 2001
'If closing of ranks is such a desirable thing, why not call for it more often, pursue its perceived benefits at other times? Why wait till such time as thugs attack Parliament to long so loudly for it?'
Themselves the authorities - December 17, 2001
'It is ludicrous to believe that the terrorists drove their Ambassador into the Lok Sabha premises because India is a democracy. I'm not even convinced that a lot of those Lok Sabha members truly know what democracy is or believe in it anyway.'
In early December every year - December 7, 2001
'Indeed it is one great Indian shame that we remain profoundly unable or unwilling to punish those who commit crimes.'
A Letter Comes From MP - December 1, 2001
'Madhya Pradesh has proposed to give displaced people "the option" of cash compensation for giving up their land. It blithely ignores the equally explicit dangers of doling out cash.'
The Figures Say It All - November 23, 2001
'The creation of this new law, POTO, is no guarantee that we will see a reduction in crime. If the government is unwilling to enforce the laws that we already have, why should we allow them to put another law in our books?'
Roaming on the Rajdhani - November 16, 2001
"Aunty, main pahunch gaya!" Almost simultaneously, I hear a chorus ripple through the coach. Many more Rajdhani passengers have established contact with the Aunties. Helll-ooo Delhi! Happy Diwali, all. Aunties too.'
I'm Not OK, You're Not OK - November 9, 2001
'Punish crime wherever it happens. Whether in the name of Islam or Catholicism, whether for the protection of Hinduism, whether to preserve the supposed integrity of Russia. Do it among our own first of all.'
Dancing Girl Stays Home and Minds Baby - November 3, 2001
'All through the film, as I watched the dancing girls sway to and fro, I wondered: is this our culture? Indian culture? Why or why not?'
Why They Call it a Black Day - October 19, 2001
'When the court has been asked to consider the pros and cons of a project, what does it mean to accept the evidence that praises, but to throw out the evidence that damns?'
SIMI-larly, Let's Ban Partiality - October 13, 2001
'The ban on SIMI had nothing to do with its criminal activities. It had everything to do with simple political expediency. It is just this kind of partiality that breeds the terror that we are so anxious to fight.'
To Civilisation, Take 2 - October 4, 2001
'What has India done that has brought us the continuing tragedy in Kashmir? "Nothing", you think? If so, is it plausible that the US has done nothing either? That a group of men just woke up one day so filled with hatred that
they conceived the enormous crime of September 11?'
To Civilisation, If I Can Find Her - September 28, 2001
'First, find and punish the men responsible, bin Laden if it was him. Not by landing a gigantic force in a ravaged country, but by the same kind of tight, focused operation that found gruesome success on September 11.'
Silent About Many Things - September 20, 2001
'You tell me: is the knowledge that murderers and their instigators live openly down the road from me any less, or more, terrifying than the knowledge that other such scum live in hideouts in Karachi or Afghanistan?
From Americans Themselves: Thoughts After Terror - September 14, 2001
'What a remarkable thing it is that the Mayor of New York, in the middle of rage against bin Laden and Arabs and Muslims, announces that his short-staffed police force will also protect Muslims and Arabs. Remarkable, because in my city, a police officer is actually being prosecuted for leading an attack on a Muslim-owned bakery eight years ago.'
No Safety Harness - September 10, 2001
'In the way that we combine natural disasters, an unshakeable faith in a "development" that often only worsens our problems, and a steady disinterest in the plight of the most vulnerable of our countrywomen: yes,
we may just be unique.'
Doing The Atrophy - August 30, 2001
'I cannot imagine a more fitting example of a threat to national security than men who destroy hospitals -- not even enemies do that during wars.'
See You At The Lynching - August 21, 2001
'Because people believe without question in the logic of race and caste, they do horrifying things. Those beliefs must be fought. The logic must be fought.'
Burning Down The Home - August 10, 2001
'In this modern India whose fondest aspiration is to a seat on the UN Security Council -- in this India, there are patients whom we chain to doors and beds in an mental "asylum." They actually have the gall to call this an "asylum!"
Death of a Conundrum - August 2, 2001
'Was Phoolan Devi a mass-murderer? Or was she a heroic battler against centuries of caste oppression?'
The Sand Between Two Dams - July 26, 2001
'One dam drove the Kahars out of the fruit business. So they began quarrying sand. A decade
later, another dam threatens to drive them out of sand quarrying.'
No Fault Of Mine - July 15, 2001
'Blaming Pakistan for our ills is now profoundly part of our ideas of who we are as a nation. As patriotic Indians, we must believe the worst about Pakistan, hate its citizens. Just as much, no doubt, as patriotic Pakistanis are asked to hate India and Indians. Somewhere in there is the true Indian tragedy of Kashmir.'
Ticket to Madras, By George - July 9, 2001
'Most galling is that men as Fernandes and Vajpayee take the moral high road, and even pretend
outrage at Jayalalithaa's antics. After all, it is their connivance that helped her get to where she is.'
Chicken Tikka Masala For The Soul - April 26, 2001
'Robin Cook's statements about immigration are really the
heart of the matter. In India as in Britain, it is futile, besides wrong, to pretend that stopping
immigration will fix our problems.'
Up On The Dam - March 27, 2001
'What motivates ordinary rural folks to object to
all those conventional notions of "progress" and "development", to confront
the might of the state in doing so? Would you do the same?'
No Questions Please, Just Pass The Blue Label - March 15, 2001
'Young Indian soldiers die in a war that continues because it is traitorous to ask questions about it. They die in a war that must be kept going so that despicable men can get their supplies of Blue Label.'
Your Regression, My Honour, We All Fall Down - March 9, 2001
'How is it that Vajpayee's destruction was a rejuvenation of Hinduism, and just coincidentally a fine device to grab for power, but the Taleban's destruction "represents a further obscurantist regression"? What's the difference, really?'
Quake Diary III: What I Thought - February 26, 2001
'Lirabhai knows the farmers and the NBA are just as concerned about water as he is. Another irony is it had to take an earthquake to bring these people from these two "sides" together.'
Quake Diary II: What It Brought - February 21, 2001
'I salute the spirit of the Nashik group, the Delhi traders, but I hope we will last longer in our camp than two meals. I hope we will approach relief with more thought than to throw
things blindly off trucks.'
Quake Diary: What It Wrought - February 16, 2001
'In my wandering through Kutch, I am awed and overwhelmed by the rubble that lies everywhere. There's an immediacy to visiting this sad collection of debris that no photograph can capture. I try, but I am utterly unable to understand the forces that can shake like this. Break like this.'
Most Valuable Commodity - January 29, 2001
'Why are our Indian tragedies invariably vastly greater than elsewhere, to the point that they simply numb us?'
Bury It, Still Hissing, Under A Rock - January 26, 2001
'Half a century of fighting fire has only left Kashmir burning and bleeding. We do need another answer, yes. Persisted with despite the peddlers of hostility, this ceasefire is that answer.'
Looking Forward To a Third - January 19, 2001
'Despite it being Wadekar vs Pawar, what the Mumbai Cricket Association election really boils down to is Thackeray vs Pawar.'
But is Hypocrisy Our Culture? - January 11, 2001
I cannot see anything objectionable in prostitution. Nor in accepting it as part of the living, breathing culture that is ours. What is objectionable, therefore, is the foolish claim that "selling the female body is not our culture."
Potato Head Hypothesising - January 4, 2001
'Much has been said about how the NBA should accept the Supreme Court's judgment as is. If the NBA disagrees with the verdict, we are told, it would be no different from such groups as the VHP that vow never to accept an adverse judicial verdict in the Ayodhya tangle.'
Catch Snatched At The Match - December 26, 2000
'The weary cricketers consumed about 253 pitchers of
beer and some 15 bottles of Old Monk Rum. A fun time was had by all, which is why I suggest you imbibe the same quantity of the same stuff this upcoming New Year Eve.'
The National Interest: Take My Vote Away - December 21, 2000
'I could make a plausible case for other causes apart from the Ram temple that might be matters for "national sentiment": drinking water, or reasonable health care, or basic education, to name only a couple. Yet PM Vajpayee has never pronounced on the sentiment for such causes.'
Hungry for Power on December 6 - December 6, 2000
'Enron's power is so expensive that MSEB cannot afford it; but because they cannot afford it, they must pay a penalty for not buying it. Such is the contract MSEB has signed. Yossarian, welcome to Maharashtra. Do bring a supply of "D" cells with you.'
Under Where The Issues Are - November 30, 2000
'In Bombay, I have a strong feeling the legislators will soon be making a very legitimate demand indeed, one that also reflects the humble yearnings of all humanity: that the Nobel Prize be renamed the Chhatrapati Shivaji Puraskar.'
Patriots At Work - November 20, 2000
'If patriots must lie and insinuate to win public favour, we have slid a long way indeed from the times of Gandhi and Azad, Nehru and Patel. Who will save us from these patriots of today?'
Two leaflets after a strike - November 16, 2000
'No, it makes no sense to let municipal workers get whatever they demand, especially when they so crassly use water as a weapon. But surely it makes no sense either to close our eyes to the constant problems so many Indians have in just getting water, or in coping with filth.'
Harm done to us - November 9, 2000
'Holding on to Kashmir has brought us to where we deliberately kill Indians and pretend they are foreign militants. Is it patriotism that lurks here? Or depravity? If this perversion is the price of keeping Kashmir, I am not willing to pay it. Are you?
I encroach, but I still am - November 3, 2000
'What would you think if your home was torn down one morning? What would you think if you were not given any warning? What would you think if you were told it was pulled down to pretty up your neighborhood?'
The Night Before Diwali - October 28, 2000
'Despite the innumerable dams we have built in the name of "progress" and "development," we have more poor Indians today than there were Indians in 1947. The gap between our poor and the rest of us widens visibly every day. Because it does, some of us learn to stand outside gates. The rest of us learn how -- even though they stand there, only a few feet away -- to ignore them. That has been our particular taste of "development."'
'We never had to give up our homes so a dam could be built' - October 20, 2000
'The Supreme Court judgement (on the Sardar Sarovar project) is tragic. It tells millions of Indians, in hundreds of thousands of little villages to give up hope. What's more, it also tells them they must also give up their homes and lives so other Indians may be given good things.'
God Save Us From Bigotry: Or Will He? - October 13, 2000
'Yes, give me agnosticism any day. Maybe nobody notices us, but at least we would have to manufacture bigotry on our own if we wanted it. Not have it handed to us on a platter by our very own faith.'
What He Died For - October 4, 2000
'"What did my son die for?" I had no answer. For these are just the questions I have asked myself countless times since that Kargil war began.'
Please sir, it's been eight years - September 28, 2000
'All in all, you know you can wholly escape even the hint of punishment by Indian law for your Indian crimes. By the simple tactic of ensuring that time goes by.'
Some steps into a well in Ahmedabad - September 18, 2000
'Listening to young Chetan, an ardent BJP supporter, spout venom about "Mohemmedians", it occurred to me that if I were one Mr Vajpayee, I'd be intensely worried about support like young Chetan's, who are on the threshold of voting.'
Night in the City - September 6, 2000
'See how your time has been wasted? For some reason, nobody says this toeither of the drivers who have come with me. Apparently it's just me,
clearly middle-class me, whose "time has been wasted".'
The Bulb Brought The Tears - August 31, 2000
'The residents of the village Domkhedi are being drowned out of their homes and off their land to build a dam that will apparently supply drinking water and electricity to certain areas in Gujarat. It is an irony that nobody ever cared to bring Domkhedi's residents drinking water and electricity and yet their lives here is the price they must pay so others in Gujarat can enjoy those things.'
The soft option it is - August 23, 2000
'We all want India to be a powerful, confident country, a "hard" nation. This was a major reason the country turned to Vajpayee and his BJP. We wanted an alternative to Congress depravity. But Vajpayee and gang have shown us that they will choose that same soft option too. Just as the Congress always did.'
Too Many People Have Died - August 16, 2000
'When I read about the outrages in Kashmir, I despair that
there ever will be an end to it all. Sometimes I think even the desire for peace
is ebbing fast.'
The Story of a Petition - August 8, 2000
'Why had so much time passed before the case against Thackeray could come up for hearing? Precisely because adjournments requested by the Shiv Sena or the government and granted by the court repeatedly delayed the hearing of the case. Had there not been all these delays, it would have been heard and dealt with at least a year previously.'
Years That Have Passed - August 7, 2000
'Did the brave Thackeray who is supposedly never afraid to speak his mind stand by what he wrote in his editorial nearly eight years back, during his recent arrest drama? Did he make a case for freedom of speech or at least try to prove that what he wrote was no crime at all? No, he did nothing of the sort. All he could make was a namby-pamby appeal to the wishy-washy passing of time.'
Constructing the Future - July 4, 2000
'I am now neighbour to two construction sites, and can look forward to months of noise and dust.'
A Nation in Motion - June 27, 2000
Indira G perfected the art of making us believe one thing when the truth -- the stuff that was actually happening out there -- was entirely another thing.
The cook, some murderers, a PM and the ISI - June 22, 2000
'Even if we are
to believe that nobody from the BJP and its friends actually murdered that
priest and bombed those churches, the climate they have built with their
incessant insinuations and accusations can only lead to crimes like these.
It's called incitement,' says Dilip D'Souza
Gateway to silliness - June 19, 2000
'Is Indian nationhood so insecure that a few
statues and a flag on a bus threaten us? Or that a firm willing to help
repair and illuminate Bombay's best-known monument must be rejected? Far
more important, should patriotism be defined in these convoluted and rather
banal terms anyway.'
Backward Classes - June 12, 2000
'In the soul-destroying milieu, coaching classes like Chate's have
bloomed, becoming immensely lucrative enterprises.'
Six Months On, A Skull - June 5, 2000
'Some fields are barren, some have crops; cattle and the occasional farmer roam about. Nothing out of the ordinary. Everything looks essentially normal, like any rural setting anywhere in India. So why is it that, as I look around, I find myself mildly puzzled? It takes me a while to figure it out. It's the life.'
Not Kargil, Not Rioting: Just A Game
- May 29, 2000
'What is the offence in this whole cricket brouhaha? I have been trying to understand why the Central Bureau of Investigation, of all bodies, is involved. What are they investigating? What is the law that has been broken?'
Press Doldrums (Mumbai Market) - May 22, 2000
'When newspapers abdicate their responsibility to deliver the news and
turn instead to films and fashion, we might all worry a little. Because
that will only hasten us towards anarchy.'
Laughing all the way to the inquiry - May 15, 2000
'By now, surely, anybody who is so much as awake in India knows just what an
inquiry is: something the government institutes when it does not want to
Death of a soldier - May 8, 2000
'It is a source of dismay and wonder to me that nothing remotely similar
erupted over what happened to two Indian soldiers, Jamaluddin Khan and Pratap Save: not courtesy
Pakistan, but at the hands of other Indians.'
But the aircraft carrier is free - May 3, 2000
Whether I'm cynical or not, I refuse to respond to our PM's appeal by sending money to his fund. The Russian arms purchase tells me all I need to know about his real desire to help victims of drought.
A School Apart - May 24, 2000
'The Kamala Nimbkar Balbhavan in Phaltan seems to be achieving those always elusive goals -- a hand up to our depressed sections, melting away prejudices -- in the best
possible way: unobtrusively, thus effectively.'
Silence of the Hawks - May 15, 2000
'Childish pettiness from our most senior leaders -- that is the fruit of the hostility between India and Pakistan.'
Meeting with the Master - April 1, 2000
'Thanks to the faith reposed in him by a teacher, a boy who would have otherwise been assumed criminal is today a respected teacher himself in his village. One from whom we too can learn a few lessons if we listen hard enough.'
Some Sections Are Punished - March 25, 2000
'What are the implications of taking penal action against Azmi, but not against Thackeray, though both violated the very same section of the law?'
Whitewash for the White Man - March 23, 2000
'This is an appeal to you, President Clinton. Ask your Indian hosts to
show you the real India, not the whitewashed trompe l'oeil they will whiz you through. Ask that for the rest of us Indians. Because if you come to India, you should see our country as it is, as we do.'
Swarovski, whatever that is - March 19, 2000
'Is it in the larger national interest to keep huge sections of Indians
poor? To make them poorer than ever? To pursue policies that only a few
Indians benefit from, or even understand?'
The Additional Burden - March 10, 2000
'Why the continuing, shaming, reluctance to spend on primary education? Why the unchallengeable, unquenchable, never-dimming urge to spend more and more, obscenely more, on defence?'
Thirty Words About a Dam - March 3, 2000
'Medha Patkar is a publicity-seeker. Arundhati Roy should stick to her Booker prize. But what is that prompts many villagers to spend days in water that rises steadily about their bodies? What drives a shrivelled old woman on through lathi blows that break her bones?'
Intolerance: Spontaneous or Engineered? - February 26, 2000
'When it is bigotry, when it is intolerance of differing opinions, there are no religious boundaries. The defenders of the Syedna could be the defenders of German purity could be the defenders of Hinduism.'
Proud to be Simple-Minded - February 18, 2000
'It is not to say that being "proudly Indian and proudly Hindu" is a curse, or that this view should be "diluted." Hardly. But is it enough? Is pride enough? Is it enough to build a country on?'
Hypocrisy Rules - February 10, 2000
'The questions to ask are not about a ban. They are about why these men resort to this obvious fakery. Why they cannot find the fibre to say: Government employees can join any organization they feel like: from the RSS to the Jamaat-i-Islami... as long as they put in a honest day's work. That's the only Conduct Rule we have, and we will enforce it.'
Do Badly, Get A Prize - February 4, 2000
'The very parts of India that drag India down on so many counts are rewarded with greater slices of political power. The states that point the way to a better India are politically penalized for their pains.'
The Contact Us Ad - January 28, 2000
'The Constitution is a flimsy bit of paper indeed when we are unable to put criminals where they belong. Constitutional issues are all entirely meaningless when public faith in the criminal justice system has been so completely smashed.'
I Want None Of The Above
- January 20, 2000
'OK, so maybe I'm a fan of Gandhi, maybe I even think he's the greatest man this past century, but suppose I don't want to vote? Two, suppose I don't think he is the Man of the Century? Three, must an Indian automatically think Gandhi, or some other Indian alone, is the MotC? Four, can an Indian not think that Albert Einstein, or Larry Bird, is the MotC? Five, if he did think that and voted for, say, Bird, as the MotC, would he be a traitor, or any less Indian? Six, how does it matter anyway?'
Few Notice The Terror - January 13, 2000
'Mine is a government, a country, unwilling and unable to punish those responsible for terror. Mine is a country where a judge observes that "the rule of law is not meant for those who enforce [it]." Why should I, or any Indian, or anyone, believe mine is a country that wants to fight terror as seen in Kandahar?'
Hijack Afterthought: Being Tough - January 7, 2000
'While the hijack was abhorrent by itself, it did not happen by itself. Nor is it sensible to pretend that it did. As long as Kashmir remains an unresolved issue between India and Pakistan, we had better expect such incidents.'
Hostage Insanity, circa Y1.999K - December 31, 1999
'150 people suffered in that plane... More deadly attacks by militants on army establishments in Srinagar. Enormous destruction and misery in Orissa from a cyclone 2 months ago... We lurch from one crisis to another. But the millennium show must go on.'
The Attitude of Relief - December 24, 1999
'If Orissa is to be anything better than miserably poor -- which better situation this
cyclone offers the opportunity to achieve -- it deserves longer, deeper interest.'
Passion Ploy? - December 8, 1999
'Has anyone ever ridden a chariot to drum up passions about what is certainly the greatest cause of Hindu misery, greater even than a dilapidated mosque: poverty?'
'I just had to see what I could do' - December 1, 1999
'And I cannot forget P K Gupta, a thirty-year-old from a big Delhi bank. No doctor, no logistician, no expert on anything, PK seems to have seen reports on the cyclone, got up from his desk and taken the next train to Orissa. He was in Erasama with the clothes on his back and a sheet to sleep on.'
Miasma in Erasama - November 24, 1999
'The cattle, particularly, are heavy, rotting and stinking; shovelling their bodies onto the pyre needs at least three strong men, three strong stomachs. Cows, sheep, more men and women. One time, and here I cannot fight back the tears any longer, a tiny baby. Just a small black mound of cloth, hair and skin. Lying there as if flung.'
Across Your Own Great Divide - November 12, 1999
'The couples who strode onto the stage that evening had at least one thing in common: in each pair, husband and wife were from different communities. No surprise; this was, after all, an "inter-community gathering." But that in itself was not at all what made it such a thought-provoking evening for me. Instead, it was the sheer range of meanings this word "community" took on, and thus the range of marriages that were considered to bridge communities.'
In the teeth of a cyclone - November 6, 1999
'Oh sure, my brother and his wife might be swept up in relief work after the cyclone. They and
their colleagues might have been taking healthcare to people most of us
have forgotten. Who cares? In the end, that's all incidental; his name will
be used against him.'
The Danger Is In The Numbers - October 30, 1999
'Can a religion that has flourished for thousands of years, that has grown to claim one of the world's largest religious followings -- can such a religion, such a massive institution, truly be threatened by a booklet? By whatever number of conversions happen every year in India?'
Breast-Beating Over a Coup - October 22, 1999
'You can't fault them either, whether in India or in Pakistan. It's hard to believe in the virtues of democracy when democracy has given both countries the vast neglect, the sheer magnitude of problems, the craven people we are compelled to call leaders.'
40 Paise Worth of Respect, Please - October 16, 1999
'A serving of respect can serve up wonders... In and around Rajnowagarh, Gopi-babu and the PBKSKS were willing to give Sabars that respect. In one generation, the change it has wrought is remarkable. How many of us would be as willing?'
Of Gobbledygook and Balderdash - October 11, 1999
'Surely every succeeding election in India tells one growing story: that the people want their elected representatives to pay attention to their local problems. In this election, it was certainly the story of Swamy, of Maharashtra, of Sushma Swaraj.'
A Strange Obsession Or Two - October 9, 1999
'We have about 250 million children of school-going age, the man from the DAE school said. To give them all an education, he estimates we need about 12.5 million teachers. How many do we have now, I asked. He waved his hand dismissively. "As good as none," he said. And why is that? Because most teachers are very badly trained, paid and motivated. After all, teaching is everybody's last choice as a profession.'
Throw a lump for me