Evelyn Waugh : 50 years on – Nicholas Shakespeare

Evelyn Waugh: 50 years on   In 1933, a group of naked Amazonian Indians who had never before seen a white man encountered a young traveller from North London wrapped in a red blanket, lame in both feet, and covered from head to toe in insect bites. Their thoughts are not recorded by the Englishman, […]

Read more

Rituals of Writing – Amitava Kumar

Rituals of Writing (Written for Hindustan Times  for May 3rd, 2015) I am writing this on a train. It is dark outside, the dark window reflecting the interior of the bright-lit train car, the beige plastic seats, the metal overhead racks. I can see in the dark glass the girl on the seat across from me. […]

Read more

The sanctioned, sleeping beauties awake – Manjeet Kripalani

The sanctioned, sleeping beauties awake (Written for Gateway House  on June 2nd, 2016) There is something about American sanctions on countries. They are thorough. They are brutal. They strangle the financial system and beggar the population, demonise the leadership, provoke capital and elite flight, and entrench the very regimes they are trying to punish. Yet, they […]

Read more

A conundrum called Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India – Kiran Nagarkar

A conundrum called Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. Kiran Nagarkar (Written for Sueddeutsche Zeitung)   Let me start with an anecdote. Just a few months after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, I got an invitation from the German Ambassador in India to meet Mr Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister who was […]

Read more

The cause of Problems – Ramachandra Guha

The cause of problems – What some Kashmiris owe other Kashmiris (Written for The Telegraph on September 3rd, 2016)   I was reading a recent interview with Adonis, the great Syrian poet who is frequently mentioned as a contender for the Nobel Prize in literature. Asked about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in West Asia, and the […]

Read more

Too Many Mistakes – Ramachandra Guha

Too many mistakes – What the rest of India owes Kashmir and Kashmiris (Written for The Telegraph on September 2nd, 2016)   In the late summer and early autumn of 2010, the valley of Kashmir was gripped with protest, discontent, violence and suffering, just as it is now. In August 2010, when the troubles had entered their […]

Read more

Happy Under the Padishah – Zareer Masani

Happy Under the Padishah (Written for Outlook India Magazine)   It’s a measure of Tipu Sultan’s charisma that, two centuries on, an Australian histo­rian has spent most of her academic life studying the man and his reign. But this skimpy book (131 pages of text) does justice to neither her complex subject nor her own presumably extensive […]

Read more

The Man who Invented Poetry – Annie Zaidi

The Man Who Invented Poetry The violence and passion of Afzal Ahmed Syed (Written for Caravan Magazine on June 1st, 2016) My first encounter with the work of the Karachi-based Urdu poet Afzal Ahmed Syed left me feeling like I’d been handed a beautiful, breakable object with jagged edges, glazed with a grief that is at once […]

Read more

The Gallic Shrug Survives in North America – Sam Cutler

THE GALLIC SHRUG SURVIVES IN NORTH AMERICA ! How cool it is to see people talking on their mobile phones in the province of Quebec, here in Canada. The only thing that seems to be moving when Americans and Aussies talk on their cell-phones is their jaws, whereas here in Francophile Canada people are an avalanche of animation with […]

Read more

10 Rules of Writing – Amitava Kumar

10 rules of Writing (Written for The Indian Quarterly) Illustration by Hazel Karkaria When I was promoted to the rank of professor, the library at the university where I was then employed asked me to send them the name of a book that had been useful to me in my career. I chose VS Naipaul’s […]

Read more

A Lovely Wedding – Nayantara Sahgal

A Lovely Wedding (Written for Day of Reckoning)   There were times when words seemed to have lost their meaning. This was one of them. Vira was on the phone telling Priti about the lovely wedding she and Ranbir had attended last evening. It had been in the new seven=star hotel. The bride wore a sari […]

Read more