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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Ramachandra Guha

The aam aadmi behind Attenborough’s Gandhi

When Richard Attenborough died recently, the tributes mostly focused on the film Gandhi. But only one of the many obituaries I saw mentioned the remarkable man who was instrumental in recreating the Mahatma’s life so eloquently on celluloid, writes Ramachandra Guha.

The poison-fruit of political partisanship

The recent heckling of Congress chief ministers sharing a stage with the prime minister is unfortunate. However, it is of a piece with a more widespread atmosphere of distrust and suspicion that pervades Indian politics, writes Ramachandra Guha.

Gandhi or Dadabhai Naoroji in Westminster?

Last month, the British foreign minister and chancellor of the exchequer visited India.  In a bid to charm their hosts they announced that a statue of Mahatma Gandhi would be erected outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

The past and future of the Congress party

The Congress’s decline is very much of its own making. The party’s high command culture has inhibited the growth of vigorous state units as chief ministers and PCC heads appointed (or dismissed) from Delhi, writes Ramachandra Guha.

Carpets red and green, long and small

The really pertinent fact about West Bengal is that it remains one of the worst-governed states of the Union, writes Ramachandra Guha.

The Indian cricket tradition of seam and swing

When India played its first Test, at Lord’s in June 1932, our strike bowlers were the fast bowler Mohammad Nissar and that master of swing and seam, L Amar Singh. The back-up was provided by the medium-pacers Jehangir Khan and CK Nayudu.

Those who keep the government honest

Parliament will, of course, retain its dominant place in Indian politics. One hopes that the parties in Opposition provide constructive criticism of government policies. But civil society must be alert as well. Ramachandra Guha writes.

The forgotten Gujarati Prime Minister

During the election campaign, Narendra Modi said several times that he wished Vallabhbhai Patel had become India’s first Prime Minister. And he promised to build a ‘Statue of Unity’ in Patel’s memory that would be far grander than the Statue of Liberty itself.

Jawaharlal Nehru: Hero of his age, outcast of ours

Only after the last member of his family has exited the stage of Indian politics might a judicious and credible appreciation of Nehru’s life and legacy finally become possible, writes Ramachandra Guha.

Excessive love of one’s state is less harmful than that of one’s country

The currents of regional patriotism run deep in India. We are a land of many languages, each with rich literary tradition. Naturally, people tend to identify most closely with those who wrote, and wrote well, in their own language. Ramachandra Guha writes.

From Askot to Arakot: hills have tales to tell

The 2014 Askot-Arakot Abhiyan begins on Sunday, May 25. After a week apiece in Pithoragarh and Bageshwar districts the marchers shall enter Garhwal. Several weeks later they will reach Arakot for their concluding meeting. Ramachandra Guha writes.

Our leaders are not asking hard questions

Unlike Gandhi, Mr Modi and Mr Kejriwal are both excellent orators. One is powerful and eloquent; the other, mischievous and witty. However, one is yet to hear them ask hard questions of their countrymen, or, indeed, of themselves.

Silver lining of 2014 elections: the professional as politician

The freedom movement was largely led by those who exchanged professional success for an uncertain life of struggle. With independence came the career politician, in quest of prestige and profit, Ramachandra Guha writes in a new HT column.

Terminal damage

The liberalisation of the economy hasn’t improved our environmental situation. Instead, natural systems have continued to decline, while social conflicts have increased. Ramachandra Guha writes.

India remains a work in progress

Discrimination against low castes, corruption in public institutions by government officials, and a growing trend towards women’s  equality — India’s report card in its 65th year is a story of moderate achievement. Ramachandra Guha writes.
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