Chanakya

History has an uncanny way of intruding into contemporary life and shaping our public conversation. A new controversy emerged recently over the relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose.

Articles by Chanakya

In a charged UP, why 2022 may be different from 1992

  • Three religious petitions have dredged up decades-old communal tensions. But there are key differences that will determine how the movement evolves — the most critical being the BJP’s increased stature
Though the new disputes may not be as important to the BJP, they keep the pot boiling and give the more extreme elements of its coalition an ideological goal at a time of increasing economic distress. (PTI)
Though the new disputes may not be as important to the BJP, they keep the pot boiling and give the more extreme elements of its coalition an ideological goal at a time of increasing economic distress. (PTI)
Updated on May 14, 2022 06:24 PM IST
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Centre-state ties: A new federal compact is key

  • Both politics and economics have forced Indian federalism into unchartered territory. The Centre and states need to work out a model that doesn’t let political competition lead to economic recklessness
When it comes to the issue of fuel price rise, which is politically contentious with huge inflationary consequences, non-BJP ruled states believe they have little room to cut duties while the Centre believes it has done its bit and would like states to act. (HT Photo)
When it comes to the issue of fuel price rise, which is politically contentious with huge inflationary consequences, non-BJP ruled states believe they have little room to cut duties while the Centre believes it has done its bit and would like states to act. (HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 30, 2022 06:22 PM IST
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The next steps in the India-US partnership

  • Delhi needs to have an honest conversation about what Washington brings to the table, and continue its structural shift westwards
The US must continue to show the maturity it displayed last week. It must rein in voices that believe threatening India with consequences can change Indian behaviour. And it must show India how it can help meet Indian interests more effectively. (PTI)
The US must continue to show the maturity it displayed last week. It must rein in voices that believe threatening India with consequences can change Indian behaviour. And it must show India how it can help meet Indian interests more effectively. (PTI)
Published on Apr 16, 2022 07:50 PM IST
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In Uttar Pradesh, a new political chapter

For the BJP, the political goal is 2024. Its governance goal should be bridging divisions, improving health and education, and boosting incomes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath during his oath-taking ceremony as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second consecutive term, Lucknow, March 25, 2022 (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath during his oath-taking ceremony as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second consecutive term, Lucknow, March 25, 2022 (ANI)
Updated on Mar 26, 2022 10:55 PM IST
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What March 2022 says about May 2024

  • The PM is right. The BJP is in pole position to return to power for a third term
What does this history tell us about the significance of the 2022 elections? (ANI)
What does this history tell us about the significance of the 2022 elections? (ANI)
Published on Mar 12, 2022 06:41 PM IST
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In Punjab, a fierce contest is on the cards

This election is perhaps the first when the power of Dalit voters is front and centre; the single-biggest issue of farm laws has morphed into questions of agrarian distress and unsteady incomes; and both contenders — the Congress and AAP — are vying to be the ultimate aam aadmi
The year’s assembly poll in the border state of Punjab is a curious election because the victor will shape Opposition dynamics more than affect the ruling dispensation (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
The year’s assembly poll in the border state of Punjab is a curious election because the victor will shape Opposition dynamics more than affect the ruling dispensation (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 12, 2022 05:17 PM IST
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Union Budget 2022: A wishlist for the FM

Invest in education; increase allocation to the rural job guarantee scheme and launch a similar one targeting the urban poor; enhance capital expenditure; formulate a new deal for agriculture; continue elements of the Covid-19 relief package announced last year; and no new taxes of any kind
The government should see Union Budget 2022-23 as a staging budget that both addresses some of the lingering issues of the pandemic, and sets the stage for the next chapter of the country’s growth. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
The government should see Union Budget 2022-23 as a staging budget that both addresses some of the lingering issues of the pandemic, and sets the stage for the next chapter of the country’s growth. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 29, 2022 08:00 PM IST
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Uttar Pradesh’s voters and their four choices

The outcome of the election in India’s most-populous state will depend on whether the electorate decides to support a party or a person, vote on the basis of their caste or faith, and whether a majoritarian order is successful in papering over local grievances
The practice of Indian political parties, the science of Indian psephology, the discipline of Indian political science, and the craft of Indian political journalism, for the most part, has been unable to keep up with changing voter preferences. That makes it more challenging to answer the question with any certainty. (PTI)
The practice of Indian political parties, the science of Indian psephology, the discipline of Indian political science, and the craft of Indian political journalism, for the most part, has been unable to keep up with changing voter preferences. That makes it more challenging to answer the question with any certainty. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 08:48 PM IST
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The farm laws: The politics of the repeal

The most significant U-turn by the government since 2014 will shape the politics of both the establishment and the Opposition
Those partial to the government’s latest decision believe that it has changed course due to the rising alienation among Sikhs and the potential of separatist groups to stir up trouble — but this does not explain the timing of the decision. The second, more likely, explanation is the clear electoral imperative at play, especially in Uttar Pradesh (PTI)
Those partial to the government’s latest decision believe that it has changed course due to the rising alienation among Sikhs and the potential of separatist groups to stir up trouble — but this does not explain the timing of the decision. The second, more likely, explanation is the clear electoral imperative at play, especially in Uttar Pradesh (PTI)
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 07:45 PM IST
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In Uttar Pradesh, does the BJP have an edge?

The stakes are high for all, but the BJP’s will to win and its fusion of leadership, social alliances, and narrative of development and law and order makes it the front-runner at the moment
For the BJP, a win will re-establish its presence as the hegemon after a set of state-level setbacks, mute criticism over its record, and make the BJP the clear front-runner for a third term in 2024. For the Opposition, a win will erode BJP’s political strength in north India, reinforce attempts at Opposition alliance, and give confidence that the BJP can indeed be defeated (PTI)
For the BJP, a win will re-establish its presence as the hegemon after a set of state-level setbacks, mute criticism over its record, and make the BJP the clear front-runner for a third term in 2024. For the Opposition, a win will erode BJP’s political strength in north India, reinforce attempts at Opposition alliance, and give confidence that the BJP can indeed be defeated (PTI)
Updated on Sep 18, 2021 08:14 PM IST
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Project Pegasus: India is at the crossroads

The revelations will have profound implications on India’s domestic politics, institutional relationships, and the nature of the contract between the State and citizens
Indian citizens, through the Constitution, gave the State power and subjected their own rights to restrictions. But they have not handed over the keys of their private and professional lives, even their political lives, to the State. If there is indeed any government involvement in the dark practices that Pegasus represents, it is undoubtedly a breach of contract and a violation of the Constitution (REUTERS)
Indian citizens, through the Constitution, gave the State power and subjected their own rights to restrictions. But they have not handed over the keys of their private and professional lives, even their political lives, to the State. If there is indeed any government involvement in the dark practices that Pegasus represents, it is undoubtedly a breach of contract and a violation of the Constitution (REUTERS)
Updated on Jul 24, 2021 07:27 PM IST
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The political drivers of the monsoon session

Both sides have an interest in ensuring a working session. The government wants to put forth its defence; Opposition feels the occasion is ripe to corner the treasury benches
Beyond the political calculus, both the government and the Opposition must realise that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for citizens. They expect the ultimate symbol of their sovereignty, Parliament, to be the home of a civilised, even if fierce, discussion on all issues; shape laws and policies after democratic deliberation; and ensure executive accountability (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Beyond the political calculus, both the government and the Opposition must realise that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for citizens. They expect the ultimate symbol of their sovereignty, Parliament, to be the home of a civilised, even if fierce, discussion on all issues; shape laws and policies after democratic deliberation; and ensure executive accountability (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 19, 2021 07:02 AM IST
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The four variables that shaped Modi’s new team

The politics of inclusive Hindutva, spatial expansion, performance legitimacy and electoral and party-building imperatives have driven the Union Cabinet expansion
Inclusive Hindutva had arrived as an electoral phenomenon seven years ago. But the BJP’s very success created a new dilemma. The new support base wanted representation, the traditionally dominant were reluctant. The expansion of the council of the ministers is thus not a reflection of the BJP’s expansion into newer groupings, but a logical next step to sustain the base with a share in power structure (PTI)
Inclusive Hindutva had arrived as an electoral phenomenon seven years ago. But the BJP’s very success created a new dilemma. The new support base wanted representation, the traditionally dominant were reluctant. The expansion of the council of the ministers is thus not a reflection of the BJP’s expansion into newer groupings, but a logical next step to sustain the base with a share in power structure (PTI)
Published on Jul 10, 2021 07:54 PM IST
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The battle of our times: State versus Big Tech

Both want power. And for that, both want control over information. It is time for a regulatory regime that balances freedom and accountability, and empowers the actual users — citizens.
Information is at the core of any power structure and what governments and Big Tech are fighting about is control — who gets to control information and, therefore, the narrative (Shutterstock)
Information is at the core of any power structure and what governments and Big Tech are fighting about is control — who gets to control information and, therefore, the narrative (Shutterstock)
Published on May 29, 2021 07:43 PM IST
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The 2022 battle for Lucknow begins

Conventionally, issues of leadership, politics of identity, alliances, and organisation have determined Uttar Pradesh’s politics. But will the first post-Covid-19 election alter its political categories?
Yogi Adityanath’s leadership model, Hindutva politics, the BJP’s multi-caste base, depth of anti-incumbency and the Opposition’s strength will all play a part in the 2022 UP elections. But nothing may be as significant as the fallout of the second Covid-19 wave (PTI)
Yogi Adityanath’s leadership model, Hindutva politics, the BJP’s multi-caste base, depth of anti-incumbency and the Opposition’s strength will all play a part in the 2022 UP elections. But nothing may be as significant as the fallout of the second Covid-19 wave (PTI)
Published on May 22, 2021 08:10 PM IST
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For India’s Opposition, the one big question

To take on Narendra Modi in 2024, Opposition parties need to decide on their leader — a single leader — in 2021. This is the hardest part of building an alliance, but not doing so may well lead to a repeat of 2014 and 2019
Postponing the decision till after the elections did not work in 2014 or 2019, for voters opted for strong and decisive leadership as opposed to a chaotic coalition headed by a weak figurehead — and repeating the same mistake in 2024 is unlikely to yield a different outcome (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Postponing the decision till after the elections did not work in 2014 or 2019, for voters opted for strong and decisive leadership as opposed to a chaotic coalition headed by a weak figurehead — and repeating the same mistake in 2024 is unlikely to yield a different outcome (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Updated on May 17, 2021 07:50 AM IST
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The present and future of Mamata Banerjee

The West Bengal chief minister has to make a set of choices. And those choices will define her political future as well as the future of state and national politics
If Mamata Banerjee does decide to pursue her national ambitions, she will need an entirely new political vocabulary, for the Bengal model won’t work nationally. She will also need to figure out an arrangement with both the Congress and other regional parties. (PTI)
If Mamata Banerjee does decide to pursue her national ambitions, she will need an entirely new political vocabulary, for the Bengal model won’t work nationally. She will also need to figure out an arrangement with both the Congress and other regional parties. (PTI)
Updated on May 08, 2021 06:39 PM IST
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Covid-19: Is this a political turning point?

India faces an unprecedented crisis, a crippling second wave of the pandemic that has strained its health systems and caused suffering. The government is on test
While the government has tackled crises in the past, the second wave is different. It has come home to the Indian elite, middle-class, and neo-middle-class — groups which exercise disproportionate influence. There are signs that the suffering is getting channelled into anger against the government. India’s weak State capacity is exposed. And the health emergency will intensify the economic distress. (AFP)
While the government has tackled crises in the past, the second wave is different. It has come home to the Indian elite, middle-class, and neo-middle-class — groups which exercise disproportionate influence. There are signs that the suffering is getting channelled into anger against the government. India’s weak State capacity is exposed. And the health emergency will intensify the economic distress. (AFP)
Published on Apr 24, 2021 08:26 PM IST
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Saving the economy from the second wave

Neither a business-as-usual approach nor a repeat of 2020’s post-lockdown strategy will work. Recognising that defeating this surge of infections is the only way to lay the foundations for economic recovery is crucial.
The government could consider targeted hand-outs to sectors worst affected by the lockdown and wage support to companies to ensure last year’s large-scale layoffs are not repeated. This need not be indefinite. The government hopes to vaccinate 300 million people by the end of August. Even if it were to take till September, this is a substantial number which will crush the curve of infections (Vipin Kumar /HT PHOTO)
The government could consider targeted hand-outs to sectors worst affected by the lockdown and wage support to companies to ensure last year’s large-scale layoffs are not repeated. This need not be indefinite. The government hopes to vaccinate 300 million people by the end of August. Even if it were to take till September, this is a substantial number which will crush the curve of infections (Vipin Kumar /HT PHOTO)
Published on Apr 17, 2021 06:24 PM IST
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2021: A rupture in Tamil Nadu politics

With the iconic leaders of the Dravidian movement gone, two debutants — EPS and Stalin — are leading their parties for the first time in the assembly polls. At stake is the legacy and future of both the DMK and the AIADMK
The elections are also different because for the first time since 1967, when the DMK, then headed by C N Annadurai or Anna (Karunanidhi was his deputy) came to power in the state, the elections are happening in the absence of iconic larger-than-life leaders who pretty much defined Dravidian politics for five decades. Anna died in 1969 and Karunanidhi, who had already made his name as a scriptwriter for Tamil movies, succeeded him. (AFP)
The elections are also different because for the first time since 1967, when the DMK, then headed by C N Annadurai or Anna (Karunanidhi was his deputy) came to power in the state, the elections are happening in the absence of iconic larger-than-life leaders who pretty much defined Dravidian politics for five decades. Anna died in 1969 and Karunanidhi, who had already made his name as a scriptwriter for Tamil movies, succeeded him. (AFP)
Updated on Mar 27, 2021 06:21 PM IST
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Bengal’s politics has changed, forever

Irrespective of whether the TMC stays in power or the BJP wins, the political structure in the state is witnessing a rupture with long-lasting consequences
Bengal’s outcome will shape national politics, for a TMC win will serve as a check on the BJP’s centralising tendencies while a BJP win will give it renewed political legitimacy to push through its ideological and governance agenda (SAMIR JANA/HTPHOTO)
Bengal’s outcome will shape national politics, for a TMC win will serve as a check on the BJP’s centralising tendencies while a BJP win will give it renewed political legitimacy to push through its ideological and governance agenda (SAMIR JANA/HTPHOTO)
Published on Mar 13, 2021 06:32 PM IST
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The 2021 elections will shape politics for years

The polls will shape the trajectory of national politics, determine the balance of power between the Centre and states, and reveal the current strength of national and regional forces
Over the past year, the federal structure has come under strain. A BJP win in Bengal and presence in government in Tamil Nadu will strengthen the Centre’s hand — while a TMC win in Bengal and a DMK win in Tamil Nadu will strengthen the voice of states (SANTOSH KUMAR/HTPHOTO)
Over the past year, the federal structure has come under strain. A BJP win in Bengal and presence in government in Tamil Nadu will strengthen the Centre’s hand — while a TMC win in Bengal and a DMK win in Tamil Nadu will strengthen the voice of states (SANTOSH KUMAR/HTPHOTO)
Updated on Feb 27, 2021 08:56 PM IST
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Narendra Modi’s new political narrative

By assuming political ownership of agri-laws and the larger reform agenda, tinged with an element of nationalism and air of flexibility, the PM has outlined the nature of the political battle ahead
PM Modi has clearly decided that the next generation reforms cannot be held back anymore — and that he will politically own it and attempt to convert it into an asset rather than fear the political costs associated with it. (PTI)
PM Modi has clearly decided that the next generation reforms cannot be held back anymore — and that he will politically own it and attempt to convert it into an asset rather than fear the political costs associated with it. (PTI)
Updated on Feb 14, 2021 06:47 AM IST
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The global scrutiny of Indian democracy

International responses to the farm protests are a result of a growing perception that India is turning back on its democratic roots. The most effective way to counter this is through action
India has the right to take its own decisions, frame its own laws, and work according to its own nationally defined priorities. Its democratically elected government has the mandate to push legislative changes and reorient policies within the framework of law. But at a time of global interconnectedness, there is bound to be enhanced scrutiny of its internal record (PTI)
India has the right to take its own decisions, frame its own laws, and work according to its own nationally defined priorities. Its democratically elected government has the mandate to push legislative changes and reorient policies within the framework of law. But at a time of global interconnectedness, there is bound to be enhanced scrutiny of its internal record (PTI)
Updated on Feb 07, 2021 06:43 AM IST
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What the Union Budget needs to get right

India’s economic recovery has been impressive, but there are gaps. In the budget, focus on public spending, enhancing demand, job-oriented growth, health and the financial sector
Union finance mnister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs a pre-budget meeting with States and UT's ministers at north Block, in New Delhi, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_18_2021_000116A) (PTI)
Union finance mnister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs a pre-budget meeting with States and UT's ministers at north Block, in New Delhi, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_18_2021_000116A) (PTI)
Updated on Jan 31, 2021 06:21 AM IST
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In India, the story of Covid-19 vaccines

India has done well. The rollout of the vaccines, despite a set of concerns, is a scientific milestone. But the State must, now, plan ahead
There are bound to be glitches — a power breakdown that ruins some doses; delays in the vaccine reaching some remote corners of the country; at least, some jumping of queues. But this is an exercise that India will manage well. If all goes well, a month from now, the country could well have more people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine than any other country (AFP)
There are bound to be glitches — a power breakdown that ruins some doses; delays in the vaccine reaching some remote corners of the country; at least, some jumping of queues. But this is an exercise that India will manage well. If all goes well, a month from now, the country could well have more people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine than any other country (AFP)
Updated on Jan 16, 2021 11:39 PM IST
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In defence of reformed capitalism

Targeting corporate capitalism won’t help. It is essential for growth and democracy. Focus on reforming it.
A vibrant corporate capitalist base also leads to additional revenues for the State — which, in turn, can be used for greater welfare for the marginalised and creating a more level-playing field in terms of opportunities(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
A vibrant corporate capitalist base also leads to additional revenues for the State — which, in turn, can be used for greater welfare for the marginalised and creating a more level-playing field in terms of opportunities(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Published on Jan 02, 2021 07:05 PM IST
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For the Congress, why status quo is untenable

Unless the party gets its leadership, messaging, organisation, and social base right, it stares at a third Lok Sabha defeat in 2024
If Rahul Gandhi takes over again, it will help bring back some clear authority in the party — but this may not result in any electoral success. If he doesn’t take over, the question is who takes over, whether the new leader will be able to hold the organisation together, and be able to operate autonomously(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
If Rahul Gandhi takes over again, it will help bring back some clear authority in the party — but this may not result in any electoral success. If he doesn’t take over, the question is who takes over, whether the new leader will be able to hold the organisation together, and be able to operate autonomously(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 19, 2020 08:38 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

Farm reforms — how both sides faltered

While the Centre should have allowed a longer legislative process, agitators should not have disrupted lives and caused inconvenience to other citizens
Any interest group in a democracy has the right to oppose the government peacefully and through constitutional methods. But this cannot be at the cost of undermining the rights of fellow citizens. To gain leverage in negotiations with the State, protesters have been inflicting costs on society(Sakib Ali /Hindustan Timess)
Any interest group in a democracy has the right to oppose the government peacefully and through constitutional methods. But this cannot be at the cost of undermining the rights of fellow citizens. To gain leverage in negotiations with the State, protesters have been inflicting costs on society(Sakib Ali /Hindustan Timess)
Updated on Dec 05, 2020 08:48 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

Chanakya: India’s new template for the neighbourhood

Managing South Asia — through hard instruments when unavoidable and close engagement whenever possible — is essential
New Delhi is aware that managing the larger neighbourhood is inextricably linked to domestic stability, external power projection, and retaining its influence regionally at a time when China is actively intervening in smaller countries of South Asia with the explicit objective of undermining Indian interests(ANI)
New Delhi is aware that managing the larger neighbourhood is inextricably linked to domestic stability, external power projection, and retaining its influence regionally at a time when China is actively intervening in smaller countries of South Asia with the explicit objective of undermining Indian interests(ANI)
Updated on Nov 23, 2020 06:21 AM IST
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