Gopalkrishna Gandhi

Gopalkrishna Gandhi read English Literature at St Stephen’s College, Delhi. A civil servant and diplomat, he was Governor of West Bengal, 2004-2009. He is currently Distinguished Professor of History and Politics at Ashoka University

Articles by Gopalkrishna Gandhi

South Africa’s Parliament will rise from its ashes

  • Whatever be the cause of the fire, the old National Assembly building is now to be spoken of in the past tense – an unbelievable thing
A building, howsoever grand or imposing, is, however, about the people who have used it and the proceedings that have marked its inner life(Reuters)
A building, howsoever grand or imposing, is, however, about the people who have used it and the proceedings that have marked its inner life(Reuters)
Updated on Jan 06, 2022 07:57 PM IST
Copy Link

Vajpayee: The BJP’s star, and his own person

He had a ghar — the BJS and then the BJP, in which he resided with several others. But he also had a gharana — of which he was the creator, the practitioner, of which he was the sole occupant
From the Opposition’s ranks, Vajpayee never spoke a word that hurt, though it reached its target. He never made a point at the other’s expense, never wanted to win a debate or even an argument. (Sanjay Sharma/HT Photo)
From the Opposition’s ranks, Vajpayee never spoke a word that hurt, though it reached its target. He never made a point at the other’s expense, never wanted to win a debate or even an argument. (Sanjay Sharma/HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 24, 2021 08:27 PM IST
Copy Link

In an era of diminishing expectations, the judiciary gives hope

Judges can miss the chance to intervene decisively. For now, however, the rise in diminishing expectations has been given a pause by the judiciary
India’s judiciary has not always reassured seekers of justice. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
India’s judiciary has not always reassured seekers of justice. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 23, 2021 09:13 PM IST
Copy Link

Gandhi’s two lieutenants: Panditji and the Sardar

Let no one suggest that Nehru and Patel weren’t different or didn’t differ. But let no one deny that they overcame those differences for the majesty of India
Patel and Nehru were inseparable in the history of our freedom struggle. India needed them together, said Gandhi, as a cart does its two bullocks. Both knew they were, within themselves, very different (Universal Images Group via Getty)
Patel and Nehru were inseparable in the history of our freedom struggle. India needed them together, said Gandhi, as a cart does its two bullocks. Both knew they were, within themselves, very different (Universal Images Group via Getty)
Updated on Oct 31, 2021 12:45 PM IST
Copy Link

A civilisational triumph for a newly independent country

  • Held between October 1951 and February 1952, the first election was a carnival of celebration, a festival of avowal, a rite of anointment by the people of India of the great cast of the theatre of Swaraj
Voters form a queue in front of a polling station in India’s inaugural general election in January 1952 in erstwhile Calcutta. Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Voters form a queue in front of a polling station in India’s inaugural general election in January 1952 in erstwhile Calcutta. Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Updated on Oct 25, 2021 12:00 PM IST
Copy Link

The frolic, gentle, and sharp Keshav Desiraju

Keshav Desiraju, who died suddenly after a few hours’ struggle with a collapsing heart on Sunday, September 5, epitomised all that was “frolic and gentle”. Laughter came to him like a breeze on a mountain top, as did jokes at the expense of their subjects but never of taste
Keshav Desiraju. (Sourced)
Keshav Desiraju. (Sourced)
Updated on Sep 08, 2021 05:56 PM IST
Copy Link

From India, a note of concern about South Africa

That Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation should have to experience a dance of death with fire — spewed from petrol bombs — being its chosen weapon, is not something that the world expected
Members of the military patrol through the streets of Alexandra township as the country deploys the army to quell unrest linked to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 15, 2021. (REUTERS)
Members of the military patrol through the streets of Alexandra township as the country deploys the army to quell unrest linked to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 15, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated on Aug 16, 2021 05:00 PM IST
Copy Link

Four deaths, the right to life, and the Jayaprakash Principle

The government’s prerogative to prosecute is not to be questioned. Nor the court’s to punish. But this much can and needs to be said: No undertrial or convict should be rendered vulnerable and susceptible to disease or morbidity with the condition reaching the point of becoming fatal. He or she must, on sickness being verified, get medical aid promptly and professionally with the prospect of supervised release.
On February 22, 1944, Kasturba Gandhi died of grave illness in prison in Poona. The House of Commons was informed on March 2, “…She was receiving all possible medical care and attention, not only from her regular attendants but from those desired by her family.” To this, Gandhi, responded: “The deceased herself had repeatedly asked the Inspector General of Prisons for Dr Dinshaw Mehta’s help… Again the regular physicians Drs Nayar and Gilder made a written application for consultation with Dr B C Roy of Calcutta… The Government simply ignored their written request and subsequent oral reminders.” (HTPHOTO)
On February 22, 1944, Kasturba Gandhi died of grave illness in prison in Poona. The House of Commons was informed on March 2, “…She was receiving all possible medical care and attention, not only from her regular attendants but from those desired by her family.” To this, Gandhi, responded: “The deceased herself had repeatedly asked the Inspector General of Prisons for Dr Dinshaw Mehta’s help… Again the regular physicians Drs Nayar and Gilder made a written application for consultation with Dr B C Roy of Calcutta… The Government simply ignored their written request and subsequent oral reminders.” (HTPHOTO)
Updated on Jul 20, 2021 07:19 AM IST
Copy Link

The architecture of India’s governance

Form, trust, mutual respect constitute the bedrock of the politician-civil servant relationship. Sardar Patel understood it
The Constitution is the product of much deliberation. Sardar Patel formulated two articles — 311 and 314 — affecting the services. Both protected officials from arbitrary punishment by their political bosses, displaying the trust and respect he had for civil servants and their opinions (HTPHOTO)
The Constitution is the product of much deliberation. Sardar Patel formulated two articles — 311 and 314 — affecting the services. Both protected officials from arbitrary punishment by their political bosses, displaying the trust and respect he had for civil servants and their opinions (HTPHOTO)
Published on Jun 13, 2021 07:54 PM IST
Copy Link

In search of today’s community leaders

Unless community leaders speak up, we will not be able to prevent a third and a fourth and more waves, each deadlier than the one before
In all these mass sgatherings, participants have come from all over India. They have come with piety, returned with the virus hovering around them (AFP)
In all these mass sgatherings, participants have come from all over India. They have come with piety, returned with the virus hovering around them (AFP)
Updated on May 17, 2021 07:50 AM IST
Copy Link

An open letter to farmers: Suspend your agitation

I have this appeal to make to you, great farming-soldiers, soldier-farmers: Recognising the peril of the virus and the grim fact that your agitation is unwittingly fuelling the virus, please suspend your agitation now, says Gopalkrishna Gandhi
Farmers shout slogans at a site of a protest against the new farm laws at Singhu Border near Delhi. (ANI)
Farmers shout slogans at a site of a protest against the new farm laws at Singhu Border near Delhi. (ANI)
Published on Apr 22, 2021 05:36 PM IST
Copy Link

Elections and violence do not make Bengal; its history and people do

Bengal is bigger, much bigger, than this small tumour of violence in its life and its people are greater, infinitely greater than the unseemly, untypical and unwelcome “goons” who hide within the crevices of its society
The injured being treated after clashes during the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly election in Cooch Behar on April 10. (PTI)
The injured being treated after clashes during the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly election in Cooch Behar on April 10. (PTI)
Updated on Apr 15, 2021 07:01 AM IST
Copy Link

How we the people are responsible for the spread of the virus

Can the authorities who are serious about supporting the vaccination roll-out with a compliance roll-in, consider three urgent suggestions?
They wore masks, correctly, admirably, over mouth and nose as the needle went in. And they sent two clear messages across — wear masks, get vaccinated (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
They wore masks, correctly, admirably, over mouth and nose as the needle went in. And they sent two clear messages across — wear masks, get vaccinated (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 11, 2021 06:42 AM IST
Copy Link

The monetisation and dramatisation of TN’s politics

In the years to come, the state may well witness a battle between a splintered Dravidian movement and resurgent Hindutva
Whatever the spectacle Sasikala’s return does or does not do to her fortunes, or to those of the AIADMK or the DMK, it is doubtless going to strengthen the grip of money and caste-based mobilisation in Tamil Nadu’s politics (PTI)
Whatever the spectacle Sasikala’s return does or does not do to her fortunes, or to those of the AIADMK or the DMK, it is doubtless going to strengthen the grip of money and caste-based mobilisation in Tamil Nadu’s politics (PTI)
Published on Feb 12, 2021 08:29 PM IST
Copy Link

Champaran to Singhu: A tale of two satyagrahas

To assuage the protesting farmers, the Centre must suspend the Acts indefinitely, refer demands to the Inter-State Council; and call a Parliament session
The British Raj responded as it did in Champaran 104 years ago. Swaraj must do likewise and enter its 75th year with the glow of the health and happiness of farmers on its forehead. This is its “indigo moment”. (Sameer Sehgal/HTPhoto)
The British Raj responded as it did in Champaran 104 years ago. Swaraj must do likewise and enter its 75th year with the glow of the health and happiness of farmers on its forehead. This is its “indigo moment”. (Sameer Sehgal/HTPhoto)
Published on Jan 13, 2021 07:47 PM IST
Copy Link

Five lives from the land of five rivers

These five Sikh Indians have tilled historical and cultural truths with the hoe of faith
If the protest remains peaceful and does not get co-opted into other agendas, it can be a landmark in India’s agrarian history(PTI)
If the protest remains peaceful and does not get co-opted into other agendas, it can be a landmark in India’s agrarian history(PTI)
Updated on Dec 07, 2020 08:22 PM IST
Copy Link

For Joe Biden, from the Jawaharlal Nehru of 1945

President-elect Joe Biden’s burden is about the world’s safety — from errors and terrors, nuclear, chemical, biological. It is also about the world being made safe from its own globe-warming, globe-infecting ways. He will be helped by an India that speaks not in terms of “nationalist individualism” but of world safety.
In the Ahmednagar prison in 1945, an altogether new activity bound Jawaharlal Nehru with Sardar Patel — gardening(HTPhoto)
In the Ahmednagar prison in 1945, an altogether new activity bound Jawaharlal Nehru with Sardar Patel — gardening(HTPhoto)
Updated on Nov 13, 2020 08:50 PM IST
Copy Link

Are any socialists left in Indian politics?

Socialists were once austere, uninterested in personal power, free-spirited. The era is gone
Narendra Deva, Jayaprakash Narayan (above), Kamaladevi, Ram Manohar Lohia and their colleagues were hugely attractive personally but also hugely fragile politically(HTPHOTO)
Narendra Deva, Jayaprakash Narayan (above), Kamaladevi, Ram Manohar Lohia and their colleagues were hugely attractive personally but also hugely fragile politically(HTPHOTO)
Updated on Oct 13, 2020 06:16 AM IST
Copy Link

When India and China talked

The history of peace is much longer than the history of discord. There are common challenges
After the 1962 war, the two neighbours had withdrawn their ambassadors. When the positions were resumed, in 1976, Narayanan was chosen as the ambassador of India to the People’s Republic of China(HT ARCHIVES)
After the 1962 war, the two neighbours had withdrawn their ambassadors. When the positions were resumed, in 1976, Narayanan was chosen as the ambassador of India to the People’s Republic of China(HT ARCHIVES)
Updated on Sep 15, 2020 09:17 PM IST
Copy Link

For the Mahatma, the meaning of Independence, nation and religion

Healing divisions as India turned free, Gandhi was clear a nation could have no religion or sect
When asked for a message to the nation for August 15, Gandhi said he had no message. Eventually, he did reflect on the day, as one of both rejoicing and mourning(Universal Images Group via Getty)
When asked for a message to the nation for August 15, Gandhi said he had no message. Eventually, he did reflect on the day, as one of both rejoicing and mourning(Universal Images Group via Getty)
Published on Aug 14, 2020 04:00 PM IST
Copy Link

The Congress is not meant to die or wither away. It must change |Opinion

Proposing an alternative leadership is not disloyalty. There is an opportunity now
The Congress has given the country six PMs, three of whom have come from the Nehru-Gandhi family. But leadership is not patented; it must pass from one deserving hand to another(ANI)
The Congress has given the country six PMs, three of whom have come from the Nehru-Gandhi family. But leadership is not patented; it must pass from one deserving hand to another(ANI)
Updated on Jul 18, 2020 05:50 AM IST
Copy Link

When Gandhi battled an epidemic

His directives on how to contain the South African plague can be useful for Covid-hit India
Gandhi spelt out the responsibilities of individuals and society as well as that of the municipality (National Gandhi Museum)
Gandhi spelt out the responsibilities of individuals and society as well as that of the municipality (National Gandhi Museum)
Updated on Jun 04, 2020 07:39 AM IST
Copy Link

Recognise the centrality of states in defeating Covid-19, writes Gopalkrishna Gandhi

Federalism has been at work in the best sense. The states have worked with limited resources and within constraints
A word here is needed on a state beyond states in India: Migrant workers. They form a floating Union Territory that requires full statehood, not territorially but civilisationally(AP)
A word here is needed on a state beyond states in India: Migrant workers. They form a floating Union Territory that requires full statehood, not territorially but civilisationally(AP)
Updated on May 07, 2020 07:15 PM IST
Copy Link

What would Gandhi have done today?

In times of a health crisis, he showed exceptional care and extreme sternness. India is doing it now
Gandhi spelt out the responsibilities of individuals and society as well as that of the municipality (National Gandhi Museum)
Gandhi spelt out the responsibilities of individuals and society as well as that of the municipality (National Gandhi Museum)
Updated on Jun 04, 2020 07:37 AM IST
Copy Link

India must bow its head to Maharashtra on this day

Three Marathas — Shivaji, Tilak and GK Gokhale — made their mark on history in different ways on February 19
To GK Gokhale, politics meant civility and courage, the civility to acknowledge one’s own limitations and the courage to cross them in humility for the greatness of the country. This was the only honourable path.(HT Photo)
To GK Gokhale, politics meant civility and courage, the civility to acknowledge one’s own limitations and the courage to cross them in humility for the greatness of the country. This was the only honourable path.(HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 19, 2020 12:00 PM IST
Copy Link

What Abide With Me means to India , writes Gopalkrishna Gandhi

The authorities must not be impervious to the hymn’s aesthetic, spiritual and human appeal
Beating Retreat has been an eclectic event, bringing military and civilian sensibilities together in a unique ceremony(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Beating Retreat has been an eclectic event, bringing military and civilian sensibilities together in a unique ceremony(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 22, 2020 06:20 AM IST
Copy Link

TN Chaturvedi: A scholar in bureaucracy and politics| Opinion

An exceptional IAS officer, a truly non-partisan governor, TNC was engaged with ideas and books till the very end
As governor, there was universal respect for Chaturvedi in Karnataka, universal faith in his impartiality(HT Photo)
As governor, there was universal respect for Chaturvedi in Karnataka, universal faith in his impartiality(HT Photo)
Published on Jan 12, 2020 07:35 PM IST
Copy Link

The wisdom in CJI Bobde’s words

Vengeance can lead to pre-institutional disarray, fixing over due process, haste over efficiency
When diligence is out and dramatics in, the character of justice is imperilled. Justice Bobde’s words come as a balm(PTI)
When diligence is out and dramatics in, the character of justice is imperilled. Justice Bobde’s words come as a balm(PTI)
Updated on Dec 10, 2019 06:29 PM IST
Copy Link

The core of the Ayodhya judgment | Opinion

Work simultaneously for both parties, ensure tangible action, and answer questions on funding
The most important “far-sight” in the judgment was the court’s recognition that the Muslims were wronged in 1992(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
The most important “far-sight” in the judgment was the court’s recognition that the Muslims were wronged in 1992(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 12, 2019 06:59 PM IST
Copy Link

Gandhi and Savarkar’s Bharat Ratna

There is a Savarkar who deserves it. There is a Savarkar on whom it will sit deeply troubled
The court acquitted Savarkar in the Gandhi murder trial. But he did inspire those who think the assassins were right(HT Photo)
The court acquitted Savarkar in the Gandhi murder trial. But he did inspire those who think the assassins were right(HT Photo)
Published on Oct 22, 2019 04:34 PM IST
Copy Link
SHARE
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, January 18, 2022