Karan Thapar

Karan Thapar

Karan Thapar is a super-looking genius who’s young, friendly, chatty and great fun to be with. He’s also very enjoyable to read.

Articles by Karan Thapar
US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, January 20, 2021 (REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, January 20, 2021 (REUTERS)

How I erred on Biden and Blinken

UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:26 AM IST
For a man who makes a career out of talking, I missed out on two God-given opportunities because I felt I had nothing to say. I met Biden in July 2013 in Delhi, but didn’t take sufficient interest in him. in 2015, i interviewed Antony Blinken, but failed to stay in touch
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Outlawing smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, cinema halls and bars is something we have accepted (AFP photo)
Outlawing smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, cinema halls and bars is something we have accepted (AFP photo)

Where the State should step back

PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 06:55 PM IST
I can understand bans on smoking in areas or circumstances where others who are not smoking get affected. But when an adult smokes on his own, the government has no business to intervene
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A lab technician puts a label on to a test tube while conducting research on coronavirus, Belgium, June 17, 2020 (AP)
A lab technician puts a label on to a test tube while conducting research on coronavirus, Belgium, June 17, 2020 (AP)

The uncertainty over vaccine authorisation

UPDATED ON JAN 09, 2021 09:03 PM IST
The authorisation of the two vaccines to tackle Covid-19 has been met with as much consternation as celebration. For many, the doubts and questions that have arisen have created fresh concern
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The silence and loneliness of being on my own is no longer intimidating. In fact - and I know that sounds a little perverse – I’ve enjoyed it. So this morning I feel I don’t want to lose it. At least, not completely.(HTPHOTO)
The silence and loneliness of being on my own is no longer intimidating. In fact - and I know that sounds a little perverse – I’ve enjoyed it. So this morning I feel I don’t want to lose it. At least, not completely.(HTPHOTO)

Goodbye to all that? I’m not so sure

UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2021 06:55 PM IST
The honest truth – and you’ve probably guessed it by now – is that I’m going into 2021 with a little trepidation or, if that’s too strong a word, more than a touch of hesitation.
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The argument Covid-19 did not permit the session is specious. For a start, Parliament’s earlier functioning disproves it. The monsoon session was held in September when daily cases crossed 95,000. So how can a situation when the increase has reduced to under 25,000 be a credible reason for not holding the winter session?(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
The argument Covid-19 did not permit the session is specious. For a start, Parliament’s earlier functioning disproves it. The monsoon session was held in September when daily cases crossed 95,000. So how can a situation when the increase has reduced to under 25,000 be a credible reason for not holding the winter session?(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Parliament should sit more often

UPDATED ON DEC 26, 2020 07:36 PM IST
The bigger moral argument rests on the belief Parliament is special. It represents our nation. It speaks for us and symbolises our resolve. So if the temple of our democracy ducks the challenge of functioning in a time of the virus what’s the example it sets for the rest of us and what’s the message it sends to the world beyond our borders?
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If that wasn’t enough of a shock, the cold winds sweeping down from the Himalayas set your teeth chattering. Mine played a veritable symphony(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
If that wasn’t enough of a shock, the cold winds sweeping down from the Himalayas set your teeth chattering. Mine played a veritable symphony(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

In the cold winter, keeping the Gods warm

UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2020 08:36 PM IST
The truth is our Gods have a much better time than us. The Mahant says the Ram Lalla temple has “an air-conditioner to keep the deities comfortable in summer”. So neither the cold nor the heat worries them.
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During their years in power, we thought of them as near equals; Vajpayee as prime minister, Advani his deputy(Prakash Singh/ HT Photo)
During their years in power, we thought of them as near equals; Vajpayee as prime minister, Advani his deputy(Prakash Singh/ HT Photo)

Atal-Advani: The jugalbandi in the BJP

UPDATED ON DEC 12, 2020 11:03 PM IST
For my generation, they were either heroes or villains but never non-entities. Vinay Sitapati’s book on their relationship, aptly called Jugalbandi, shows aspects of their relationship — and their individual personalities — that are revealing, disillusioning and, possibly, controversial
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Although the interviewer must always be polite, the role also requires a need to be firm and assertive(Shutterstock)
Although the interviewer must always be polite, the role also requires a need to be firm and assertive(Shutterstock)

The right power balance in an interview

UPDATED ON DEC 05, 2020 08:43 PM IST
When you call your guests Sir, you convey an inability to hold them to account. When you call them by their Christian names, you imply an unwillingness to push them to the ropes. In either event, you don’t inspire confidence
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Indeed, coronavirus, coined in 1968, became one of the most popular words of 2020. Pandemic was used 57,000% more than last year(AFP)
Indeed, coronavirus, coined in 1968, became one of the most popular words of 2020. Pandemic was used 57,000% more than last year(AFP)

How will literature grapple with 2020?

UPDATED ON NOV 28, 2020 10:25 PM IST
I know we will soon have a plethora of books on the virus. It may have wrought destruction in our lives, but it will continue to play on our imagination and is bound to feed our creativity
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Chapter 27 suggests Obama held back on a lot. No doubt, some secrets must be carried to the grave but why won’t he reveal whether Pakistan was complicit or incompetent?(AFP)
Chapter 27 suggests Obama held back on a lot. No doubt, some secrets must be carried to the grave but why won’t he reveal whether Pakistan was complicit or incompetent?(AFP)

Obama’s intriguing silence on Pakistan, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON NOV 21, 2020 08:43 PM IST
The one question Obama doesn’t answer is about Pakistan’s role. Was Pakistan hiding bin Laden and, therefore, complicit? Or unaware of his presence and, therefore, incompetent?
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President Donald Trump listens attends an event on Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden of the White House, November 13, 2020(AP)
President Donald Trump listens attends an event on Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden of the White House, November 13, 2020(AP)

Looking back at Trump’s presidency through his tweets

UPDATED ON NOV 16, 2020 07:11 AM IST
Google has a vast collection and I’ve selected a few in memory of someone who may have been exasperating, but was also often entertaining.
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The men who should light the path forward seem to hearken to the past. At this rate, it’ll soon be goodbye to tomorrow.(Getty Images/Aurora Open)
The men who should light the path forward seem to hearken to the past. At this rate, it’ll soon be goodbye to tomorrow.(Getty Images/Aurora Open)

In defence of the right to choose one’s love

PUBLISHED ON NOV 07, 2020 07:32 PM IST
India’s future depends on forging bonds that dissolve our differences in a new consciousness of being Indian. Marrying across religious divides is perhaps the surest way of doing that
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Ultimately, it’s not the immorality of this promise that distresses me. It’s the distastefulness of it(REUTERS)
Ultimately, it’s not the immorality of this promise that distresses me. It’s the distastefulness of it(REUTERS)

What political parties must not do for votes, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON OCT 31, 2020 10:27 PM IST
A promise of a free vaccine, in the middle of a pandemic raging for ten months, plays upon people’s fears. Not for their country, state or community but of their own lives
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Now, if we stop watching, corporations will have an additional reason to stop advertising. It’s our eyeballs they’re after but if we’re watching something else, the advertisers are also likely to relocate.(Hindustan Times)
Now, if we stop watching, corporations will have an additional reason to stop advertising. It’s our eyeballs they’re after but if we’re watching something else, the advertisers are also likely to relocate.(Hindustan Times)

Boycott channels that spread prejudice, hate

UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2020 08:30 PM IST
All we have to do is stop watching such channels. This should not be difficult because many of us profess to dislike them. So if you really don’t approve, don’t switch them on. It’s as simple as that
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People shopping ahead of Durga Puja, New Market area, Kolkata, October 11.(PTI)
People shopping ahead of Durga Puja, New Market area, Kolkata, October 11.(PTI)

Covid-19: My dilemma in the festive season, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2020 07:58 PM IST
Many want to enjoy Durga Puja, Dussehra and Eid. These are cherished festivals and God, they hope, will protect them. But what if the virus gets them first? On the other hand, if they stay indoors, neither spending nor celebrating, they can crush what little hope we have of the economy improving
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On the issue of human rights, Amnesty’s standing is far higher than that of the Government of India(PTI)
On the issue of human rights, Amnesty’s standing is far higher than that of the Government of India(PTI)

Amnesty’s exit erodes Indian democracy

PUBLISHED ON OCT 10, 2020 05:26 PM IST
Amnesty’s departure would mean a voice that reminds us how frequently we fall short of our values will be silenced. It was often an irritating voice, but always a necessary one.
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Jaswant Singh treated me like an adult. He listened carefully, asked probing questions and, occasionally, shared his own experiences(PTI)
Jaswant Singh treated me like an adult. He listened carefully, asked probing questions and, occasionally, shared his own experiences(PTI)

What I admired about Jaswant Singh, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON OCT 04, 2020 06:14 AM IST
Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah took a different view. He didn’t care what his party thought of his scholarship. It was the “truth” as he saw it. Such courage and conviction is rare. In Indian politics, it’s probably unique
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In this file photo taken on February 26, 2020, a Delhi police personnel patrols near burnt-out and damaged residential premises and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, New Delhi(AFP)
In this file photo taken on February 26, 2020, a Delhi police personnel patrols near burnt-out and damaged residential premises and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, New Delhi(AFP)

Police should evoke trust, not fear

UPDATED ON SEP 27, 2020 06:48 AM IST
For us in India, it’s hard to believe policemen can be liked. Yet with a little effort things can change. a former cop told me the first step is to isolate the police from political interference
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I doubt if Yogi will accept he’s made a terrible mistake. I have no doubt he has(ANI)
I doubt if Yogi will accept he’s made a terrible mistake. I have no doubt he has(ANI)

Why Yogi is wrong about the Mughals, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON SEP 20, 2020 05:43 AM IST
The greatest of our rulers is the Mughal emperor Akbar. His ecumenism was unique for his time. As Ira Mukhoty has written, He believed ‘all religions are either equally true or equally illusory’
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The other set of warriors are doctors, nurses and health care workers(ANI)
The other set of warriors are doctors, nurses and health care workers(ANI)

Health workers: The soldiers of our times, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON SEP 12, 2020 06:59 PM IST
At the moment, it’s our doctors and nurses who’ve put themselves in the line of fire to keep the rest of us safe and alive. Reports suggest 87,000 health care workers have been infected and 573 have died.
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I discovered Shankar was a consummate host. His dinners were never large and always sit-downs. He would invite an entertaining but varied collection. It could include politicians or diplomats, artistes, authors and academics, even businessmen.(HTPhoto)
I discovered Shankar was a consummate host. His dinners were never large and always sit-downs. He would invite an entertaining but varied collection. It could include politicians or diplomats, artistes, authors and academics, even businessmen.(HTPhoto)

Bajpai: A brilliant diplomat, a fine friend

PUBLISHED ON SEP 05, 2020 08:35 PM IST
In recent years, the Bajpais and I dined with each other sometimes three times a month. Covid put a stop to our meetings but not our conversations.
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Naseeruddin Shah and Danish Hussain in a scene from ‘Mee Raqsam’. I suspect the makers and promoters of this film — and the list has Shabana Azmi’s name at the very top — intended for the movie’s political message to be the one the audience takes home(Mee Rqasam)
Naseeruddin Shah and Danish Hussain in a scene from ‘Mee Raqsam’. I suspect the makers and promoters of this film — and the list has Shabana Azmi’s name at the very top — intended for the movie’s political message to be the one the audience takes home(Mee Rqasam)

‘Mee Raqsam’ is a modern masterpiece

UPDATED ON AUG 30, 2020 02:38 PM IST
it illustrates not just the growing hindu-muslim fissures, but the love between a father and his daughter. politics recedes, as it should. love wins, as it must
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Don’t drive down the quality of discussion to get an audience(Shutterstock)
Don’t drive down the quality of discussion to get an audience(Shutterstock)

What Indian TV news anchors get wrong

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2020 05:55 AM IST
Current affairs discussions should be intended for those who want to learn and understand. Not people seeking entertainment
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The battle between Modi and Banerjee will shape Indian politics(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
The battle between Modi and Banerjee will shape Indian politics(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

The centrality of the West Bengal election

UPDATED ON AUG 15, 2020 07:31 PM IST
On the surface, it’ll be a fight between Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). At its heart, however, this is a struggle for supremacy between two conflicting visions of India: Hindutva versus secularism
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Amar Singh showed why one should not judge a book by its cover(PTI)
Amar Singh showed why one should not judge a book by its cover(PTI)

Amar Singh and his unusual generosity, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON AUG 08, 2020 06:17 PM IST
I’ll always remember him as a kind man who went out of his way to help virtual strangers. That’s a quality that can forgive a lot of faults.
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If Rahul Gandhi had carefully considered what he wanted to say and done so with greater gravitas, he might have sounded more adult and less adolescent. He wanted to expose the PM but ended up exposing himself(ANI)
If Rahul Gandhi had carefully considered what he wanted to say and done so with greater gravitas, he might have sounded more adult and less adolescent. He wanted to expose the PM but ended up exposing himself(ANI)

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON AUG 01, 2020 06:16 PM IST
When you speak in public, you must be sure of not just what you’re saying but also of how to say it. Otherwise, you might not get the response you hope for
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On July 1, 5,892 beds in Covid-19 hospitals were occupied. On Friday, that figure stood at 3,210.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
On July 1, 5,892 beds in Covid-19 hospitals were occupied. On Friday, that figure stood at 3,210.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Covid-19: Finally, some good news from Delhi, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON JUL 25, 2020 07:22 PM IST
We still need to be cautious, but the reassuring part is that, as data shows, Delhi may have flattened the curve
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Five years ago, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot were considered its future. Youthful, charming, popular, articulate and equally fluent in Hindi and English(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)
Five years ago, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot were considered its future. Youthful, charming, popular, articulate and equally fluent in Hindi and English(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

The Congress needs to look at its own history, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2020 08:41 PM IST
Four generations of Nehru-Gandhis have become congress presidents — and on two occasions prime minister — while still in their forties
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India needs to keep expanding testing till the positivity rate is below 5%(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
India needs to keep expanding testing till the positivity rate is below 5%(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The big questions, and answers, on Covid-19, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2020 05:37 AM IST
I’m prepared to bet the issues I’ve raised will keep popping up in our public discourse. If not the government, the media will raise them. When they do, it will help sort out meaningful information from mere detail and guff
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Prasar Bharati (PB), supposedly an independent broadcaster we once gullibly believed could be the equal of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has threatened “to review its subscription to the Press Trust of India (PTI)”(Twitter)
Prasar Bharati (PB), supposedly an independent broadcaster we once gullibly believed could be the equal of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has threatened “to review its subscription to the Press Trust of India (PTI)”(Twitter)

Why Prasar Bharati is wrong to rebuke PTI, writes Karan Thapar

UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2020 06:04 AM IST
The broadcaster failed to understand, or overlooked, that Press Trust of India’s interviews with China’s ambassador to India and India’s envoy to China were clearly news
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