Viju Cherian

Viju Cherian

Viju Cherian tries to understand the ever-changing nature of politics and find a method to this madness. He keenly follows politics, international and national.

Articles by Viju Cherian
Rajnikanth speaks during the music launch of Kaala, YMCA grounds, Chennai, May 9(PTI)
Rajnikanth speaks during the music launch of Kaala, YMCA grounds, Chennai, May 9(PTI)

Kaala ban: A Rajinikanth film is not just an entertainer, but has political undertones as well

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2018 06:28 PM IST
However, banning Kaala in Karnataka could help Rajinikanth the politician in Tamil Nadu
Kamal Haasan launches his party in Madurai.(Picture courtesy: Makkal Needhi Maiam official Twitter account)
Kamal Haasan launches his party in Madurai.(Picture courtesy: Makkal Needhi Maiam official Twitter account)

Makkal Needhi Maiam: Kamal Haasan’s new release gets a grand opening, but will it maintain momentum?

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2018 04:49 PM IST
Kamal Haasan at the mega launch of his party at Madurai failed to explain his vision for a better Tamil Nadu. Catchy tunes and punch dialogues are hardly enough to win the confidence of the electorate
A boy poses with his cow during Makar Sankranti to celebrate the harvest season at Kanakanpalya, Bengaluru, January 15, 2018(Arijit Sen/HT)
A boy poses with his cow during Makar Sankranti to celebrate the harvest season at Kanakanpalya, Bengaluru, January 15, 2018(Arijit Sen/HT)

Aadhaar-like tags for cows: Does govt’s intent match ground realities?

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON FEB 06, 2018 03:16 PM IST
In a country where universal healthcare is yet to be achieved, can the government be accused of getting its priorities wrong in earmarking precious revenue for tagging cows? Also, does India have the infrastructure to tag and monitor the health and well-being of its 40 million dairy cattle and about 299 million bovine population across India?
Time will tell whether Rajinikanth entering politics will end up like Baasha, his biggest hit, or end up like Baba(PTI/Agencies)
Time will tell whether Rajinikanth entering politics will end up like Baasha, his biggest hit, or end up like Baba(PTI/Agencies)

Baasha or Baba: Which way will Rajinikanth’s political career turn?

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2018 04:01 PM IST
There is a vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics that ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth can capitalise on. But can his fan base really convert into a vote bank, or can this euphoria sustain till the polls?
This “long hug” controversy is also a manifestation of a fundamental flaw that runs through the fully literate state — fake morality (Representative Photo)(Shutterstock)
This “long hug” controversy is also a manifestation of a fundamental flaw that runs through the fully literate state — fake morality (Representative Photo)(Shutterstock)

The ‘long hug’ controversy exposes Kerala’s struggle with its hypocrisy

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON DEC 20, 2017 06:42 PM IST
Kerala is struggling to co-exist in the modernity it aspires to achieve without letting go of the petty prudishness it prides itself for. The controversy is also a manifestation of a fundamental flaw that runs across the full literate state — hypocrisy
Police and media persons out side the former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's residence at Poes Garden where an IT raid was conducted on Friday night(PTI)
Police and media persons out side the former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's residence at Poes Garden where an IT raid was conducted on Friday night(PTI)

Poes Garden raid: The political landscape in Tamil Nadu is getting more murky

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON NOV 18, 2017 10:22 PM IST
The raid at Poes Garden, when read with the raids last week targeting Sasikala, Narendra Modi’s meeting with Karunanidhi and other political developments, give a picture of political uncertainty in Tamil Nadu
There is nothing at the moment to suggest that either Kamal Haasan or Rajinikanth or any other actor is riding on a political wave that’ll make a difference in Tamil Nadu(HT)
There is nothing at the moment to suggest that either Kamal Haasan or Rajinikanth or any other actor is riding on a political wave that’ll make a difference in Tamil Nadu(HT)

Kamal Haasan lacks the charisma to change Tamil Nadu politics

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON NOV 08, 2017 03:15 PM IST
Kamal Haasan’s much-talked about entry into politics is a reflection of the vacuum in Tamil Nadu, especially after the demise of Jayalalithaa. The southern state has a tinsel town-politics connect, but neither Haasan nor Rajinikanth will make a difference in politics
Vijay’s character in the Tamil movie Mersal, while criticising GST, gets his facts wrong. But was the demand for deleting the scene warranted?
Vijay’s character in the Tamil movie Mersal, while criticising GST, gets his facts wrong. But was the demand for deleting the scene warranted?

Mersal controversy: BJP is making political faux pas a habit in Tamil Nadu

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2017 11:19 AM IST
The BJP has big ambitions for Tamil Nadu and rightly so. But it repeatedly misreading the cards: From Jallikattu, to Neduvasal to NEET, and now an unnecessary controversy on Vijay’s Mersal. The party must overhaul its approach to become a relevant force in the state
The spectacular success of the Baahubali movie franchise may have brought Telugu movie stars Prabhas Raju and Rana Daggubati international fame, but it’s a fact that asymmetric attention is given to Bollywood over regional language cinema.
The spectacular success of the Baahubali movie franchise may have brought Telugu movie stars Prabhas Raju and Rana Daggubati international fame, but it’s a fact that asymmetric attention is given to Bollywood over regional language cinema.

Regional cinema matters: Beyond Bollywood looks at rich history of south Indian cinema

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 08:31 AM IST
There’s an asymmetric attention given to Bollywood over regional language cinema though Hindi cinema is ‘bland’ and often lacks the riches seen in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films.
Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami (R) and O Panneerselvam greet supporters following merger of their factions, Chennai, August 21(PTI)
Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami (R) and O Panneerselvam greet supporters following merger of their factions, Chennai, August 21(PTI)

EPS-OPS merger is not the finale to AIADMK’s Game of Thrones

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2017 06:37 PM IST
Palaniswami and Panneerselvam might have found a way to work together, but the tenuous bond that hold this AIADMK combine will soon show. Dinakaran has a sizeable following, which cannot be discounted. Also waiting on the sides is the DMK, which alleges BJP’s hand in these developments
On Monday Vijayan met with the RSS and BJP leaders and to a certain extent tensions have been diffused. The Kerala government has decided to call an all-party meet on Sunday and also hold several district-level bilateral meetings between the CPI(M) and the BJP/RSS before Sunday (File Photo)(PTI)
On Monday Vijayan met with the RSS and BJP leaders and to a certain extent tensions have been diffused. The Kerala government has decided to call an all-party meet on Sunday and also hold several district-level bilateral meetings between the CPI(M) and the BJP/RSS before Sunday (File Photo)(PTI)

BJP vs CPM violence in Kerala: Left smells conspiracy to dislodge Pinarayi govt

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON AUG 01, 2017 10:58 PM IST
In the current tension between the Pinarayi Vijayan government and the BJP government at the Centre the Left sees parallels to the situation in 1959 when the Centre dissolved the EMS government in Kerala
What happened in the Rajya Sabha was the convenient use of the ‘parliamentary privilege’ card to defend abominable conduct by some of its members — conduct that should have been unequivocally condemned (Representative Photo)(PTI)
What happened in the Rajya Sabha was the convenient use of the ‘parliamentary privilege’ card to defend abominable conduct by some of its members — conduct that should have been unequivocally condemned (Representative Photo)(PTI)

Flying ban: Don’t use parliamentary privilege to cover for bad behaviour

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2017 05:53 PM IST
What happened in Rajya Sabha was the convenient use of the ‘parliamentary privilege’ card to defend abominable conduct by some of its members. The sense of entitlement shown by some leaders is the reason why such extreme steps are considered. It’s time they behaved like ordinary citizens
As long as the Karnataka government is not breaking the law, it is well within its right to think of a state flag (File Photo)(AFP)
As long as the Karnataka government is not breaking the law, it is well within its right to think of a state flag (File Photo)(AFP)

Karnataka flag: Hollow symbolism or bid to divert attention from govt failures?

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JUL 20, 2017 04:11 PM IST
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has showed why he is no pushover. He has played the regional card, much like the Shiv Sena/MNS’ ‘Marathi manoos’. With the state flag move, he has played the BJP and other regional parties in their own game
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Right) with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hyderabad House, New Delhi, April 26(PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Right) with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hyderabad House, New Delhi, April 26(PTI)

Modi’s Sri Lanka visit reflects growing ties, but issues like China, TN fishermen remain

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON MAY 11, 2017 02:42 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day Sri Lanka visit is a sign of the growing bilateral ties but closely watched will be whether Modi discusses with Sirisena or Wickremesinghe the issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen and China’s role in the region
Tamil Nadu farmers preparing to drink urine collected in a bucket at Jantar Mantar on Saturday.(HT Photo)
Tamil Nadu farmers preparing to drink urine collected in a bucket at Jantar Mantar on Saturday.(HT Photo)

TN farmers drop urine-drinking plan on Delhi cops’ advice, to send it back home

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By A Mariyam Alavi and Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2017 08:59 AM IST
Although the agitators had vowed to drink urine and eat faeces over the weekend if their demands were not met, they reconsidered their stomach-churning strategy after the Delhi Police intervened.
Today, the AIADMK is staring at an uncertain future. After a fierce battle, the O Panneerselvam camp is ready to mend fences with the main party but on the condition that the ‘Mannargudi mafia’ is kept out of the party(AFP)
Today, the AIADMK is staring at an uncertain future. After a fierce battle, the O Panneerselvam camp is ready to mend fences with the main party but on the condition that the ‘Mannargudi mafia’ is kept out of the party(AFP)

Merger talks a temporary balm as AIADMK struggles to stay afloat

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON APR 29, 2017 07:29 AM IST
Much of the turmoil within the AIADMK is because of the lack of vision by its leaders. Even if the party survives the current crisis, it will not be the same old party, but a pale shadow of its former self. The Mannargudi mafia is likely to be booted out by OPS and Edappadi Palaniswami, but they will not be able to galvanise a disillusioned party cadre. A dent in the AIADMK’s stature is likely to benefit the BJP
Washington has accused the Bashar al-Assad government of carrying out the attacks. The Syrian government, and its allies Russia and Iran, have demanded that an independent investigation into the matter.(PTI File Photo)
Washington has accused the Bashar al-Assad government of carrying out the attacks. The Syrian government, and its allies Russia and Iran, have demanded that an independent investigation into the matter.(PTI File Photo)

Syria happy with India’s ‘balanced’ stand on crisis: Riad Abbas, Syrian ambassador to India

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON APR 14, 2017 07:12 AM IST
Washington has accused the Bashar al-Assad government of carrying out the attacks. The Syrian government, and its allies Russia and Iran, have demanded that an independent investigation into the matter.
This move by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation , without doubt, is a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat initiative(Shutterstock)
This move by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation , without doubt, is a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat initiative(Shutterstock)

Opening toilets in restaurants for public use is a welcome move

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON MAR 15, 2017 03:10 PM IST
This move by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation , without doubt, is a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat initiative
O Panneerselvam being greeted by party supporters, Chennai. (File Photo)(PTI)
O Panneerselvam being greeted by party supporters, Chennai. (File Photo)(PTI)

Sasikala convicted: Panneerselvam’s troubles are far from over

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 01:17 PM IST
The conviction of Sasikala has opened the floodgates of political ambition not only in the ruling AIADMK, but also among Opposition parties
Even if Sasikala wins this round, and is sworn in as CM, O Panneerselvam, with the backing of the people will ride on an anti-Sasikala wave, which could be in the form of protests or dissent within the party(PTI)
Even if Sasikala wins this round, and is sworn in as CM, O Panneerselvam, with the backing of the people will ride on an anti-Sasikala wave, which could be in the form of protests or dissent within the party(PTI)

SWOT analysis: Panneerselvam has the strength to defeat Sasikala, but his weaknesses are many

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 07:13 AM IST
It is not sure how this will end, but one thing is clear — OPS will emerge as the victor. He will have the last laugh no matter which way the wind blows. The best case scenario for him is to become CM and leader the AIADMK, the worst is to break the party, stop Sasikala and in the process become a political heavyweight in Tamil Nadu
File photo AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa with O Panneerselvam during her swearing-in ceremony as chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 2015.(PTI File Photo)
File photo AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa with O Panneerselvam during her swearing-in ceremony as chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 2015.(PTI File Photo)

How Panneerselvam found his political spine in revolt against Sasikala

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 07:13 AM IST
Over the past 24 hours, Tamil Nadu’s caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam has shattered the image of a docile, compliant man whose unflinching loyalty to his late predecessor and benefactor J Jayalalithaa made many suspect his political acumen.
VK Sasikala is the most recognisable face in the AIADMK, with, probably, O Panneerselvam as an exception(AFP)
VK Sasikala is the most recognisable face in the AIADMK, with, probably, O Panneerselvam as an exception(AFP)

What makes Sasikala so powerful and indispensable for the AIADMK

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2017 07:14 AM IST
Rumoured to hold the party’s purse strings, the most recognisable face among leaders and good ties with regional groups and parties — all these factors work in Sasikala’s favour. However, Sasikala will have to earn her political legitimacy if she has to quell any form of dissent and doubt regarding her stature
Supporters say Jallikattu is Tamil culture, but critics say it’s cruel to animals.(PTI)
Supporters say Jallikattu is Tamil culture, but critics say it’s cruel to animals.(PTI)

The repeated neglect of Tamil identity is the rallying point for Jallikattu protests

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2017 06:01 PM IST
The sentiments behind the protests in Tamil Nadu have moved beyond just the ban on Jallikattu, and have now become the manifestation of the many wrongs — perceived and real — meted out to the Tamil people by Delhi. To call the protests politically motivated or as an animal rights issue would be to water it down
Jallikattu was banned by the Supreme Court in May, 2014.
Jallikattu was banned by the Supreme Court in May, 2014.

Kamal Haasan to GV Prakash: Why Tamil actors support Jallikattu

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2017 06:41 PM IST
Over the years, the event—which was primarily organised around the local temple—became violent with numerous instances of animals being abused. This led to the Supreme Court banning Jallikattu in May 2014.
MK Stalin, much like M Karunanidhi, is a leader who has worked his way up the DMK hierarchy(PTI)
MK Stalin, much like M Karunanidhi, is a leader who has worked his way up the DMK hierarchy(PTI)

In Tamil Nadu, the stars align in favour of MK Stalin

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2017 07:07 PM IST
The appointment of MK Stalin as the working president of the DMK was expected. However, it gains significance because of the timing: The state has lost a powerful leader and Stalin could emerge as the political stalwart if he makes the right moves
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing a traditional Ladakhi dress at a function in Leh. (Representative Photo)(HT File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing a traditional Ladakhi dress at a function in Leh. (Representative Photo)(HT File Photo)

Gonchas in Kargil: The State must not dictate sartorial choices

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON JAN 04, 2017 03:52 PM IST
The district administration of Kargil wants all district officials to attend office in traditional attire on Mondays and Saturdays. Since when has it become the prerogative of the State to decide — and in some cases dictate — the sartorial choices of the people?
Kamal C Chavara, a Malayalam writer and theatre personality. (Facebook)
Kamal C Chavara, a Malayalam writer and theatre personality. (Facebook)

Is the Left in Kerala losing space to Right-wing groups?

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
PUBLISHED ON DEC 20, 2016 11:59 AM IST
The arrest of Kamal C Chavara is the latest example of how Right-wing and nationalist groups are carving a space for themselves in Kerala while the Left is becoming an overarching hollow shell over the state. It is a sign that the Left in India are losing the last of its major strongholds, and that of the BJP is increasing its presence in the southern state
Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth (left) with then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, April 2014.(AFP)
Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth (left) with then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, April 2014.(AFP)

The political opportunity for Rajinikanth has come and gone

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON DEC 12, 2016 06:15 PM IST
Rajinikanth is still loved and adored by his fans and, without doubt, is a popular entertainer. But it is highly unlikely that he could encash that popularity in politics.
(Photo from the Facebook page of Jaipur Art Summit)
(Photo from the Facebook page of Jaipur Art Summit)

Jaipur art show vandalised: There must be a message against moral policing

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON DEC 09, 2016 08:35 PM IST
One of the main reasons why such groups, which see such high-handedness as the easiest way to gain fame, feel encouraged is because of police inaction or the lack of a strong message from the government’s side. Quick and stern action should be taken against these self-styled culture guardians
Supporters pay tribute to late Tamil Ndau chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Madurai.(PTI Photo)
Supporters pay tribute to late Tamil Ndau chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Madurai.(PTI Photo)

J Jayalalithaa: A political icon like none

Hindustan Times | By Viju Cherian
UPDATED ON DEC 08, 2016 01:02 PM IST
The crowds at Apollo hospital, at Poes Garden, at Rajaji Hall and at Marina Beach said it all — J Jayalalithaa was a people’s leader. She knew the pulse of the people, fine-tuned her schemes for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu and cultivated her profile as a leader who lived and died by the Tamil slogan: “Udal Mannukku Uyir Thamizhukku” (loosely translated it means: Body for the land, soul for the Tamil cause/people).
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