Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt is consulting editor, NDTV, and founding member, Ideas Collective. She tweets as @BDUTT.

Articles by Barkha Dutt
Actor Deepika Padukone is seen at a gathering in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, January 7, 2020(Vipin Kumar /HT PHOTO)
Actor Deepika Padukone is seen at a gathering in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, January 7, 2020(Vipin Kumar /HT PHOTO)

The immense integrity and courage of Deepika Padukone, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2020 05:27 PM IST
In a risk-averse and status-quoist industry such as Bollywood, it’s not easy to go against the tide
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People protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, December 25, 2019(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
People protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, December 25, 2019(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

Anti-CAA protests: The assertion of nationalism and idealism

PUBLISHED ON DEC 27, 2019 07:03 PM IST
The protests have signalled the arrival of a new young constituency. And the BJP has alienated it
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The Northeast protests show that ethnicity, language and culture are as emotive, sometimes, even more so, than religion. It is a lesson in the complexity of India(REUTERS)
The Northeast protests show that ethnicity, language and culture are as emotive, sometimes, even more so, than religion. It is a lesson in the complexity of India(REUTERS)

How Citizenship Act, NRC will alter the idea of India, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON DEC 14, 2019 06:36 AM IST
All of us will have to prove our Indianness. And the poorest and the Muslims will be the most hit
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Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur in Bhopal, May 23, 2019(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)
Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur in Bhopal, May 23, 2019(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

Pragya Thakur has to go. She has undermined BJP’s own position, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON NOV 30, 2019 06:05 AM IST
If the party believes in nationalism, it must act. Or it will be seen as compromised on the issue
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The Sabarimala judgment or even the triple talaq order emanated from the SC’s determination that these were not essential to faith. But what if there is an essential practice which is discriminatory? Shouldn’t equality prevail over faith?(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
The Sabarimala judgment or even the triple talaq order emanated from the SC’s determination that these were not essential to faith. But what if there is an essential practice which is discriminatory? Shouldn’t equality prevail over faith?(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Sabarimala: With its ‘essentiality doctrine’, has SC walked into a trap? | Opinion

UPDATED ON NOV 16, 2019 08:09 AM IST
The court is not the clergy. Instead of deciding on what is integral to faith, follow the Constitution
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You can’t argue against internationalising the Kashmir issue and, at the same time, privilege outsiders over your own people(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
You can’t argue against internationalising the Kashmir issue and, at the same time, privilege outsiders over your own people(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)

How the BJP went against its India-first narrative, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON NOV 04, 2019 08:35 PM IST
The MEPs’ visit, its host’s credentials, and the lockdown have negated the gains the government had hoped for
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People wait outside a Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank branch to withdraw their money in Mumbai, September 25(REUTERS)
People wait outside a Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank branch to withdraw their money in Mumbai, September 25(REUTERS)

The PMC Bank fraud exposes the limits of capitalism, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON OCT 19, 2019 06:57 AM IST
What makes this especially outrageous is that this could have been caught much earlier
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Kashmir needs its own Gandhi — a new leader who can mobilise people without losing moral legitimacy in the eyes of other Indians. Only a Gandhi-like figure can bridge the gap, reconcile contradictions, process complexity, and carry warring sides into a truce(National Gandhi Museum)
Kashmir needs its own Gandhi — a new leader who can mobilise people without losing moral legitimacy in the eyes of other Indians. Only a Gandhi-like figure can bridge the gap, reconcile contradictions, process complexity, and carry warring sides into a truce(National Gandhi Museum)

In polarised times, a Gandhi in Kashmir, a Gandhi for Kashmir, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON OCT 04, 2019 07:16 PM IST
J&K needs a facilitator of conversations among soldiers, politicians, people. It needs a strategist
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The arrests of mainstream politicians could have initially been explained as a strictly precautionary measure to maintain the writ of law and the semblance of order. Thirty days later, that rationalisation cannot hold(REUTERS)
The arrests of mainstream politicians could have initially been explained as a strictly precautionary measure to maintain the writ of law and the semblance of order. Thirty days later, that rationalisation cannot hold(REUTERS)

The Modi government must allow politics to return to Kashmir, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON SEP 07, 2019 08:52 AM IST
It must integrate Kashmir, lift curbs and release leaders. Otherwise, separatists will get stronger
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Rumours have swirled around the number of people who may be under arrest. Is it the case, as whispers in Srinagar suggest, that no major mainstream politician is ready to face the public? Or is the government unwilling to release them and allow protests?(REUTERS)
Rumours have swirled around the number of people who may be under arrest. Is it the case, as whispers in Srinagar suggest, that no major mainstream politician is ready to face the public? Or is the government unwilling to release them and allow protests?(REUTERS)

Article 370 is gone. It is time to open Kashmir’s political space

UPDATED ON AUG 23, 2019 06:47 PM IST
Preventing deaths was the State’s first priority. But it now must allow political leaders to operate
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Restrictions have been imposed in several districts of Jammu and Kashmir as a precautionary measure after the state lost its special status.(PTI photo)
Restrictions have been imposed in several districts of Jammu and Kashmir as a precautionary measure after the state lost its special status.(PTI photo)

Opinion | Article 370 fallout: Marginalisation of the Kashmiri mainstream

UPDATED ON AUG 10, 2019 07:20 AM IST
Having weakened pro-India politicians, haven’t you only ended up strengthening the extremists?
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It was important to tell the human stories that would prevent our soldiers from becoming statistics, and would remind Indians that these were individuals combating real attachments — parents, girlfriends, children — to place duty above loss(Manish Swarup/HT Archives)
It was important to tell the human stories that would prevent our soldiers from becoming statistics, and would remind Indians that these were individuals combating real attachments — parents, girlfriends, children — to place duty above loss(Manish Swarup/HT Archives)

The Kargil war: ‘Izzat’ and honour for the soldier, after the headlines fade

UPDATED ON JUL 27, 2019 10:12 AM IST
The 20th anniversary of the war is a good time to internalise issues that have alienated the military
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Denying a reporter the chance to meet her sources, under the radar if necessary, or casually over a cup of coffee, is to upend the very idea of what a beat reporter does(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Denying a reporter the chance to meet her sources, under the radar if necessary, or casually over a cup of coffee, is to upend the very idea of what a beat reporter does(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s not about streamlining, it is about freedom of the Press

PUBLISHED ON JUL 12, 2019 06:32 PM IST
The finance ministry’s paternalistic curbs on PIB-accredited journalists must be revoked
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For real change, the Congress needs a new leader. One who does not need to seek the approval or affection of the Gandhis and is able to be her own person(AFP)
For real change, the Congress needs a new leader. One who does not need to seek the approval or affection of the Gandhis and is able to be her own person(AFP)

Rahul Gandhi wants to resign. Here’s why this may be farcical, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2020 09:45 PM IST
If the Gandhis continue to control the party, they may as well give up any insistence on quitting
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If Narendra Modi’s mega mandate isn’t enough to shake the Congress and the others out of their stupor, they must ready for political extinction. (@Rahul Gandhi/Twitter)
If Narendra Modi’s mega mandate isn’t enough to shake the Congress and the others out of their stupor, they must ready for political extinction. (@Rahul Gandhi/Twitter)

Analysis | India needs a new Opposition party. Here’s what the Congress needs to do

UPDATED ON JUN 14, 2019 06:27 PM IST
India desperately needs a new opposition. Among the available options, this can only emerge if one of the existing regional leaders develops a national footprint or if the Congress is reorganised to be a newly born mélange of assertive state chieftains. If Narendra Modi’s mega mandate isn’t enough to shake them out of their stupor, they must ready for political extinction.
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How the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has responded in the week since the results tells you that under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah regime the party’s appetite is voracious and its energy relentless(AFP)
How the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has responded in the week since the results tells you that under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah regime the party’s appetite is voracious and its energy relentless(AFP)

Opinion | Modi’s mandate shows that the age of the part-time politician is over

UPDATED ON MAY 31, 2019 08:32 PM IST
Modi clearly lives and breathes politics every waking minute of the day. As does Shah. In fact that the PM is a bachelor and has no children has also reinforced the perception of him as a spartan leader whose life is fully consumed by politics. More than dynasty, the Gandhis have to contend with a new-style politics that demands absolute mindspace from them.
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BJP workers celebrate the party's lead on the counting day of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Varanasi, May 23, 2019(Rajesh Kumar / Hindustan Times)
BJP workers celebrate the party's lead on the counting day of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Varanasi, May 23, 2019(Rajesh Kumar / Hindustan Times)

Opinion | Seven ways to unpack Modi’s handsome victory

UPDATED ON MAY 24, 2019 01:54 PM IST
The story of Modi’s rise and rise cannot be told without chronicling the abject failure of the Congress and the complacency of its leadership. Even in the three states it won in the December assembly elections, the party was unable to consolidate its position
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This time the near absence of all other vocal voices - a typical Indian election is usually about varied opinions, debate, disagreement, passionate advocacy for one or the other party - has me wondering: Is there a silent voter out there?(PTI)
This time the near absence of all other vocal voices - a typical Indian election is usually about varied opinions, debate, disagreement, passionate advocacy for one or the other party - has me wondering: Is there a silent voter out there?(PTI)

Will 2019 be a wave election or an election driven by silent voters?

PUBLISHED ON MAY 03, 2019 06:20 PM IST
Many people may have decided not to open up to pollsters or journalists about their preferences
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BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur gestures while addressing a party workers' meeting for Lok Sabha polls, Bhopal, April 18, 2019(PTI)
BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur gestures while addressing a party workers' meeting for Lok Sabha polls, Bhopal, April 18, 2019(PTI)

Pragya Thakur is anti-national. So is the BJP’s decision to field her

UPDATED ON APR 19, 2019 07:03 PM IST
This humiliation of a gallant Ashok Chakra hero by the BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate is an insult not just to Hemant Karkare’s individual sacrifice; it is a smear on the uniform.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.(Photo: Manoj Yadav / Hindustan Times)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.(Photo: Manoj Yadav / Hindustan Times)

Opinion | Adityanath calls the Indian Army ‘Modi Sena’. Why we should all be furious

UPDATED ON APR 05, 2019 06:36 PM IST
Surveys routinely show that the Indian Army is the country’s most trusted institution. It remains unscathed by the cynicism and lack of trust that has plagued almost every other pillar of democracy. But while the army has always been the first frontier of protection; it must now rise to keep its own essence secure.
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Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the booth presidents convention at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, March 11, 2019(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the booth presidents convention at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, March 11, 2019(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

Opinion | Is the Congress playing for 2019 or 2024?

UPDATED ON MAR 22, 2019 09:17 PM IST
It appears to be hell-bent on revival instead of resuscitation. When the fight is existential, shouldn’t the party opt for pragmatism over pride?
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Security personnel inspect the blast site in Lethpora, Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, February 15, 2019(Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)
Security personnel inspect the blast site in Lethpora, Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, February 15, 2019(Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)

Opinion | We must reclaim our nationalism from the clutches of pseudo-patriots, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2019 06:43 PM IST
The Left is embarrassed to show any loyalty to the Indian State, leaving the space to the rightwing
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The Central Reserve Police Force Wives Association pay homage to the martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, 2019, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, February 16, 2019(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
The Central Reserve Police Force Wives Association pay homage to the martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, 2019, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, February 16, 2019(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

After Pulwama, be tough with Pakistan. Be smart internally with Kashmir

PUBLISHED ON FEB 22, 2019 08:02 PM IST
To smear all Kashmiris - as the Meghalaya Governor has done without any public admonishment from the Modi government - is not just wrong; it only helps Pakistan.
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On the ground, there is clear discontent and simmering anger with the government over economic issues, especially the jobs crisis and agrarian distress(Hindustan Times)
On the ground, there is clear discontent and simmering anger with the government over economic issues, especially the jobs crisis and agrarian distress(Hindustan Times)

Opinion| The BJP has got its timing on corruption all wrong, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2019 09:07 PM IST
To act on corruption charges in the twilight of its tenure is not smart politics. It may have handed over the advantage to the opposition
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Priyanka Gandhi’s dramatic, front-foot entry into politics has galvanised Congress cadres and thrown the BJP into sheer confusion. There is a certain audacity and boldness to her debut as general secretary of Uttar Pradesh, East, the political stomping ground of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times)
Priyanka Gandhi’s dramatic, front-foot entry into politics has galvanised Congress cadres and thrown the BJP into sheer confusion. There is a certain audacity and boldness to her debut as general secretary of Uttar Pradesh, East, the political stomping ground of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times)

Will the ‘behen’ be the Congress’s counter to ‘Behenji’ in UP? | Barkha Dutt column

UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2019 07:46 PM IST
The Priyanka Gandhi-Jyotiraditya Scindia project is about the long-term revival of the party in a state that has voted for three Congress prime ministers of the Nehru-Gandhi family. A respectable performance in UP, which can constrict the rise of non-BJP parties, will give the Congress the pivot position in any negotiation by opposition parties over who should be the next PM.
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The Alok Verma case shows that the Central Bureau of Investigation, once again, has become a political football tossed around between competing interests(PTI)
The Alok Verma case shows that the Central Bureau of Investigation, once again, has become a political football tossed around between competing interests(PTI)

More transparency was required in Alok Verma’s removal, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2019 07:40 PM IST
Verma ought to have been given an opportunity to appear before the panel and present his defense. The government should have also addressed the issue in the public domain. If the charges against the head of India’s premiere investigative agency are so grave and are seen to have prima facie merit, don’t the people have a right to know?
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The Congress will be tempted to see itself as the natural leader of the anti-BJP coalition after wresting three states in the heartland from the BJP. At this stage, this claim, while understandable, would only be counterproductive.(HT Photo)
The Congress will be tempted to see itself as the natural leader of the anti-BJP coalition after wresting three states in the heartland from the BJP. At this stage, this claim, while understandable, would only be counterproductive.(HT Photo)

Opinion | Mistakes Modi and Rahul could make after the assembly elections, and should not

By Barkha Dutt
UPDATED ON DEC 15, 2018 01:24 PM IST
Both parties need to understand that arrogance has no place in Indian politics and hubris will extract a cost.
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Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu during ground breaking ceremony for Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan's Kartarpur, November 28, 2018(PTI)
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu during ground breaking ceremony for Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan's Kartarpur, November 28, 2018(PTI)

Kartarpur exposes a lack of coherence in India’s Pakistan policy, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2018 10:28 AM IST
This is not to say that Pakistan speaks in one voice or is consistent in its India policy. When Shah Mehmood Qureshi met us in Islamabad, he categorically said: “This is no googly” to emphasise the sincerity of its intentions. A day later at a public function, he did a complete u-turn and boasted that his government had bowled a googly that compelled India to send two ministers to Pakistan.
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The most powerful statement from America is that even the right-wing television network Fox News supported CNN’s legal suit for basic access to the White House. This would never happen in India where journalists are too busy weakening each other(REUTERS)
The most powerful statement from America is that even the right-wing television network Fox News supported CNN’s legal suit for basic access to the White House. This would never happen in India where journalists are too busy weakening each other(REUTERS)

US media vs Donald Trump: Indian media still waits for its finest hour

UPDATED ON NOV 16, 2018 06:00 PM IST
The most powerful statement from America is that even the right-wing television network Fox News (many of its anchors are open supporters of Trump) stood up to be counted with its support for CNN’s legal suit for basic access to the White House. This would never happen in India where journalists are too busy weakening each other, leaving politicians to have the last laugh.
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MJ Akbar or Tarun Tejpal — and whoever comes next — cannot and must not be mythologised as brooding men of intensity with great achievements and a few minor chinks in their armour.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
MJ Akbar or Tarun Tejpal — and whoever comes next — cannot and must not be mythologised as brooding men of intensity with great achievements and a few minor chinks in their armour.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

MJ Akbar is accused of rape. Can we stop talking about his ‘legacy’?

UPDATED ON NOV 02, 2018 06:48 PM IST
Rape is a criminal offence and one of which the State can take suo motu cognisance
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