Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt

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

Articles by Barkha Dutt
Devotees stop a car to check if any women are headed towards the Sabarimala temple, Kerala, October 16(REUTERS)
Devotees stop a car to check if any women are headed towards the Sabarimala temple, Kerala, October 16(REUTERS)

Shame at Sabarimala: Why India’s women need a uniform civil code

PUBLISHED ON OCT 19, 2018 05:29 PM IST
As a proud feminist I do not accept that tradition and custom can remain frozen in time
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BSP supremo Mayawati and Janata Congress (Chhatisgarh) president Ajit Jogi at a press conference, Lucknow, September 20(PTI)
BSP supremo Mayawati and Janata Congress (Chhatisgarh) president Ajit Jogi at a press conference, Lucknow, September 20(PTI)

Will it be Modi versus Mayawati in the 2019 elections? | By Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON SEP 22, 2018 08:04 AM IST
At the moment, it is Mayawati who is stitching together a state-by-state patchwork quilt of partnerships - the Gowdas in Karnataka, Jogi in central India and the Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana.
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A file picture of former Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra and former DGP SP Vaid(PTI)
A file picture of former Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra and former DGP SP Vaid(PTI)

Experimenting with the security apparatus, like the transfer of SP Vaid, isn’t in Kashmir’s interest | Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON SEP 08, 2018 09:51 AM IST
It is believed that one of the controversies that cost SP Vaid his job was the swap deal the Jammu and Kasmir police were compelled to make: releasing relatives of terrorists in exchange for the release of kidnapped family members of local policemen.
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Volunteers at an aid distribution centre inside a stadium in Kochi, Kerala, August 19(REUTERS)
Volunteers at an aid distribution centre inside a stadium in Kochi, Kerala, August 19(REUTERS)

Refusing foreign aid for Kerala is churlish and narcissistic, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON AUG 25, 2018 05:30 PM IST
India wanted to assert its self reliance; the scale of its economy and the end of any donor-driven influence. But India is not going around asking anyone for help; the offers have come from other nations on their own.
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Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu greets newly-elected RS Deputy Chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh during the Monsoon session of Parliament, New Delhi, August 9(PTI)
Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu greets newly-elected RS Deputy Chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh during the Monsoon session of Parliament, New Delhi, August 9(PTI)

The Opposition is living in a bubble. And it just burst

UPDATED ON AUG 10, 2018 07:47 PM IST
Stung by defeat, some Opposition MPs are privately wondering why the election for Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson was fought at all
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Nitish Kumar, who is already driving a hard bargain in seat-sharing negotiations with Amit Shah, is said to be open to the idea of a ‘ghar-wapsi.’ Congress President Sonia Gandhi is believed to have been approached to work on ‘softening’ the RJD to the idea.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Nitish Kumar, who is already driving a hard bargain in seat-sharing negotiations with Amit Shah, is said to be open to the idea of a ‘ghar-wapsi.’ Congress President Sonia Gandhi is believed to have been approached to work on ‘softening’ the RJD to the idea.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Is Bihar the missing piece in the 2019 jigsaw puzzle?

UPDATED ON JUL 28, 2018 09:08 AM IST
The weak link in the chain is Bihar where Nitish Kumar has started making discernible murmurs against the BJP just a year after he abandoned his alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav. But Lalu’s son Tejaswi is almost more dismissive of Nitish than he is of Modi, telling me, that there is no way they can work with “Chacha Paltu” again.
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Sajad Gani Lone, a leader of the People's Conference, in Srinagar, May 22, 2007(REUTERS)
Sajad Gani Lone, a leader of the People's Conference, in Srinagar, May 22, 2007(REUTERS)

Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah should welcome a third force in Kashmir, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2018 02:22 PM IST
If a new political force is born from the chaos and contradictions of Kashmir politics today, Delhi should welcome it. And the other two Valley-based parties should stop complaining. If Delhi is to blame for the lack of forward movement in Kashmir today; so are they.
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Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti addressing a press conference in Srinagar, June 19(PTI)
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti addressing a press conference in Srinagar, June 19(PTI)

Mehbooba Mufti’s Manmohan moment

UPDATED ON JUN 29, 2018 05:24 PM IST
As the state spiralled into free-fall, I saw the former CM become the very opposite of what I have known her to be
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People carry the coffin of slain editor-in-chief of the Srinagar-based newspaper, Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, during a funeral procession at Kreeri, some 40 kms north of Srinagar(Waseem Andrabi/ HT)
People carry the coffin of slain editor-in-chief of the Srinagar-based newspaper, Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, during a funeral procession at Kreeri, some 40 kms north of Srinagar(Waseem Andrabi/ HT)

The government’s Kashmir policy needs a reboot, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JUN 16, 2018 02:48 PM IST
Else, as Shujaat’s assassination shows us, things could become entirely irretrievable
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(L to R): NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, BSP leader Mayawati, RLD leader Ajit Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, newly sworn-in Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, RLD leader Tejashwi Yadav and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, in Bengaluru on May 23, 2018.(PTI)
(L to R): NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, BSP leader Mayawati, RLD leader Ajit Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, newly sworn-in Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, RLD leader Tejashwi Yadav and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, in Bengaluru on May 23, 2018.(PTI)

Regionalism, not secularism, is the new pivot of Indian politics, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JUN 02, 2018 10:39 AM IST
The party that will be hurt the most by the ascent of regional forces and their localised identities will be the Congress. Most likely the political fault line in 2019 will be Hindutva vs Caste disruptions
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Congress President Rahul Gandhi during a press meet, in Bengaluru, May 10. Gandhi erred in the Karnataka campaign by saying he was ready to be the Prime Minister if the Congress emerged as the largest party in 2019(PTI)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi during a press meet, in Bengaluru, May 10. Gandhi erred in the Karnataka campaign by saying he was ready to be the Prime Minister if the Congress emerged as the largest party in 2019(PTI)

Opposition versus Modi: Why fighting the BJP locally is a good strategy, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2018 10:23 AM IST
By focusing too much on personality-centric narratives, the Opposition is walking straight into a trap set by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi
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Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra with chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta at the swearing-in ceremony after the cabinet reshuffle, Jammu, May 30(PTI)
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra with chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta at the swearing-in ceremony after the cabinet reshuffle, Jammu, May 30(PTI)

The BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir may not end, but it should, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2018 11:40 AM IST
The division between the two parties only makes India’s most sensitive state that much more vulnerable. Terrorism, the embrace of militancy by locals, religious radicalisation, Hindu-Muslim communalisation, jingoism, hysterical television channels, a collapse of any space for dialogue - all of it is terrible news.
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Lawyers and students hold placards during a protest demanding justice for the 8-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Kathua, Srinagar, April 18, 2018(PTI)
Lawyers and students hold placards during a protest demanding justice for the 8-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Kathua, Srinagar, April 18, 2018(PTI)

Kathua rape: No, your Lordships, don’t shroud her name in silence

UPDATED ON APR 20, 2018 07:13 PM IST
My problem with it is that it reinforces the hush-hush element to our conversation about sexual violence. It subliminally signals that silence or discreet whispers is the way to talk about rape
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For now it is Facebook that has come under scrutiny; but in the digital dystopia that is our new normal, our privacy is just as vulnerable on other online and offline platforms(REUTERS)
For now it is Facebook that has come under scrutiny; but in the digital dystopia that is our new normal, our privacy is just as vulnerable on other online and offline platforms(REUTERS)

Facebook has begun to do its part, now so must the government | Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON APR 06, 2018 08:22 PM IST
Facebook is on the mat for a breach that impacted 87 million users globally and these are all welcome measures to enable the start of a long overdue conversation about privacy in India where the laws needed to protect it still don’t exist
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A file picture of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.(PTI)
A file picture of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.(PTI)

Kejriwal says sorry: A personality crisis for the Aam Aadmi Party | By Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON MAR 24, 2018 07:41 AM IST
The Delhi CM’s apology spree erodes the very foundation on which his party was built
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Police trying to control a group of people protesting the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu, January 30(PTI)
Police trying to control a group of people protesting the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, Jammu, January 30(PTI)

Using our national flag to defend a rapist — now that’s anti-national | By Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2018 07:10 PM IST
All politicians should keep their distance from this sensitive case. This is no time for point-scoring or political sloganeering. We cannot forget that in the end this is about a young girl who took her ponies to graze near a village pond when she was kidnapped, drugged, brutalised and dumped in the thick of the forests. She was a child
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Congress President and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi addresses media personnel, New Delhi, February 7, 2018(Sonu Mehta/HT)
Congress President and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi addresses media personnel, New Delhi, February 7, 2018(Sonu Mehta/HT)

Pakoda is the new chai. The Opposition learns from Modi’s playbook | By Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON FEB 09, 2018 07:11 PM IST
The elections in 2019 may be different from the one in 2014, in one fundamental way — a suddenly re-energised Congress has learnt some of the same tricks of the trade that Narendra Modi used to demolish it
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A policeman outside the entrance of Ritz Cinema, Shimla, January 25, 2018(AFP)
A policeman outside the entrance of Ritz Cinema, Shimla, January 25, 2018(AFP)

Bollywood, and not just the political class, has let down Padmaavat | Barkha Dutt column

UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2018 07:39 PM IST
Irrespective of whether or not Padmaavat is a fine film, by refusing to publicly take on the frenzied bigotry of the Karni Sena, Bollywood has opened itself up to similar lunatic threats in the future
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Supreme Court judges Kurian Joseph and J Chelameswar addresses the media, New Delhi, January 12, 2018(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
Supreme Court judges Kurian Joseph and J Chelameswar addresses the media, New Delhi, January 12, 2018(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Supreme Court judges vs CJI: Dipak Misra must lead the resolution | By Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JAN 12, 2018 11:55 PM IST
No matter what your political ideology is, as citizens, we must reject status quo as a response to this judicial crisis. The Supreme Court has been our moral conscience; it has upheld individual liberty as part of the right to privacy, struck down triple talaq, shown a determination to decriminalise homosexuality, recognised the rights of transgenders and has almost always been more liberal and brave than our elected leaders in delivering justice
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BJP workers and supporters celebrate party’s success in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)
BJP workers and supporters celebrate party’s success in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

Gujarat election results: 6 takeaways from the Modi-Rahul battle | Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2017 08:02 AM IST
The BJP’s victory in Gujarat reinforces the primacy of Narendra Modi as first among equals but it also shows that the other side has upped its game.
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Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting in Amreli, Gujarat, November 29, 2017(PTI)
Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting in Amreli, Gujarat, November 29, 2017(PTI)

Gujarat elections: Pakistan spectre, talk of Rahul Gandhi’s Hindu credentials worrying, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON DEC 16, 2017 09:23 AM IST
The disturbing bit was for the Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala to claim that Gandhi was not just a Hindu; he was a ‘janeu-dhari’ believer. This referencing of the ‘sacred thread’ with all its upper caste connotations was a desperate me-too moment for the Congress that militated against its claim of being a party for the Dalits, minorities and tribals
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An army soldier offers juice to a child after she was rescued from a cable car in Gulmarg, Kashmir, in June 2017. The army was called in to help with rescue efforts after a cable car came crashing down from a height of at least 100 feet in the tourist resort of Gulmarg, leaving scores of tourists stranded.(AP File Photo)
An army soldier offers juice to a child after she was rescued from a cable car in Gulmarg, Kashmir, in June 2017. The army was called in to help with rescue efforts after a cable car came crashing down from a height of at least 100 feet in the tourist resort of Gulmarg, leaving scores of tourists stranded.(AP File Photo)

Disagree with using the Army to build bridges in Mumbai, writes Barkha Dutt

By Barkha Dutt
UPDATED ON NOV 04, 2017 08:49 AM IST
The Soldier is not a ‘stepney’ to be brought in every time the vehicle of civil administration develops a snag; he is not a spare part meant to fix faulty administrative performances.
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What sets Manmohan Singh apart among politicians of his ilk is that he never turned hostile to journalists even when we were brutal in our critique(PTI)
What sets Manmohan Singh apart among politicians of his ilk is that he never turned hostile to journalists even when we were brutal in our critique(PTI)

Manmohan Singh deserves a better report card than he got, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON OCT 21, 2017 08:20 AM IST
He was that rare entity in Indian politics — a genuinely democratic leader who made space for some dissent and did not personalise media criticism of him. As the second tenure of the UPA descended into chaos and corruption scandals I was among the many journalists who became unsparing in my criticism of his leadership. But not once did he hold that against me or anyone else or clamp down on information routes or reporting access to officials in the Prime Minister’s office
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Boatmen row their boats during the Shikara festival, Dal Lake, Srinagar, May 2. The festival was organised by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department to promote tourism (Representative Photo)(PTI)
Boatmen row their boats during the Shikara festival, Dal Lake, Srinagar, May 2. The festival was organised by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department to promote tourism (Representative Photo)(PTI)

The new Jammu and Kashmir ad campaign goes beyond tourism

UPDATED ON OCT 08, 2017 01:33 PM IST
This campaign video is important because after the relentless and caricatured demonisation of the ordinary Kashmiri by primetime prejudice, here is finally an alternative view that humanises and validates the warmth of the Kashmir I know and love
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Demonstrators hold placards with the photograph of Gauri Lankesh during a 'Not In My Name' protest in New Delhi on September 7, 2017.(AFP)
Demonstrators hold placards with the photograph of Gauri Lankesh during a 'Not In My Name' protest in New Delhi on September 7, 2017.(AFP)

Ideological clashes only dishonour what Gauri Lankesh stood for, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON SEP 08, 2017 06:04 PM IST
Gauri Lankesh, a critic of Hindu extremism, who was shot dead at her house in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening. Her murder is an insurmountable loss to critical journalism in India.
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We owe gratitude to the Supreme Court for drawing a lakshman rekha against invasive State power – and for its promise – that no mob will control our thoughts.(Reuters)
We owe gratitude to the Supreme Court for drawing a lakshman rekha against invasive State power – and for its promise – that no mob will control our thoughts.(Reuters)

Beyond Aadhaar: The privacy verdict is a manifesto of hope and a celebration of freedom

UPDATED ON AUG 26, 2017 07:31 AM IST
How the right to privacy will be applied specifically will obviously be decided on a case by case basis. But by conflating privacy with dignity, diversity, dissent, choice and freedom, the court has widened the issue to a reading of first principles.
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A file photo of Ahmed-Patel with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Leveraging what one Congressman described as “old equities” Ahmed Patel’s fight to retain his seat was almost entirely an individual battle till the penultimate moments(PTI)
A file photo of Ahmed-Patel with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Leveraging what one Congressman described as “old equities” Ahmed Patel’s fight to retain his seat was almost entirely an individual battle till the penultimate moments(PTI)

It was Ahmed Patel who won in Gujarat, not the Congress party, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON AUG 11, 2017 06:47 PM IST
Ahmed Patel’s victory in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election — met with distinctly noticeable silence on social media by Rahul Gandhi — has exposed the internal fault-lines within the party.
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Nitish Kumar with Sushil Kumar Modi at Raj Bhawan in Patna on Thursday. No one really thinks that Nitish Kumar’s exit from the coalition was driven by principled opposition to corruption.(Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
Nitish Kumar with Sushil Kumar Modi at Raj Bhawan in Patna on Thursday. No one really thinks that Nitish Kumar’s exit from the coalition was driven by principled opposition to corruption.(Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

Congress needs a new slogan and India needs a new opposition, writes Barkha Dutt

UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2017 02:35 PM IST
Not only is the Congress, with its present set of weapons and ammunition, not battle-ready to take on the BJP; it isn’t even equipped any longer to lead the opposition.
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Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel with Salim Sheikh, the driver of the bus attacked by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.(PTI)
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel with Salim Sheikh, the driver of the bus attacked by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.(PTI)

In a week of tragedy, four reasons that give me hope in Kashmir | Barkha Dutt column

UPDATED ON JUL 16, 2017 09:06 PM IST
Rajnath Singh, Mehbooba Mufti, Salim Sheikh and the people of the state make me optimistic
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Director general of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid laying a wreath at the coffin of slain DSP Mohammed Ayub Pandit in Srinagar, June 23, 2017. Pandit was lynched by the mob outside Jamia Masjid.(PTI)
Director general of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid laying a wreath at the coffin of slain DSP Mohammed Ayub Pandit in Srinagar, June 23, 2017. Pandit was lynched by the mob outside Jamia Masjid.(PTI)

Ode to Kashmiri policemen, softest targets of the insurgency: Barkha Dutt | Opinion

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2017 08:07 PM IST
In the sharply polarised Kashmir valley, where jingoists and separatists have hijacked the discourse, squeezing out every inch of nuance, I cannot think of a single group that is more endangered by all sides than the Jammu and Kashmir police.
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