Home  

Date(17-11-2014): In ten days, Kashmir will go to polls. Do you hear the silence? It’s the silence of the old commentariat... those international opinionists who would exude scorn at any kind of democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir because of their own biases. There are no crude comments now from the OIC, the EU or from surly American commentators on the right to self-determination of Kashmiris being ignored... at the altar of Indian democracy. Yes, they have said something to that effect in the past. Why, even Pakistani commentators have more or less accepted that assembly elections in J&K are inevitable and more importantly, the people of the state want them.

Date(10-11-2014): Robin Raphel, former US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and India’s long time foe is now under a counter-intelligence probe. According to media reports from Washington DC, the investigation involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments. If the charges are proven, then it would hold that Ms Robin was not just India’s enemy; she was a foe to her own country as well.

Date(03-11-2014): Mr Robert Vadra’s “Are you serious?” seems to have captured the media’s imagination more than the fact that he called the ANI reporter an idiot and nut, demanded the footage be deleted, instructed his guards to delete the footage and that the guards obliged him by dropping their mandate of guarding their protectee and proceeded to detain and harass the reporter to delete the footage. Let us leave the larger issue of the Haryana land deal and/or corruption aside and focus on the incident of Saturday night.

Date(27-10-2014): The selfie epidemic is contagious. You will catch it if you have a camera-phone. Nobody is immune from it - from Narendra Modi to Barack Obama to Sonam Kapoor and yours truly. We have all clicked our own pictures eating, posing with family or celebrities or near monuments and during important moments. We document it for posterity, delete it if embarrassing, share with friends and family who are far away, post it on social media for FB likes and retweets. Momentary vanity or embarrassing moment, it is a thrill that you want to relish or keep forever.

Date(20-10-2014): The BJP’s achche din juggernaut rolls on. Tripling its numbers in an assembly election is no mean feat. But Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are on a roll. This partnership has brought in more laurels to the BJP than the Vajpayee-Advani partnership. One victory after another. And nobody is complaining though some, even in the BJP, do seem a bit overwhelmed.

Date(13-10-2014): It is more than a week since the prime minister has returned from the US and by norm, reporting should have whittled down, attention should have shifted to the Next Big Story, and follow-up should have been left to the babus of Delhi to do in ‘due course of time’.

Date(06-10-2014): I first covered an Indian Prime Minister at the UN when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister in the early 2000s and nobody gave a rat’s posterior of what an Indian PM had to say at the UN. Being part of the Indian media contingent, one could only hope for a passing mention of the Indian PM. And hopefully not hyphenated with Pakistan or Kashmir crisis. But even that was ambitious. In contrast Pakistan’s President General Musharraf was all over the place. He even managed to appear on Jay Leno’s show, which was huge.

Date(29-09-2014): Modi supporters are everywhere. I bet Mangalyaan will find them even on Mars. Here in New York, there are Modi supporters all across Manhattan. They have come in busloads to support their hero. So from Dekho Dekho kaun ayaa... Bharat ka sher aya (Look who has come, India’s lion is here) to Bharat Mata ki Jai to Vande Mataram, every slogan that Narendra Modi the campaigner raised during his gruelling election campaign was repeated over the weekend in the Big Apple.

Date(22-09-2014): Even as the Chinese President left Indian shores, there was a sense of unease that nothing y has really changed between India and China in all these decades. Trade, yes. Suspicion, oh yes. Distrust, most certainly. Same page, definitely not. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the Chinese first couple on a guided tour of Sabarmati Ashram and the Narmada Riverfront with disarming simplicity of purpose. President Xi Jinping also made the right moves, donned a Khadi jacket, smiled at times, and seemed to enjoy the meal. And yet, his army was marching into the Indian territory even while all this bonhomie was on.

Date(15-09-2014): I am always a bit flabbergasted reading tweets or hearing people saying “I am proud of being a Hindu” or “Garv sey kaho hum Hindu hain”. It is by accident of birth that one is born a Hindu. One really had no choice in the matter. Converting to Hindusim is not really easy. So how does one claim pride in something that was fate or fortuity?

Date(08-09-2014): Travelling to countries that have witnessed partition and wars and managed to move on from that trauma is always an introspective experience. One ends up drawing parallels and experience a sameness of sorts. I visited South Korea last week as an invitee of the Cultural Communication Forum. For three days, 16 delegates from around the world were taken to museums, restaurants and high-tech offices to experience Korean culture.

Date(01-09-2014): Readers of a certain vintage would recall a ghastly Bollywood film produced in 1980 called Sau Din Saas Kay which had Reena Roy as the rebel daughter-in-law and Lalita Pawar as the archetypal vicious mother-in-law. This film was loud and melodramatic but it was a huge hit because suddenly tables had turned. The daughter-in-law had changed the equation in the Hindu undivided family. Somehow a 100 days is supposed to make a difference. The ‘nice’ period ends. Everybody is open to critical analysis at the end of a hundred days. So here goes the saucy tale of a hundred days.