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M S Prabhakara

Our Own Coventry

Some of the “remote corners” of the country, like Aizawl in Mizoram, seem to function as convenient dumping grounds for political rejects.

U R Ananthamurthy: Writer, Iconoclast, Public Intellectual

U R Ananthamurthy (1932-2014) was the quintessential public intellectual, combative on matters of public interest and unafraid to run counter to popular opinion and prejudices. He won the admiration of many and the hatred of regressive forces and one suspects the latter would have pleased him. His most lasting legacy was in focusing public attention on the perils of political Hindutva.

From LoO to LoP to LoO

The possible abbreviations for the Leader of Opposition offer an interesting diversion into the origin of words and their usage. 

Antony at Work

What does one make of the curious formulations of A K Antony, the highly regarded Congress leader, that the Congress Party fared badly in the Lok Sabha polls because of the widespread perception and resentment among voters that secularism under the Congress actually favoured the minorities, especi­ally the Muslims.

Goodbye, Mr Ambassador!

Like old generals and classic jeans, the Ambassador, the venerable symbol of automotive nirvana for a generation of Indians, will not die but only fade away.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Some Recollections and Reflections

In death Nelson Mandela is undergoing a droll kind of transformation. A revolutionary fighter who led an armed struggle against the apartheid regime became towards the end of his life a universally beloved, almost cuddly, icon of peace and reconciliation. It is true that Mandela mellowed towards the end of his life, evident in what one saw of him in photographs. But the fi re never died, except to the extent that the body itself was losing its vigour. Mandela himself took pains to deny that he was a "saint".

The State, the Nation and the World in Kannada Imagination

Listening to the Loom: Essays on Literature, Politics and Violence by D R Nagaraj; edited with an Introduction by Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi (Ranikhet: Permanent Black), 2012; pp xiii + 365; Rs 750.

Hindus, Muslims: Unique Each in Their Own Way

Though not always in harmony, Hindus and Muslims have for centuries lived together all over this country. While in some cases the people are ghettoised, and the ghettoisation within and among the various Hindu castes and outcastes has been historically and socially institutionalised, Hindus and Muslims are no strangers to each other. Yet, the two people seem to know so little about the inner working of each other. This is certainly the case with the Hindus, considering how widely known Muslim sensitivities are often offended by many gratuitous acts.

Memoirs of a 'White Who Crossed the Line'

The Final Prize: My Life in the Anti-apartheid Struggle by Norman Levy (Cape Town: South African History Online), 2011; pp 478, Rands 275.

Forgetting a Day of Shame

Perhaps this is a sign of the times; for the first time as I can recall in nearly 20 years, the anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 went unnoticed by most newspapers this year. The usual practice till recently was for the newspapers to have a brief backgrounder recounting that infamous event in the issues dated 6 December, and follow-up the next day with reports of protests, vigils and mourning of that act of vandalism of that day in 1992.