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Showing posts from July, 2016

Book Review: Half Lion - How PV Narasimha Rao Transformed India

At a time Bharatavarsha was largely fragmented with Greek invaders still lurking around, a brahmin scholar masterminded their expulsion and reinstated a powerful Indian empire using the military strength of Chandragupta Maurya. Mired in myths, the name Chanakya, invokes to this day, the image of a scheming strategist who used realpolitik as a necessary means to common good.
Two millenniums later, the modern nation-state of India found itself in more dire conditions. Four decades of socialist governance brought the nation to the cusp of economic collapse, separatist movements in Punjab, Kashmir, North-East and even Tamil Nadu threatened the democracy, India’s supporter in the world-stage (USSR) was at the brink of breakdown, and the nation just lost its charismatic leader in suicide bomb. Just when it appeared all hope was lost, destiny intervened and brought a scholar-politician on the verge of retirement back to the corridors of power – to the country’s top job.
Vinay Sitapati’s “Half…

The case for an idle summer vacation

As a child, the onset of monsoon was a sad reminder that the summer vacation was coming to an end. Our entire year revolved around it – yearning for it before its arrival, praying for its eternity while there and overcoming the deep denial mode when it’s gone. Even as I recollect them now, it overwhelms me with nostalgic pleasure.
Rudely awakened in the present, I am alarmed to see young parents determined to deprive their kid of the wanton joys of summer vacations by putting them through “productive” endeavors. Not to be left behind the school’s grind, parents take up its role zealously, lest they – oh, the shame – underperform in comparison. “Competition ka zamana hai”, they hurl towards anyone suggesting that their child is best left alone at this (st)age. In a way, it’s not their fault. Many (if not most) in this demographic have vivid recollections of their humble backgrounds and how their parents’ struggled to meet ends. Their deep-seated insecurities are still lodged in the rece…