Reclaiming the Republic

[Essay published on the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day in Economic & Political Weekly] On the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day, it is worth considering how the very foundational idea of a republic, in which supreme power is held by the people, is at risk despite free and fair elections. To arrive atContinue reading “Reclaiming the Republic”

The farmer’s ‘mann ki baat’

[First published in The Hindu dated May 13, 2015] Everybody has an opinion on farmers these days. Be it politicians, policymakers, editors or economists. In fact, ever since the Parliament reconvened for the Budget session on April 20, the deteriorating condition of farmers has clearly dominated discussions. But even as the issue of agrarian crisis,Continue reading “The farmer’s ‘mann ki baat’”

India: government continues to suppress citizens’ right to information ahead of election

[Republished in leading Indian news sites: Scroll and Quartz] Back in 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ascended to power in India, it did so on the promise of running an open government accountable to its citizens that would eliminate corruption. But nearly five years later, and with an election due between March andContinue reading “India: government continues to suppress citizens’ right to information ahead of election”

Nothing British about the Brits

Nigel Farage’s ‘Independence Day statement’ post the Brexit vote rests on the assumption that there exists a unique ‘British’ culture that needs guarding from immigrant populations. To shatter that myth we only need look at what Britain eats…     Vidya Venkat   If people are what they eat, then there could be nothing uniquelyContinue reading “Nothing British about the Brits”

A fig leaf for the world’s woes

[Long version of essay first published in The Hindu’s blog thREAD] Seventy years after it was founded, the United Nations continues to function on a budget lesser than that of New York City’s. Where is this global organisation headed? Vidya Venkat When I was a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl preparing for my All-India UN Information Test, knowingContinue reading “A fig leaf for the world’s woes”