On the idea of ‘the people’

[First published in Biblio: A Review of Books, October-December, 2020] I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass. The title of political theorist and anthropologist Partha Chatterjee’s latest book invokes an imagery of the masses as described by Sandburg’s poem of the same title. But the book is not about those people per se, but an exploration rather ofContinue reading “On the idea of ‘the people’”

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’”

In Jayapura, the village Modi adopted

[First published in The Hindu dated May 31, 2015] Jitu Banbasi is a happy man today. A member of the Scheduled Tribe Musahar community, from Jayapura village in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, he lived in a makeshift brick house earlier but is now entitled to a pucca house painted in bright yellow and cobalt blueContinue reading “In Jayapura, the village Modi adopted”

Between Gandhi and Hitler

The dust raised by the “Indian spring” is yet to settle and Mukul Sharma’s book ‘Green and Saffron’, recently published by Permanent Black, has arrived to raise another storm. An entire chapter in this book has been devoted to a careful exposition of the politics behind the Gandhian leading India’s much-watched anti-corruption movement – AnnaContinue reading “Between Gandhi and Hitler”