Essays, Times of India | 30 August 2021

In the past few weeks, a series of disquieting events have raised the question of trust between government and business. It brought back unhappy memories of the License Raj. Some think that getting government and business to trust each other is hopeless, like getting a pig to sing. ‘It wastes your time and annoys the pig,’ said Mark Twain. Others are wary of crony capitalism, a too cosy relationship between the two. The prosperity of Germany, United States, and Japan has been attributed to high levels of trust between business and the state.

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Times of India | 27 May 2021

The events of the past month have been so tragic, so unspeakably ugly that the only rational response was to pretend it wasn’t happening. The raging second wave of the virus revealed not only the governmental ineptitude but also exposed India’s soft underbelly – our heavy bureaucratic system, which wasn’t nimble enough to cope with the crisis.

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Times of India | 25 April 2021

The dreaded second wave of the coronavirus has created a national emergency. You’d think it would have united our republic, but India remains hopelessly divided. A straightforward problem of vaccinating our people becomes the subject of political football. While aam admi scrambles helplessly from hospital to hospital in search of oxygen, a bed, a ventilator, our political parties behave like prehistoric tribes, fighting elections as though they are battles for extinction. They don’t even share a common vocabulary to empathise in this Age of Hatred.

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Times of India | 25 March 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, professor of political science and a passionate critic of the government, resigned from Ashoka University last week because he felt he’d become a ‘political liability’. The media has portrayed it as a morality tale of good versus evil but, in fact, it’s a tragedy.

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Times of India | 13 February 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day! If I had my way, I’d be wishing you ‘Happy Kama Deva Divas!’ today — an impish suggestion by the irrepressible Shashi Tharoor. Since no one is quite sure about the origins of Valentine’s Day, countries around the world celebrate this festival of love in their own way. The Chinese call it Qixi, remembering a 2,000-year-old story of star-crossed lovers from the Han Dynasty. They look to the heavens at night to watch the stars, as Vega and Altair come close, symbolising the lovers’ annual reunion.

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Essays, Times of India | 12 January 2021

Indians didn’t know what to think. They woke up last Thursday in disbelief to shocking scenes of President Donald Trump’s supporters overrunning the US Capitol. The deliberate assault on democracy by a sitting president, attempting to overturn a fair election, was an ominous moment in American history.

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