The page of Gurcharan Das
Contra Hindutva, Kashmiriyat: How consent works in a world of invented nations and fictional nationalisms
The recent change in the political status of Kashmir has deeply wounded the Kashmiris. There is anger, fear, alienation and loss of self-respect. Many have addressed the hurt to Kashmiriyat from a legal or historical perspective. But what is needed is a deeper appreciation of the fact that national and regional identities are imagined creations. Both Hindutva and Kashmiriyat are invented. The only real ‘consent of the people’ is the desire of a person to live in a country. This means that India must become a desirable place to live, not only for Kashmiris, but for all Indians.
Bold vision of Modi 2.0: Moving from ‘garibi hatao’ to ‘amiri lao’ depends on embedding audacious new mindsets
On Sunday night the anchor of a TV show sneeringly and repeatedly referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $5 trillion GDP target. The show was on the poor state of our cities and the well-meaning anchor didn’t mean to demonise economic growth even though it came out sounding that way. When this was pointed out to her, she replied in her defence that India should grow but with responsibility to the environment. No one could disagree with that but the viewer was left unsure about the virtues of growth.
Strong state, strong society: The reforms India needs Prime Minister Narendra Modi to courageously undertake
With the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fears are again being expressed of creeping authoritarianism in India. But i worry about the opposite problem. I do not fear a strong state but a weak and ineffective one. A weak state has frail institutions, especially a feeble rule of law that takes a dozen years to give justice and has 3.3 crore cases pending in the courts. A weak state does not protect the weak against the strong. A weak state creates uncertainty rather than predictability in peoples’ minds and allows policemen, ministers and judges to be bought. It also prevents quick action by the executive and slows reforms to a snail’s pace because of warped incentives within the bureaucracy.
The Modi Mirage
Why I Fell Out of Love With India's Reformist Prime Minister.
Voter in the middle: With acche din nowhere in sight, who does a moderate vote for this election?
I lost my friends on the Left when i voted for Narendra Modi in 2014. I lost my friends on the Right when i criticised Modi for demonetisation, majoritarian politics and weakened institutions. With the election approaching, i am disillusioned. Acche din have not come but nationalism has, and the India that i love is changing. I am surrounded by Modi bhakts and Modi haters, both of whom i find mildly distasteful.
Who are we Indians? Genetics is bringing bad news for the politics of identity: We are all migrants
Many pundits predict that the approaching 2019 election is likely to focus on identity politics primarily because of economic discontent, making BJP turn to identity and other non-economic issues. Before we are engulfed in election rhetoric this may be a good time to pause, sit back and ask – who after all, are we Indians? What are our origins? What should be a straightforward matter of factual evidence has grown into a contentious debate in recent years.
Key to China’s miracle: Nurturing talent and shunning quotas can bring prosperity and transform India
On the same day, ironically, the Rajya Sabha passed the constitutional amendment enabling the whacky 10% quota for the ‘poor’ in higher education and government jobs, an email arrived in my mailbox about an ongoing research project at Harvard comparing meritocracy in India and China. The Harvard project is based on the belief that the two largest and oldest societies in the world can learn from each other in managing talent despite their different political systems.
How to rescue democracy: Liberal education will teach us to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason
Another series of elections has come and gone. Like an imminent surgery, an election has a way of crowding out all thoughts from the mind and turning the focus of politicians to populism and free giveaways, forgetting the difficult job of economic and governance reform. The results of the latest state elections have reminded us that Indians are by nature sceptical and not shy to change their leaders. The grand certainties of 2014 have suddenly become the grand doubts of 2019.
The #MeToo revolution: It will come to nothing unless our society begins to bring up boys differently
At the very moment when great threats are facing economic globalisation, quite an opposite trend has surfaced in the world of emotion and culture. The extraordinary speed with which the #MeToo movement has spread is a tribute to globalisation. Within a year, societies around the world have become astonishingly comfortable in discussing social and emotional issues which earlier they had swept under a carpet.
Gays and colonial brainwashing: Learn from India’s open, exuberant past and respect those who differ from us
My son is gay and i no longer feel reluctant to admit it. He has been in a loyal, happy relationship with his partner for 20 years and my family and close friends have accepted it gracefully. I didn’t dare speak about it in public, however, for fear of bringing him any harm – that is until 12.35pm on Thursday when the Supreme Court (SC) decriminalised homosexuality. My wife and i suddenly feel as if a great burden has lifted. The chief justice’s wise words continue to ring in my ears, “I am what I am. So, take me as I am.”