India Insight

India takes calm approach to Arundhati Roy’s Kashmir remarks

October 28, 2010

Prize-winning author and activist Arundhati Roy gestures during an interview with Reuters in New Delhi. REUTERS/B Mathur

After initial signs that India’s government might move to censure controversial remarks by novelist and activist Arundhati Roy, it appears New Delhi has sidestepped a potential political minefield with U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the country only a week away.

Back to the Lalit Modi saga

October 8, 2010

Lalit ModiIn India, a thin line separates bravado from infamy. In a country that swears by its Bollywood potboilers, it does not take long to turn a one-time hero into a villain.

Has Shashi Tharoor dug his own political grave?

April 20, 2010

Is it too early to write the political obituary of Shashi Tharoor, who over the weekend resigned from the post of junior foreign minister not even a year into holding the post?

Amitabh Bachchan and politics of celebrity

March 30, 2010

Amitabh Bachchan is caught in a political controversy yet again. The 67-year old-actor finds himself in the middle of a row over his presence at government functions in Mumbai and Pune.

Applaud and preserve Sachin-like champions — can we?

February 25, 2010

Tendulkar’s batting magnificence has been chronicled so much over the years that anything written about him generates as much passion as he does on any cricket field.

Much ado in Kashmir over Padma Shri for Mir

February 3, 2010

It has come as a surprise to many that Ghulam Mohammad Mir, often described as Kashmir’s first counter-insurgent, has been honoured with the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards.

Himalayan glacier meltdown: gospel truth?

January 19, 2010

Kashmiri horsemen walk over a glacier near Sheshnag, 130 km southeast of Srinagar, June 12, 2006. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/FilesTwenty-five years from now, the Himalayan glaciers would have almost disappeared. Almost.

Can Indian hockey be given its due credit?

January 10, 2010

The year was 2007. Cheerleaders danced to the beats of a Bollywood song as India was about to script a nail-biting finish against Pakistan in the cricket Twenty20 World Cup final.

The media and paid news: Who shall guard the guardians?

December 24, 2009

INDIA-MEDIA/The media watches everyone but itself, commented an argumentative friend the other day.

Much ado over Indian Summer?

October 23, 2009

Universal Studios has shelved plans to shoot “Indian Summer”, a film based on the lives of Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten.(UPDATE: On Friday, a studio spokesman was quoted as saying “Indian Summer” is continuing to be developed but will not go into production until the script, budget and cast are all in place)Filmmaker Joe Wright, who was slated to direct the project, was quoted as saying there were creative differences between the studio and the Indian government.Many people are not comfortable with national leaders being portrayed on celluloid in any way other than flattering.Most leaders are interpreted by their followers in a particular manner. Any alternative recounting especially on celluloid runs into controversy.Biopics of leaders are few and far between in Bollywood in spite of it being a vibrantly political and prolific film industry.Some say the Indian masses tend to deify their leaders and hence are less receptive to anything critical.And celluloid is a mass medium more than any book on history ever can be.In Pakistan, the movie “Jinnah” starring Christopher Lee and sanctioned by the Pakistan government had also run into controversy.But does public policy also contribute to this state of affairs?The Indian Express says in a report that ministries don’t transfer records to National Archives “which leaves modern, democratic India’s history shrouded in secrecy”.Does this contribute to a lack of public discussion on various facets of our leaders’ lives and policies and therefore an intolerance of alternative readings?As for the movie “Indian Summer”, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was to appoint a liaison officer to ensure the movie did not deviate from the approved script.Is imposing a government-sanctioned memory of events on people any different from Mayawati’s efforts to erect statues to herself?