articles by Samrat Choudhury

Politics

Why political mad rush to join BJP may not guarantee the saffron party a victory in Manipur polls

The ruling party starts the 2022 Manipur elections from a position of great apparent strength. But the appearance can hide some hard realities

Lifestyle

UK's Freedom Day plans underscore stark choices posed by reality of COVID-19 world

There is a growing realisation around the world that the COVID virus cannot be eradicated. It is here to stay, and we will have to learn to live, or die, with it.

Lifestyle

Amid pandemic-induced cancellation of board exams, lack of standardised evaluation poses challenges for students

The aim of education is not a certificate, or marks in an exam. Education is an end in itself, not a means to an end.

Politics

Manoranjan Byapari: At 70, the rickshaw-wallah turned feted writer and MLA, is looking to the future rather than the past

In the recently-held West Bengal assembly polls, Byapari’s remarkable story took another twist.

India

Media's failure in contending with second COVID-19 wave has left Indians paying the price

The systemic lapses that exacerbated the scale of the second COVID-19 wave would arguably not have happened in a country with a freer media that was doing the job it is meant to do.

India

In grip of a vicious second wave, India needs to confront more than just the virus

Our society and country is going backwards, to great cheering and flag-waving.

India

The real business of politics: Parties are united by one ideology — maximising profit, maintaining systems of power

The politicians are only the stars of the election movies in which voters are the audience and party workers, the extras. The real power, ultimately, resides with those who decide which star and which script to back: the financiers.

India

The absurdity of conservatism: How enforcement of 'culture' is at odds with nation's real heritage and development

What we are witnessing now, in the form of enforcement of taboos of food, and the push against what is called “love jihad”, is an assertion of power by those who wish to conserve the old ways.

India

West Bengal polls: BJP, Muslim-led parties hope to unseat TMC as religious polarisation gains ground

Bengal is not like any other state of India when it comes to Hindu-Muslim politics. Both Hindu and Muslim religious politics have deep roots here, going back to the first Partition of Bengal in 1905.

India

The Hindutva ideal of Akhand Bharat has held firm but its spatial, chronological extents remain hazy

Hindu nationalists view the 1947 Partition of India as only the most recent in a long series of divisions of the territory of ancient Bharat. For them, the territorial concept, drawn from ancient Hindu texts, is that the entire landmass between the Indian Ocean and the Himalayas is Bharat.

World

After military seizes power in Myanmar, a fresh spell of uncertainty awaits Northeast India and its neighbours

The histories of Burma, Northeast India and Bangladesh have always been intertwined.

World

What 'populist' means: There's more to the label, associated with leaders like Donald Trump, than meets the eye

Perhaps one reason that the word “populist” becomes useless is because it describes a wide variety of political actors, spanning the ideological spectrum.

India

Our Hindu Rashtra review: In new book, Aakar Patel charts India's descent into a majoritarian nation

Comparing India’s case to Pakistan’s, it becomes clear that the mainstreaming of religious politics is having the same kind of effect here that Pakistan has already undergone.

India

Of bans, blasphemy laws and politically correct language: Meanings of words are not solely contained in themselves

A blasphemy law proscribing a certain word may raise awareness that a certain public behavior is socially unacceptable, but it cannot do very much more if the underlying attitudes have social acceptability.

World

2020, the year of conspiracy theories: As COVID-19 gripped the world, so did the desire for easy answers

Conspiracy theories offer simple, understandable explanations of events and help us regain a belief in human control over situations.

World

Damming Brahmaputra: With mega-dam plans, China might end up hurting itself more than India

The true idea of a river is not of a single stream of water between two banks, but a nervous system of watery arteries and capillaries that form the circulatory system of a living ecosystem in a particular river basin.

World

Why anti-migrant rhetoric is all bluster, no action: Nudge and wink policy allows politicians, businessmen to reap benefits

For all the Right-wing anti-migrant rhetoric now popular in many parts of the world, economic imperatives are powering migration flows that no amount of rule-making or wall-building can prevent.

World

2020 US Presidential Election is a referendum not only on Donald Trump, but also on his style of populist politics

It is obvious from the support for Donald Trump’s re-election bid that facts, logic and administrative acumen or its lack don’t count for much with angry people. Emotions do.

World

Donald Trump, Indian news channels and Bollywood: Notes on watching people say obnoxious things loudly

The job of the American president is not to entertain the world; he is not meant to be a clown. Similarly, and at a far smaller level of impact, it is not the job of TV news channels to keep viewers engrossed in the drama of what are essentially reality TV shows.