articles by Samrat

India

Ayodhya Ram Mandir: Symbol of 'Hindu pride' marks culmination of colonial view of Hinduism, project of Partition

The construction of the Ayodhya Ram Temple is a symbol of the return of Hindu power in the direction of restoring a Bharat of yore — a Bharat that never actually existed.

India

Notes from a pandemic: On the shared experience of COVID-19, and the significance of mundane little pleasures

For the first time in our lifetimes, we have a single reference point that our entire planet’s human inhabitants can relate to

World

Bari Weiss' resignation from NYT spurs 'illiberalism' debate in US, but for Indian media, free and fair journalism is a myth 

The resignation of Bari Weiss is interesting because it is an issue of freedom of press in America — one that points to a curtailing of freedom from a direction not usually accused of being an enemy of free speech and free thought.

Arts & Culture

As pandemic strips away accumulated inertia of decades, 'After Coronavirus' may be a whole brave new world

The coronavirus pandemic, like the World Wars, is a harbinger of revolutionary changes. It is accelerating the destruction of the old, and hastening the arrival of the new.

India

Campaigns against fake news tackle its supply, but more vital work perhaps lies in addressing the demand for it

If moral sense is innate in humans, just as a sense of language is, then it follows that fake news is appealing to the moral sensibilities of many in a way that more factual reporting is not. Without understanding and tackling this, we are unlikely to succeed in tackling the global information crisis.

India

India-China border tensions: Call for ban on Chinese goods ignores economic realities and will hurt Indian companies

To stop drinking tea and eating momos – because Chinese soldiers have occupied a section of Indian territory in Ladakh – is surely not going to cause much distress to China. Nor will uninstalling TikTok and Zoom cause them to flee Galwan valley.

World

Should history be revised through erasure? Defacing of Churchill statue in London's Black Lives Matter protest reignites debate

The arguments over statues, as witnessed most recently in the defacing of the Winston Churchill statue in London's Parliament Square during a #BlackLivesMatter protest, are power struggles of clashing identities — black versus white, Hindu against Muslim, or communist versus capitalist.

India

Putting the 'civil' back in civilisation: On loudspeakers, religious sentiments and the right to a peaceful night’s sleep

Twenty full years after rules regarding noise pollution were framed, they are observed almost entirely in the breach, by groups religious as well as secular.

India

An inhabitant of thresholds: On George Orwell, reclusiveness and the merits of belonging between places as a journalist

The tyranny of numbers is all around us, in every sphere. How many website hits has the journalistic story got? It’s a good story if it has lots of hits. How many likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter did the column get? It’s a fine column if it got plenty of those. How good is the television show? Well, it’s the best if it has the highest viewership. In other words, the measure of quality is quantity.

India

As tensions rise in Kashmir again, why the continued conflict between India, Pak and China is unlikely to resolve any issues

The fighting has escalated again in Kashmir. Last Saturday night, two officers and two jawans of the Indian Army and a police sub-inspector were killed in militant violence in Handwara in Kashmir. A day later, three men of the Central Reserve Police Force died in another attack in the same area.

India

Looking for facts in slew of 'infotainment': On the current state of Indian journalism and finding a way forward

Journalism implies an attempt at discovering facts. But people no longer know, and oftentimes no longer care, what is fact and what is fiction.

Opinion

As world weighs lives against economy in face of coronavirus crisis, possible scenarios for the future that awaits us

This present condition of “pause” in the rush of the world will probably not last. Our world has been organised around the realities of a globalised economy. The cost of allowing it all to fall to ruin will sooner or later outweigh the risk of further spread of the coronavirus disease.

Opinion

As coronavirus outbreak exposes faultlines in long supply chains, are locally self-sufficient economies the way forward?

A lot of food in India was and largely still is produced by small and marginal farmers. The lives of such farmers tended to be hard even at the best of times. The coronavirus crisis and its economic impact probably won’t leave them untouched. A shift to local may help at least some of them.

Opinion

Coronavirus outbreak brings into focus elements of blind faith, bigotry in society — and the need to bridge gap between science and faith

The coronavirus pandemic was bad enough. It is being worsened by the unchecked rise of other viruses that existed long before the novel coronavirus disease struck – the viruses of blind faith and its companion, bigotry.

Opinion

Coronavirus outbreak has shaken our understanding of the world. Can it spark a fundamental rethinking of priorities?

It used to be said that the world is one family. It took a virus to remind us of the truth behind the cliché. This virus, like all of nature, does not discriminate on the basis of man-made distinctions.

India

Cost-saving, flexibility and afternoon siestas? Coronavirus outbreak gives a glimpse into the future of work culture as millions are forced indoors

The coronavirus has managed to do something in a space of weeks that not even the world wars or worst natural calamities of past years managed to do – send populations of entire countries indoors.

India

Social distancing: If coronavirus pandemic persists, our contemporary ideas of liberty and equality may come under threat

The coronavirus may not discriminate between human beings on the basis of race, religion, caste, gender or class, but people and societies do.

World

India consumed by internal turmoil as prospects of Taliban's rise in Afghanistan appear imminent following US peace deal

International pressures on India are mounting. It is possible that external factors, including ones that nobody can predict – such as impacts of the coronavirus – may play a significant part in determining the fate and future of our country.

India

For leaders like Kapil Mishra, ideology is the fig leaf behind which the real business of politics is conducted

Ideology is and was a minor issue for many career politicians, whose interest is in winning elections, becoming minister, and generally in gaining and holding power. The issues they espouse and the personas they adopt are disposable. So too are the fools who die in their cause.