Shiv Visvanathan


Shiv Visvanathan

The Guru & the Ego

Spirituality as an act of faith, as a social organisation probably has more followers in India than any secular movement.

A cameo to remember

Smriti Irani, the human resources development minister, had been losing ground in the last few months. Universities were up in arms and syllabi had become a source of angst.

The notion of nation

Controversies in India leave one jaded and jarred because they produce neither debate nor resolution. The protagonists live contentedly in the silos of their mind, happy to insult each other.

Does GM food pass scientific muster?

The debate on genetically modified (GM) mustard has acquired an epic and urgent quality. It is a story that needs a wider elaboration.

Rusticating dreams

Dear Rohith Vemula,

2015: Wapsi of protests

In his classic novel, The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens had a wonderful, quotable beginning: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

The immediacy of loss and amnesia after

Narratives of disasters are virtually summoned by the urgency and intensity of the event. They convey the immediacy of the loss, the helplessness and the range of destruction.

The Bihar drama

Politics makes strange bedfellows and stranger enemies. When the elections in Bihar are advertised as a clash of titans — of Nitish Kumar vs Narendra Modi — one wonders where old loyalties went.

Gandhi, between hate & cliché

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

The joys of being ‘third class’

Modern theories of efficiency and equality are such that one loses a celebration of the marginal. Ever since socialism, we have removed the category called “third class” from our trains and our lives. As an upwardly mobile nation, we want to travel first class and as a truly global country we want our institutions to be world class. Our presidents and vice-chancellors were upset when they realised that our IITs and IIMs are not world class.

“India that is Bharat shall be a Union of States” The Constitution of India