Shiv Visvanathan


Shiv Visvanathan

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.

Bhagwat’s new Bharat

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech on Vijay Dashmi at Nagpur has not received a serious reading.

No science of dissent

Years ago, C.P. Snow delivered the Rede Lecture which popularised the idea of two cultures. He argued that there was a wide cultural divide between the humanities and the sciences.

Reimagining Gandhi

Anniversaries are moments of conscience; they remind us of things we have forgotten. But, often, they are empty rituals which become a substitute for authenticity.

Death of conscience

Disasters have a peculiar way of affecting the imagination. First, one has to recognise that disasters are not disasters unless they are labeled so.

Mother India, revised

A country transforming itself, from a slow moving socialist to a fast breeder capitalist, needs new myths. The old myth that sustained a generation was provided by Bollywood.


Ever since the Velvet Revolution and the Arab Spring, democracy has become a global epidemic.

Banning porn is a tricky business

If the politics of a regulation society were a pie chart, the Modi government would split into three sections.

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.

My word! Are we touchy... or are we touchy? Our skins are getting thinner and thinner by the day.

Even in the most avowed democracies, wars, terrorism, insurgencies and natural calamities ensure the relevance and respect of the defence forces and their veterans.