The corridors of the Supreme Court in central Delhi are possibly thicker with gossip than those of any other institution in the capital. This gossip usually springs from information exchanged between judges and senior lawyers, often furtively, and not always on the court premises. Information then trickles down to juniors, the clerks of these judges and lawyers, and, finally, to journalists, and the stray dogs outside the compound.
Public figures are generally practiced in the art of giving interviews. When they face difficult questions, they know how to dodge them, be vague or just talk in circles endlessly. (Some just ensure that they don’t have to deal with such questions, by allowing only sympathetic interviewers to meet them.)
In his meeting with Xi Jinping in Brazil on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, Narendra Modi last week impressed on the Chinese president the need to “amicably resolve the boundary question.” Yet only the week before, Arun Jaitley had ruled out declassifying the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report (HBBR) on the 1962 war, the memories of which still plague our relations with our giant neighbour. It is difficult to see how the prime minister’s stated end game is compatible with the defence minister’s resistance to talk about the past.
A recent report
on Hindu nationalism in the United States included information on the expansion of the Sangh Parivar’s Ekal Vidyalaya network of schools in India. The report generated the kind of activity that has become usual on Twitter, with many questioning its claim that the schools were indoctrinating children into the ways of Hindutva, and many insisting that there was little basis for alarm about their spread.
On 27 June this year, an 18-year-old sprinter was subjected to a test
to determine the level of androgens—masculinising hormones that include testosterone—in her body. On 16 July, the Sports Authority of India announced
that they had barred her from competing as a woman. SAI’s press release on the issue stated that “Preliminary investigations indicate that the athlete is not fit for participation in a female event due to female hyperandrogenism.”
On a sultry Monday afternoon in mid June this year, a group of about three hundred people—journalists, photographers and locals—crowded around the police station in Gariahat, in south Kolkata.
On a Sunday afternoon in Mumbai, Shemal Gandhi sat on a bench meant for a 13-year-old with a textbook on his lap and his head in his hands. He flipped the book open to the tenth section and read silently to himself about what a fictional Rahul Mehta had got up to in China.
When the Brazil vs Germany World Cup semi-final game ended, it was close to 4 am, and I was wide awake, dazed and confused. In the course of about ten minutes in the first half-hour, an idea had been tossed aside and shredded like confetti.
Two months after steering the BJP to a colossal electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh—key to their majority in the Lok Sabha—Narendra Modi’s close confidante, Amit Shah, was appointed BJP president today, succeeding Rajnath Singh who held the post for the past two years. Shah’s career has always been closely linked to that of Modi’s, though he largely worked in the shadows while Modi grew increasingly prominent. His appointment as BJP president suggests that Modi, through Shah, now controls both the government and the party they belong to.
On 3 July 2011, the Palestinian football team played Afghanistan in the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium in the West Bank. It was their first ever World Cup qualification match on home soil and was watched by a “raucous 10,000-strong crowd,” as the writer James Montague, who was present, notes in his book Thirty One Nil—On the Road with Football’s Outsiders. The match was both about pride and about politics: as Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, told Montague, “I think having a home pitch recognised by FIFA is proof that statehood is possible.” In this extract, Montague relives the match, and the fleeting World Cup aspirations of the Palestinian team, and other teams from strife-torn nations.