Chairman of the Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai
Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, was an aide to India’s former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Author of Music Of The Spinning Wheel: Mahatma Gandhi’s Manifesto for the Internet Age, he is actively involved in inter-faith dialogue for peace and harmony, and also in Track II dialogue for normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
'In the dark times/Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing/About the dark times.' These soul-stirring lines were written by Bertolt Brecht, the great German anti-Nazi poet and pl...
Foreign rule ended on 15 August 1947. But self-rule, in the real sense of the term, began when India adopted the Constitution and declared itself a Republic. The Constitution binds us to follow, and realise, certain lofty ideals and goals as a nation. It not only guides the functioning of the State, it not only specifies the rights of citizens, but it also lays down the duties and responsibilities of the people. Therefore, if Independence Day is about celebration, Republic Day is about introspection.
Comrade AB Bardhan, former general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), passed away on 2 January in New Delhi after prolonged illness. He was 92. My heartfelt lal salaam to him. He was a selfless and dedicated communist, whose heart beat for the working class and the poor in general. I had the privilege of knowing him well. Here is an indelible memory of how I first met Comrade Bardhan.
The idea of an India-Pakistan Confederation (which in today's context should also include Bangladesh) may seem far-fetched. However, as the two South Asian neighbours celebrate the 68th anniversary of their independence from British rule -- a joyous occasion that was accompanied by the horrific Partition-induced communal bloodbath -- it is useful to remember that some sort of India-Pakistan federation or confederation was a distinct possibility when the British left our subcontinent. Sadly, Congress and Muslim League leaders buried the opportunity due to their series of blunders and misjudgements.
Like millions of Indians, I believed in the myth that nuclear weapons are necessary for national security when our government, headed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, made India a nuclear-weapons nation in May 1998. Indeed, I was working closely with him in the prime minister's office those days. I have since become a convert to the cause of a nuclear weapons-free world. I now believe that India's moral strength and stature as a campaigner for world peace, and especially for global nuclear disarmament, was diminished after it started to build its own nuclear arsenal.
Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, Pakistan's renowned Islamic scholar and author of the 600-page Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings, launched a comprehensive 12-volume counter-terrorism curriculum in Britain recently. Sudheendra Kulkarni spoke to him, ahead of the curriculum's upcoming launch in Pakistan and India.
Yesterday NDTV had invited me to participate in a debate on the 40th anniversary of the Emergency. Before proceeding to the studio in Mumbai's Lower Parel, I took a stroll along Marine Drive with my two nephews, both in their early 20s and both bright and tech-savvy. I asked them why this year's June 25 was significant. They didn't know. I felt sad.
My own belief is that if the BJP under Narendra Modi wants to govern India with stability and success, it must adhere to the inclusive and integrative ideology of Atalji. Even though Modi has won a bigger parliamentary mandate than what the BJP could achieve in 1996, 1998 or 1999, he should adopt Vajpayee as his role model. Like Vajpayee, he should establish a cooperative and harmonious relationship with the entire political establishment.