Alok Rai

The writer taught in the department of English, Delhi University.

Articles By Alok Rai

House for History

Despite the centrality of the question of privilege, Anand Bhawan, the Gandhi residence in Allahabad, was also the place where the most influential vision of India’s modernity — and socialism — was born

A climate of impunity emboldens the perpetrators of public murder to post real-time videos online.

Hate has consequences. And those who propagate and promote that hate must bear responsibility for its entirely predictable consequences.

Let me count the ways

Girish Karnad’s phenomenal creativity was fuelled by the fact that he tapped into several different linguistic traditions, contexts and resonances.

In praise of khichdi or, as the general election draws closer, in defence of politics

Political parties will — and should — continue to compete, and jostle, and clamour, and do all the messy things that are internal to the practice of democracy. Provided that the one self-proclaimed “nationalist” party is not allowed to shut down politics altogether.

Forgetting partition, remembering partition

This memoir of a displaced person is not Krishna Sobti’s finest work, but it reminds us that ironically, the business of Partition is, indeed, unfinished and ongoing

A Study in Legacy

The colonial English idea of the canon, applied to Hindi at a time when Dalit and feminist literature challenge its unity.

Violence, theirs and ours

‘Terror’ is an artifact of the theory of terrorism, a way of interpreting things in the world. Our eager embrace of the theory of ‘terrorism’ is deeply suspect

Imaginary homelands

Allahabad was the name of an aspiration to independent, secular, cosmopolitan modernity — a hope, a sensibility. Prayagraj is a pernicious, hurtful fiction

The spy who wasn’t

Nambi Narayanan’s acquittal raises a crucial question: Who is responsible for the evils of the state?

The native colonial

V S Naipaul gave writers in once-colonised countries confidence. But he also exonerated colonialism.

The soundtrack of democracy

Supreme Court order on Jantar Mantar frames an often-ignored reality: Protest is a part of polity and the inconvenience it causes an affirmation of our common humanity.

Blame the hat

General Bipin Rawat has been far too eloquent on matters he ought to be quiet about. He did sound silly while elaborating on ways to deal with the Kashmir issue.

All About My Motherland

The evolution of our country's identity from the unifying mother of yore to the strict father of contemporary nationalist times.

Orwell, again

But Trump’s America is a latecomer. It has much to learn from Vishwaguru India.

We live with violent opposites, nuance is dead, so is dissent

The farce of TV “debates” shows us in the grip of matched opposites, good versus evil, black versus white. There is little civilised discourse. No question is open. This is the age of the slogan — and outright violence.

Silence, surgery in progress

There are great advantages of redefining military action as surgery — for one, it mobilises the rhetoric of health.

Unbecoming Gurgaon

‘Gurugram’ is the symptom of a disease which generates a striving to return to some previous perfection.

An ominous operetta

The alarming, exponential reach of the ‘anti-national’ can find you out in the most unexpected places.

Class, without consciousness

A book on the fabled Allahabad University takes shelter in the romantic distortions of nostalgia when faced with the present.

Reaching For The Guinness

The officially declared desire to go for the record must itself be a kind of record.