Meghnad Desai

Meghnad Desai loves to cook, watch and write about old Bollywood movies and shuttles between London, Delhi and Goa. He pursues controversies on economics, history and anything else which catches his attention. He is also a British parliamentarian sitting in the House of Lords. He has written over 25 books, over 200 articles in learned journals and hundreds of newspaper columns in UK and India.

Articles By Meghnad Desai

Govt must control narrative on Jammu and Kashmir

If Hindus outnumbered Sikhs in Punjab, would that be ethnic cleansing of Sikhs? If Kashmir is no longer a Muslim-majority province, it will become more like secular India than before.

The second victory has now established the BJP as the governing party of the 21st century

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have cut the Gordian knot of the Kashmir problem. They have removed Article 370 which was still in the chapter on transitory measures in the Constitution since its introduction way back.

Out of my mind: Social problems which have to be tackled at the place where they occur and not in Delhi

If there are recurrent incidents of violence, it is necessary to examine their roots rather than just blame the party you do not like or even dismiss such complaints because you like the party in power.

It was the genius of Vikram Sarabhai which has brought us Chandrayaan

It was a lucky break for India that Nehru listened to Sarabhai. People complained that when Indians lacked basic amenities, why were we going for space? Such a utilitarian argument may seem attractive but it is false. A

Narendra Modi has the opportunity to shape India as he wishes, but must take risks

Risks imply the willingness to suffer costs if you want benefits. It is not possible to have change which hurts no one. One must compensate the losers but not let them stop the positive change. It involves breaking with the old culture

Modi’s support was across caste Hindus and Dalits, but not Muslims

India has people with Modi Distress Syndrome (MDS). Whatever Narendra Modi does must be bad, authoritarian, divisive etc. Many believe if the Congress is not in power, democracy has died.

Let Modi improve Parliament by helping the Opposition oppose

During the first decade of Parliament, opposition MPs used to implore Nehru to do more to get the Opposition to be effective. Maybe Narendra Modi should do more to help the Opposition survive.

Out of my mind: It is democracy that unites India

The first person to rule over all India (excluding what became Pakistan) was Dr Rajendra Prasad. India had to become a sovereign democratic republic to achieve a single geographical shape.

While One Nation One Poll is doable with difficulty, is it worth it?

Over time, states have increased their power vis-a-vis the Centre except in financial matters. Regional parties are powerful at home but may be weak at the Centre. What keeps the Union together is the electoral freedom for states to go at their own pace.

It is forgotten that the toughest land battle of the Second World War was fought on Indian soil

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had hoped that the Japanese would support his aim of reaching Delhi and setting up a government for free India. He had already laid the foundations when he was in Berlin.

Out of my mind: A Hindi Rashtra? An unwise idea

The Hindi curriculum controversy brought out the problems Narendra Modi will face. There is a divide within the BJP like there is in most ideological parties.

Out of my mind: Dear Rahul, just go

By resigning you would unleash democratic avalanche in the party political system. For one thing, all those failed senior Congress leaders who would not win a Lok Sabha election if they ever tried but occupy chief ministerships or lucrative offices will have to go out without your protection.

On May 23, 2019, Nehru-Gandhi Yuga ended and Modi Yug began

India is changing. This election has shown that caste matters much less now than in the coalition years of 1989 to 2014. This is why the gathbandhan in UP proved to be less successful than its partner parties had hoped.

SC verdict in Priyanka Sharma’s case is a classic example of the half loaf of freedom

When India became independent, Indians did not win freedom. The ruling class changed colour but the accents remained pucca. The punitive laws passed by the British were preserved just in case the natives revolt.

Congress is developing serious memory loss

If Congress wants to survive, it will have to forget its past and invent itself a future.

When did it become required to declare your caste on the nomination form?

Class inequality is also debilitating, but in theory, it is possible to escape the class in which you were born and be upwardly mobile. No such luck in jaati. You die the same as you are born.

In middle of tall claims about secularism, tolerance and Mother India, three cases have come up of injustice to women

A most important development happened during the week of the second round. It will have long-run consequences for all. This was the age-old issue of gender discrimination.

Out of my mind: New hegemonic order set to take over

It could be that the high significance of this election has at last sunk in. Not since the days of Congress hegemony (1947-1971) has the result been a foregone conclusion, as it is now.

Out of my mind: A bloodless revolution

Prime Minister Theresa May has practically lost control of her party and been defeated three times over her principal proposal. But she cannot be made to resign nor can she call an election as in the old days.

Out of my mind: Rahul has claimed his legacy

The severe defeat in 2014 taught the Congress that they were losing out by being thought not as secular so much as pro-Muslim and, worse, anti-Hindu. Hence the turnaround.