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

Have the courage to remove or at least reform the IPC

English laws were to be used to keep Indians in order. The British rulers never understood their subjects — the mob as they called it. They needed someone to fashion tools for keeping Indians in order.

Brexit: The fruits of a partition

It was alright for England, Scotland and Wales — Great Britain — to leave the European Union and get out of the Customs Union and the Single Market. But what of Northern Ireland, which shared the island with the Republic which wanted to remain in the EU?

Is Parliament sovereign in India or not? We need to know.

The crisis in the UK yields an interesting contrast concerning the question ‘Who Rules?’

Out of my mind: No winners in the NRC exercise

The reason for saying this is not political but simple understanding of the difficulty of measuring a large population accurately. Remember the debate about unemployment rates.

Auto sales: Govt took the bold step of charging the proper price of car driving

Yet much worse is happening with the Motor Vehicles Act, a fine piece of legislation to make car drivers behave in a responsible fashion.

Kashmir may no longer be a bilateral issue but it is a global concern

The anger in Kashmir Valley has a long history. To expect it to die due to a constitutional change would be a delusion. It would require concrete policy changes in economic and social sectors to heal the wounds of the past 65 years.

Arun Jaitley, a politician like none other

Through a political and public life spread over 44 years from the Emergency to his retirement from Cabinet, he was a confidant of many, Narendra Modi perhaps being his longest political friend.

Mohan Bhagwat’s quota poser deserves a debate and an answer

At what stage of prosperity can India give up reservations? After all, other democratic societies have income and class inequalities but do not require affirmative action. Why not India?

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.

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