Rahul Gandhi should adopt Modi’s scripted political communication style

 

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint, 30 April 2020

Rahul Gandhi’s 30-minute chat with ex-RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on a video call has made the former Congress president look better than any interview or press conference he has ever done.

He would do well to engage in many more such interactions on video call chats and put them out for public consumption. He could have such chats with Congress chief ministers and workers, with experts around the country and the world. This format suits Rahul Gandhi for many reasons. For one, it is not designed to make him face tough questions. Continue reading “Rahul Gandhi should adopt Modi’s scripted political communication style”

Mahatma Gandhi is arriving shortly

By Shivam Vij for The Print, 30 September 2019

When the scorching heat of the Indian summer gets beyond unbearable, the monsoon rains arrive. No matter how little or how abundant the rains are, they carry with them the promise of life.

Like the summer heat, people suffer growing oppression as a test of their patience. Eventually, a hero emerges, overthrowing the oppressors. Continue reading “Mahatma Gandhi is arriving shortly”

Is Jealousy The Reason For Hindutva’s Biryaniphobia?

By Shivam Vij

(This article first appeared in HuffPost India on 8 September 2016.)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

On orders of the Gau Sewa Ayog, or the Cow Service Commission of the Haryana government, the state’s special task force to check cow smuggling and slaughter will go around collecting biryani samples in Mewat. The Mewat district is 79% Muslim, and is always an area of suspicion in Hindutva eyes.

The Cow Service Commission says it has received many complaints of beef in Mewati biryani. Whether or not anyone needs to support their complaint with evidence to get the Gau Raksha Ayog and the Haryana police into action, is not clear. But now they want to look for evidence.

The troubling question is, why only biryani? While they are at it, why not collect samples of curries too? Continue reading “Is Jealousy The Reason For Hindutva’s Biryaniphobia?”

India should revert its citizenship laws to Jus Soli – citizenship by birth

[This article first appeared in ThePrint on 2 January 2020.]

We have all heard of NRI families who consciously choose to have their baby in the United States so that the child is automatically a US citizen from day one. For this ‘privilege’ of jus soli, or citizenship by birth, NRIs must thank this man:


In 1857, when Indians were mutinying against the British Raj, Dred Scott was a slave in the United States who appealed to the US Supreme Court for his freedom and that of his family. The US Supreme Court ruled that African Americans like him were not US citizens, even if they were born in the US and lived all their lives there, in slavery.

Read more.

Indian liberals must reconsider their rejection of Mahatma Gandhi

By Shivam Vij for The Print, 2 October 2019

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Westminster Square in London. Photo by Shivam Vij

Was Gandhi gay? Was he racist? Did he assault his nieces? Wasn’t his food faddism a bit too comical? Was he the enemy of Dalits? With questions like these, over the decades, Gandhi has been assailed and brought down by the holier-than-thou radicals of the world. In doing so, they have helped the world forget the central reason why Gandhi mattered: his political techniques of resistance.

You don’t have to agree with Gandhi on anything at all, and you could still be inspired by satyagraha, by non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. Some years ago, when Anna Hazare sat on a fast, there were people who were irritated by his use of Gandhian means of politics. What a fraud, they said, he is not Gandhian, he’s an RSS agent. Yet, even Narendra Modi once sat on a Gandhi-style ‘Sadbhavna’ fast. Continue reading “Indian liberals must reconsider their rejection of Mahatma Gandhi”

What Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could learn from Mahatma Gandhi

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint, 6 September 2019

Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
Illustration by Soham Sen for ThePrint

When Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa in January 1915, someone asked him how much time it would take him to start a people’s movement in India, just like he had done in South Africa. He thought about it and replied, “five years”.

As it happened, it took him only two-and-a-half years. Continue reading “What Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could learn from Mahatma Gandhi”

How Narendra Modi uses narrative as a political tool to retain his voters and win over new ones

(This essay has appeared in the July 2019 issue of the journal ‘Seminar‘ under the title ‘Modi was the message’.)

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Narendra Modi’s use of narrative as a political tool is akin to how a versatile batsman plays cricket. He can deal with any kind of ball thrown at him, exploiting opportunities to score sixes and warding off threats to remain on the pitch. Continue reading “How Narendra Modi uses narrative as a political tool to retain his voters and win over new ones”

Why BJP will rule India uninterrupted for the next 30 years, till 2049

(This article first appeared in ThePrint on 5 June 2019.)

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In a job interview, the hiring manager decided to put the candidate at ease with small talk. He asked the candidate, what’s your favourite fruit? Considering it is the season of mangoes, surely you like mangoes?

Instead of giving a simple answer, the candidate replied, “I do Vipassana”. The manager was flummoxed. What’s Vipassana got to do with any fruit? Continue reading “Why BJP will rule India uninterrupted for the next 30 years, till 2049”

In UP’s Unnao, voters back a BJP MP who curses and insults them, never shows his face and does no work

Sakshi Maharaj

By Shivam Vij for ThePrint.in, 30 April 2019 Continue reading “In UP’s Unnao, voters back a BJP MP who curses and insults them, never shows his face and does no work”

Inside Valsad, the bellwether seat that always votes for party which goes on to rule India

By Shivam Vij

(This article first appeared in ThePrint on 22 April 2019.)

Valsad (Gujarat): Valsad is famous for three Ms — mosquitoes, mangoes and Morarji Desai. Continue reading “Inside Valsad, the bellwether seat that always votes for party which goes on to rule India”