Ignoring ICCR: Undermining India’s ‘Soft Diplomacy’

India’s premier and oldest agency for furthering her soft power, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), is faced with an acute crisis of resources. The challenge is serious and yet it does not seem to have moved the powers that be. In te

Nationalists not Marxists: Celebrating the Centenary of the Ghadar Revolution - 1913-2013

April 2013 announces the centenary of the Ghadar Party – one of the most riveting symbols of Indian defiance against colonial oppression. What makes the Ghadar movement an enduring symbol in the imagination of youth is the fact that it was waged in

Supporting War Criminals - Is Bengal’s Liberal Space Shrinking?

Something unprecedented happened over the last week end (30th March) in Kolkata. Sixteen Islamic organizations came together at the Maidan, the second largest public ground in the city, in protest against the ongoing War Crimes Trial in Bangladesh, a

‘Indophobia’ and Its Expressions

The hideous massacre of unarmed Indian Satyagrahis who had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to show their displeasure at draconian laws adopted by the British government in India is much in the news these days. The British Prime Minister’s visit and hi

Status of Indian Education - Present Trends and Past Systems: Some Reflections

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 is out and has already generated discussion on the state of education in the country. A quick survey of some figures seem to point to a mix of a movement forward – especially in terms of infrastruct

India - China Cultural Interface: An Agenda for Future

Linked Through Civilisation & Culture Both India and have China have fascinated each other - culturally, religiously and civilisationally – over the past two millennia. Across the centuries the two great civilisations have continually communicat

Vivekananda: Essence and Significance

In a few days time Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations shall be launched all over the country. Behind the grandeur and colour of every commemorative celebration lies the deeper truth of the significance of the personality or th

Acquiring the Heritage Tag – is it enough?

Early December 2012 a United Nations Committee ‘tasked with protecting the world’s oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, craftsmanship and knowledge of nature’ added twenty new items to the world List of the Intangible Cultural He

Minorities in Peril in Bangladesh

‘My civilisation is lost. My lifetime of worshipping has gone in vain. I am a lost man and lost I will be…Please save my future generation! Please’ cried Satyapriya Mahathero, the second senior most Buddhist monk in Bangladesh. The 83-year old

Man and Environment in India: Past Traditions and Present Challenges

Civilisation has been at times described as a ‘type of relationship.’ In his classic ‘Civilisations: culture, ambition and the transformation of nature’, historian and scholar of civilisations Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, chose to look at civili

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