On the Freedom Railway

After independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanzania and Zambia simultaneously embarked on a purportedly non-aligned, moderately socialist, and import-substitution-led path to modernization. Given the economic ideas prevalent amongst modernist leaders of the time, the state-led creation of basic infrastructure was considered particularly crucial in the endeavor. This was the context to the attempts of Julius…

The African Growth Story: Mechanics and Politics

Another version of this article was published in the Tribune. After two decades of stagnation, Africa is widely believed to have turned the corner in the new millennium.  Countries across the continent are witnessing significantly increased foreign investment, trade, and feverish economic activity. More than half the countries in Africa recorded GDP growth of over…

Six points on the Afzal Guru hanging

This was written in response to a friend’s comment on a FB thread. 1) Taking words like ‘national sovereignty’ and ‘attack on the nation’ out for a minute (why should the parliament–given not its place in the national ideology but actual everyday work–be considered more of a symbol of our nation than a temple, mosque,…

Himachal Pradesh: Back to Nature?

Published in Hardnews magazine (January, 2013) Judging by the newsprint and TV time devoted to the Gujarat elections, Narendra Modi has clearly been the hyped-up story of the assembly polls this winter, and his mythical development agenda thenarrative to beat. The carnage of 2002 has been all but buried in this one-dimensional hyperbole. However, the results…