Category Archives: History

Posts covering history.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali: Triumph and Tragedy

The year 2021-22 marks the sesquicentennial of Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali. His remarkable life, caught between many worlds, was chaotic and turbulent, with its triumphs and tribulations, and a lasting legacy. In December 1953, six months after Queen Elizabeth II’s … Continue reading

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Sidney Wadsworth: A Judge in Madras

Caroline Keen, A Judge in Madras: Sir Sidney Wadsworth and the Indian Civil Service, 1913-47, Harper Collins, 2021. Rs. 699. Most British (and Indian) officers of the Indian Civil Service diligently maintained copious diaries filled with detailed accounts of their … Continue reading

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A brief meeting with K.R. Gowri

Speaking of politicians from Kerala, one of the most respected must be KR Gowri, now 101 years old. Also referred to affectionately as Gowri Amma, she could be the oldest living politician in India. There does not seem to be … Continue reading

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A train journey with PKV

Today is the 74th Independence Day. As I write this, Malayalam news media is full of discussions on the gold smuggling scandal that has been the rage for the last six weeks. In stark contrast to the jet setting life … Continue reading

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University College: My brief stint, and a bit of history

Last year, 2019, University College, Trivandrum, was in the news for all the wrong reasons. It brought back memories of my own association with the College over the years. I discuss below, my association with the College, a bit of … Continue reading

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Srinivasa Ramanujan: A Life in Infinity

Opened in 1901, the Victoria Students Hostel in Triplicane, Chennai, is an Indo-Saracenic structure designed in the style of residences at Oxford and Cambridge by Henry Irwin, Consulting Architect for the Madras Presidency. It was built in memory of Pundi … Continue reading

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Forgotten musicians: Mysore B.S. Raja Iyengar

My earliest recollection of listening to a music concert was sometime in 1966 or 1967. I was about five or six years old. The occasion was the inauguration of a temple built by FACT, which was set up in 1943 … Continue reading

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A Case of Two Lullabies

This article was first published in Business Standard on 16 March 2013. It is a comment on the controversy around the lullaby in the film Life of Pi. It was alleged that the lullaby was plagiarised from a 200-years old … Continue reading

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Distant Wails from a Bygone Era: The Victoria Students Hostel

“In great cities, the great buildings tell you things you don’t know and remember things which you’ve forgotten. It’s a collective wisdom, an engine superior to your own intelligence. Architecture is the biggest unwritten document of history.” —Daniel Libeskind, We … Continue reading

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Menon and Menon

Against the background of two recent biographies, of V.K. Krishna Menon, by Jairam Ramesh (A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon, Penguin, 2019) and of V.P. Menon by Narayani Basu, I wrote an article in OPEN magazine … Continue reading

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