Every discussion on the state of the opposition, and the possibilities of forging a united front, inevitably leads to a predictable cul-de-sac — the unbearable lightness of being Congress.

By Shankkar Aiyar | Published: 12th September 2021 06:59 AM |

It is an analogy which will haunt the Indian National Congress for decades. ‘The Congress is like an impoverished landlord sans land in a crumbling haveli!’ Sharad Pawar may not top the marquee chart of political orators but his ability for strategic diagnosis has few parallels.

The New Indian Express / PTI Photo

This is not the first time Pawar has presented his diagnosis of what ails…


The fact that even the government’s own projects struggle to clear the regulatory roundabouts illustrates the sloth haunting the ecosystem.

By Shankkar Aiyar | Published: 05th September 2021 06:38 AM |

The road to economic recovery, economists and policy makers aver, must be paved with increased government spending on infrastructure. The Rs 100 lakh crore infrastructure push, aka ‘Gati Shakti Bharat Master Plan’ announced on Independence Day, rests on this belief. The thesis is that government investment in infrastructure spurs demand, job creation, income, consumption and growth. …


The US has been at pains to project the idea of ‘power of example’ to persuade affiliation as against the ‘example of power’. In Afghanistan it could project neither the ‘power of example’ nor the ‘example of power’. The quagmire has left India triangulated.

By Shankkar Aiyar |Published: 22nd August 2021 12:19 AM |

“We believe the 9/11 attacks revealed four kinds of failures: in imagination, policy, capabilities, and management.” This is what the 9–11 Commission, set up to enquire into the September 11 terror attacks on US soil, said in its summary of findings.

The New Indian Express / AP Photo

As the world witnessed the…


India has been a witness and victim of the accelerated and aggravating impact of climate change. As geopolitics plays out the question is what India can do at home to mitigate consequences.

By Shankkar Aiyar |Published: 15th August 2021 06:04 AM |

The latest climate change report defined by the United Nations as ‘code red for humanity’, lines up every imaginable catastrophe. For Indians, beyond the colour coding, it is not exactly ‘breaking news’. Indeed, India has been a witness and victim of the accelerated and aggravating consequences of climate change for decades.

The New Indian Express | AP Photo

Every threat highlighted is recorded in India’s…


The road to electoral perdition is paved with misplaced notions —primarily, mistaking party’s private concern as public cause. The opposition, in its obsession for obstruction, has given the government a free pass over issues of governance.

By Shankkar Aiyar | Published: 08th August 2021 07:25 AM |

Irony is dying a slow death in the hallowed precincts of the 1927 edifice held up by 144 columns. Every five years, the Constitution affords Indians an opportunity to elect an MP to represent their cause in Parliament. The law under which the MPs are elected was christened by the founding fathers as…


The ‘Unite to defeat Modi’ quest is an idea without a plan. Critically parties must state what they stand for, not just who they are against, what is the alternative model of governance they offer?

By Shankkar Aiyar |Published: 01st August 2021 06:48 AM |

The Kumbaya moment arrived in India’s vibrant political landscape this week. Kum-bah-yah is the phonological representation of the prayerful refrain ‘Come by Here’ sung by African Americans in the 1920s. It is also defined as a pejorative, slang for naïve idealism about rosy-eyed hope of unity by modern-day political lexicographers.

The New Indian Express | PTI Photo

The good news is that…


That which is measured can be improved. Can a modern economy, with aspirations of going digital, afford the yawning gap between allocations, outcomes and accountability?

By Shankkar Aiyar | Published: 25th July 2021 07:30 AM |

Surrealism is a permanent invitee in India’s political economy and systemic creativity is on exhibition in every session of Parliament.

The New Indian Express / PTI Photo

The first week of the monsoon session produced a masterpiece. The government informed Parliament that “No deaths due to lack of oxygen has been specifically reported by states/UTs”. In art, surrealism is about unleashing the creative potential of an unconscious mind by means of…


Time set aside to ponder over public causes is often hijacked by puerile puffery. Hopefully the elected will find the time, between bouts of hyperbole, to seek answers to questions of electors struggling to preserve lives and livelihoods.

By Shankkar Aiyar | Published: 18th July 2021 12:14 AM |

This week the elected representatives will troop into Parliament to represent the electors. Ostensibly!

Frequently, time set aside to ponder over public cause is hijacked by puerile puffery. …


The public discourse has been about the ‘know-who’ factor. What is of import to the electorate is the translation of intent into outcomes. This calls for a review of the architecture of government and focus on ‘know-what’ and ‘know-how’ factors.

By Shankkar Aiyar |Published: 04th July 2021 06:35 AM |

The national capital is abuzz. The nine-letter verb, a palpable presence in casual and formal settings, has triggered a commotion of speculation and punditry, a kind of political kerfuffle if you please. …


Too many taxes are chasing one segment to fund bloating expenditure. Rising cost of living has led to the depletion of optimism as families try to make ends meet in a landscape of pay cuts, pink slips and unemployment.

By Shankkar Aiyar | Published: 27th June 2021 06:30 AM |

The angst is visible in bazaars and audibly vocal in living rooms and WhatsApp family calls. It is a common factor in RBI’s surveys and voter opinion polls. …

Shankkar Aiyar

Journalist-Analyst. Author of ‘Accidental India’ and Áadhar: A Biometric History. Studying how the market for politics rules the economics of people!

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