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Vinoth Ramachandra

India, the world’s largest democracy, is currently involved in a general election process that will take many weeks to execute. Cynics have often raised the question of what democracy can mean in a country where as much as a quarter of the population cannot read or write and where politics has not only been caste-based […] Read More

More than 400 Nepali migrant workers have died on Qatar’s building sites since the Gulf state won the bid to host the soccer World Cup in 2022. At the same time, more than 20 Indian laborers die on average every month on Qatar’s construction sites. Employers show an appalling lack of concern for workers’ safety, […] Read More

What is the relation between moral goodness and intellectual insight? The modern assumption is that there is no connection, that ethics inhabits a different realm altogether from knowledge. This view would have been incomprehensible to the great sages of both the ancient West (whether “Ecclesiastes” or Socrates) and the East (Buddha or Confucius). In the […] Read More

The continuing disclosures, thanks to Edward Snowden, of the global extent of American spying programs are faintly humorous. One would love to know, for instance, what possible benefits American governments have gained from 10 years of listening in to Angela Merkel’s phone calls and how it has served the public interest (which, after all, is […] Read More

I have spent the past three weeks in New Zealand, a land of spectacular beauty and rich in ecological diversity. Little wonder that, following the success of the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” filmmakers have been descending in droves to this country. My wife and I came away deeply impressed by the lives […] Read More

“Give a person a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” So runs a popular, traditional adage about economic development. But poor fishing communities don’t need us to teach them how to fish. They may have much to teach us about more […] Read More

Can the North American church become more Christian by learning from the history and politics of countries like India and Sri Lanka? Even to suggest this must come as a bit of a shock to those small but highly vocal sections within that church who believe they have nothing to learn from other peoples, even […] Read More

Joseph Ratzinger, who recently stepped down as Pope Benedict XVI, was not as popular, let alone as saintly, as his predecessor John Paul II. But he has acquired a well-deserved reputation as the “Green Pope,” making the Vatican the first carbon-neutral country in the world, putting thousands of solar panels on Vatican rooftops (a project […] Read More

Why do men like President Assad of Syria prefer to rule over rubble than surrender power? Arrogance in politics is compounded of ignorance, willful blindness and fantasies of invincibility. And when entire societies prostrate themselves before such arrogant rulers, what comes to mind are the controversial Freudian notion of a collective “death-wish” and the biblical […] Read More

After the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it is worth reflecting again on the question: whose history do we read? Toward the end of the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson presented to the Congress an ambitious scheme for a new international order based on democratic government, the right of small nations to […] Read More