Sunil Sethi

Journalist in Delhi

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Republic of bad ideas

First published in Business Standard on 2 February 2013

If you asked many of the thousands thronging the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) last weekend what exactly the row over Professor Ashis Nandy’s comments on corruption was, chances are you would draw a blank. Most people were much too busy plugging into the talk shows, meeting writers, buying books, and enjoying the music and sunshine to bother about which class or caste group was more corrupt than the other. At events as large as JLF, host to a vast number of ideas and issues being vigorously debated, intolerance generally has low street cred. If grievances arising from discussions were to end up in filing of police cases and issuing of arrest warrants, then many of the 300 invited speakers from around the country and the world would as likely have to shut up and go home. Continue reading


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The olive oil factor

First published in Business Standard on February 15, 2003

A European friend in search of acquiring a private rural retreat in coastal India, a maison secondaire of sorts, prospected for several years in many places including Kerala, Maharashtra and Odisha before deciding on the ideal secluded spot in Goa. His final choice was dictated by what he calls “the olive oil factor”. This does not suggest Mediterranean hillsides covered in olive groves; simply the easy availability of provisions and produce of almost any description, a few miles away from any location. Continue reading