Tiwas tribe in Assam keeps centuries-old barter trade fair alive

The Tiwas, a colourful tribe living in the plains and hills of Central Assam and in Meghalaya, have kept this ancient system of trade alive.

Safeguarding ancient treasures

An important lesson from the return of the three idols is that unless India vastly improves protective measures and investigative infrastructure, it can neither control trafficking nor recover lost antiquities.

Let us name it ‘Non-Discriminatory Market Access’, India tells Pakistan

“Trade balance has increased manifold in favour of India ... we have been talking to the Indian government to say, let’s call it non-discriminatory access. It is a more useful and workable term.”

Bengali Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh

The ‘Partition’ was swift and vicious in the Punjabs and Sindh where religious minorities have ceased to exist for all practical purposes. This is not so in the Bengals, where many still live on their ancestral land.

The medium and the context

All of this is a tribute to the average middle class family’s tenacity and dedication to go the extra mile to inculcate among the younger generations a taste for, and sensitivity towards, the fine arts.

Reforms in the house of God

The need for state intervention in temple management was realised during the temple entry movement, which stressed the importance of treating temples as public spaces.

Mapping the Kashmir trajectory

Instead of wielding a partnership with the people of Kashmir by addressing their grievances and assuaging their fears, India put in place a system of extended patronage pivoted on select individuals.

A feeble search for stolen idols

Outdated national policies and legislative measures have been rightly criticised for their inability to curb illicit trade … But, the slack practices of museums and auction houses have escaped attention.

Germany adds lessons in Islam to better blend its melting pot

Enduring battles over whether any public servant can wear a head scarf also underscore the persistent gap between non-Muslim Germans and Muslims who are nonetheless an ever larger part of each other’s lives.

A battle for the soul of Islam

With Osama bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda in disarray, moderate Muslims were set to reclaim political Islam from extremists. But two years later, the Islam projected by extremists is back with a vengeance.

How a hunch led to a stunning claim

Buddha’s birthplace was lost and overgrown by jungle before its rediscovery in 1896, when the presence of a third century BC pillar bearing inscriptions allowed historians to identify it as Lumbini.

New ways of learning old rules - English Language

Traditional grammar classes should be replaced by tutoring in language awareness and analysis guided primarily by languages already known in the classroom.

No caste, no creed, no gender

Excerpts from A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story by acclaimed vocalist T.M. Krishna.

Neither too hard nor too soft

While the Election Commission should not allow the perception of its being an eroded authority that would make enforcing discipline among contesting parties difficult, it should also not lay itself open to ridicule by raising objections to clever wordplay by campaigners.

Indian secularism is about mediating between different communities

Women’s empowerment in films is a comforting fantasy even though it lasts only a few hours.An interview with Sanjay Subrahmanyam , historian.

From insurgency to electoral democracy

Accommodative politics, combined with political incentives, helped pave the way for the Mizo National Front to turn into a mainstream political party.

Finding the time and the money for space

The most important achievement of India’s 50-year space programme is the establishment of R&D facilities.

Who betrayed Sardar Patel?

Sardar Patel persuaded the Constituent Assembly to guarantee payment of Privy Purses and preserve the rights of the erstwhile rulers. But the Congress betrayed him 20 years later by abolishing the Privy Purses.

Challenge to artistic expression

The High Court’s order underlines the urgent need to reconsider the film certification process, and indeed, the archaic Cinematograph Act of 1952

The politics of public memorials

By taking the moral high ground on the Sardar Patel statue issue, the Congress has conveniently forgotten that it was among the earliest to take to statues in a big way.