Karan Thapar

Karan Thapar is a super-looking genius who’s young, friendly, chatty and great fun to be with. He’s also very enjoyable to read.

Articles by Karan Thapar

A liberal visa regime for Pakistani visitors to India

When a Pakistani with dual citizenship applies for an Indian visa, the application has to be on their Pakistani passport. Once submitted, the Indian embassy will forward it to Delhi. It can take months. Often, there is no response. Is this how we wish to treat people who once were fellow countrymen?

The treatment of the brilliant Australian batsman Usman Khawaja is an illustration of what I call nastiness. (AP)
Published on Mar 18, 2023 07:19 PM IST

For a Congress revival, a two-fold approach

professor Suhas Palshikar believes the Congress must act on two fronts, organisationally and in terms of its political mobilisation

If the Congress can’t surmount Palshikar’s challenge, is it really ridiculous to say the party’s future could be in doubt?
Published on Mar 11, 2023 06:40 PM IST

When India and Pakistan came close to inking a pact

Satinder Lambah’s book, In Pursuit of Peace confirms: “By the end of the second term of the UPA government and of Dr Manmohan Singh’s 10-year term, the draft agreement had been approved and was ready for signature.”

Satinder Kumar Lambah's In Pursuit of Peace.
Published on Mar 04, 2023 06:57 PM IST

When Fazl Karim became Chunni Lal

This is a story that’s worth remembering. It’s a powerful illustration of how times have changed. Seventy-five years later, I also hope it might speak to our conscience.

It happened in the hot summer of 1947. My father, an army brigadier at the time, was the director of military operations and intelligence. In those days, the job brought with it a Lutyens bungalow. But the beauty of this home, set in acres of manicured lawns surrounded by gulmohar trees, contrasted with the murderous emotions whipped into a frenzy by the killings that accompanied Partition (HT ARCHIVE)
Updated on Feb 25, 2023 05:06 PM IST

New revelations on the long history of our nation

I was struck by the things that Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Shobita Punja, and Toby Sinclair's A New History of India reveals and its interpretations

A New History of India.
Updated on Feb 18, 2023 05:52 PM IST

Musharraf, a man of many contradictions

Last week the focus was on the political and, therefore, disturbing contradictions in his character. And rightly so. But let’s not forget the delightful ones. They’re also part of the truth.

The architect of Kargil as the army chief but also the president who came closer than anyone before to a solution of the Kashmir issue. (REUTERS)
Updated on Feb 11, 2023 07:45 PM IST

Why R-Day’s Beating Retreat saddened me

What is fixed in my memory are the retreating bands, climbing Raisina Hill. As they reached the crest, the sun would start to set. It made everyone gasp with delight. Alas, much of that is history.

Beating Retreat is a military ceremony that possibly began in the 17th century when James II was King of England. It was intended to signal the end of battle. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 06, 2023 10:45 AM IST

Three old books, but fine vacation reads

Two of them are biographies, a genre I find most enjoyable. The first is Zareer Masani’s slim but revealing and insightful work on Thomas Macaulay

I’m going to strive to read more of the books I buy or receive. May be not all and probably not the full book in every case but most and as much as I can take. After all I don’t want to find, five years from now, that some of the best books I’m reading I could have picked up half a decade ago. I can’t afford to make that mistake again! (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jan 28, 2023 09:17 PM IST

Prince Harry’s book is both curious and embarrassing

The style of the book is taut, tense, and staccato. Like a thriller. But the language lacks depth, and when the content flags, it can pall, even irritate.

This book is full of revelations and there’s an awful lot of them. (Reuters)
Published on Jan 21, 2023 07:42 PM IST

Move forward, but cherish the past too

Carols at Christmas seem as natural as the aarti and fireworks at Diwali or semiya ki kheer at Eid. But will religion now determine what we can sing and partake of?

I know change is inevitable and the world must evolve but are there no traditions we want to retain? If Abide With Me is a symbol of colonialism, what about Beating Retreat itself? Could it be in danger too? If only I was sure the answer is no (PTI)
Updated on Jan 14, 2023 07:55 PM IST

Some unfamiliar Einstein sayings to kick-start 2023

I’ve never been able to understand E=mc², but I’m in lockstep with the rest of his wisdom. It’s a shame we don’t know more about this side of him. So, let me, this Sunday, tell you about the Einstein we’re not familiar with.

If, like me, you’re surprised but delighted to discover how deep and penetrating Einstein’s perception of human beings was, then let me tell you his understanding of himself was equally sharp. (Getty images)
Published on Jan 07, 2023 06:22 PM IST

New Year resolution? I don’t have one... yet!

Today, as 2023 gets underway, I’m not sure what New Year’s resolution to make. I like the feeling of saintly virtue when I deliberately deny myself something I like, but I can’t think of what it should be

There was a time when I did without fail. I would make pious commitments which I would rigidly stick to for a week, weakly pursue for one more and happily forget thereafter. The first week felt good. The next left me feeling guilty. But the best was when I cast off the resolution and returned to my bad old ways. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 31, 2022 08:55 PM IST

A spymaster recounts his life in the shadows

In AS Dulat’s A Life in the Shadows, you will come across stories and people you otherwise would never find out about. This is what makes the book such fun

Former Research and Analysis Wing head AS Dulat in Chandigarh (HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 24, 2022 09:26 PM IST

Of pointed humour, digs and Doon’s class of 1971

My class of 1971 at Doon had a reunion and I met up with several old friends. But if anyone thought age, experience, and wisdom would have curbed our penchant for laughter at someone else’s expense they couldn’t have been more surprised.

They say there’s nothing more cruel than schoolboys. They’re wrong. Far worse are those you were at school with — even after 50 years! (Shutterstock)
Published on Dec 17, 2022 08:13 PM IST

What the fuss over a film revealed about our society

Whether or not Israeli screenwriter Nadav Lapid was right to criticise a specific film at the award ceremony is a legit-imate question. but A bigger concern was our behaviour

We deliberately chose to misconstrue what Lapid said. (File Photo)
Published on Dec 10, 2022 07:37 PM IST

The curious case of counting terrorists

Last week, a senior police officer revealed that there are 81 active terrorists in the Kashmir Valley as of now, including 29 locals and 52 foreign terrorists. How on earth can the data be so precise?

Jammu and Kashmir Police along with village defence gaurds carry out searches in forward areas along the international border, in Jammu, November, 25, 2022 (PTI)
Updated on Dec 03, 2022 09:02 PM IST

Facts and concerns about the collegium system

Is the collegium system of choosing judges perfect? Can it be considered intrinsic to the basic structure of our Constitution? Here’s what simple research has revealed.

A bigger concern is the quality of judges selected by the collegium. (PTI)
Published on Nov 27, 2022 07:40 PM IST

Why you should visit Bahrain at least once

Now, if you’ve visited the Emirates but remain fond of shopping, sea sports, the desert and the feel of a modern city, why not try Bahrain for your next weekend vacation?

The population is about 1.6 million, and I was told that includes 400,000 expatriates from India, three-fourths of whom are from Kerala. Wikipedia claims over 43% of the population are non-Arab Asians. I presume they’re expatriate workers. Bahrainis themselves are just 47%. (WIKICOMMONS)
Updated on Nov 19, 2022 07:21 PM IST

Some revelations on RBI, and advice for governors

C Rangarajan has published his account of his decades at RBI, culminating as its governor, and his period as governor of united Andhra Pradesh. It’s full of delectable details and amusing anecdotes.

Forks in the Road: My Days at RBI and Beyond. (Penguin Random House)
Published on Nov 12, 2022 07:50 PM IST

When a simple call led to an uncomfortable truth

Recently, When a young journalist asked me what I think about cricket, I said, “I don’t think about cricket.” And when she wouldn’t take that as an answer, I found myself in a conversation that took a bizarre turn

“I find cricket mindless, dreary and tedious,” I said. (AP/Representative Image)
Published on Nov 06, 2022 02:23 PM IST

What India can learn from British politics

In India, We have perhaps 200 million Muslims but they have been invisibilised. So, today, when we take pride in Sunak’s meteoric rise, why don’t we also look at ourselves and ask: Could a Muslim PM be possible in India?

Although Sunak’s elevation may be the most striking development, it’s by no means the full story. 20% of Boris Johnson’s first cabinet was of Black or Asian origin. (Reuters)
Updated on Oct 29, 2022 08:07 PM IST

India’s pharma sector has much to answer

A new book on the sector concludes that many facilities are flouting quality and process control procedures. Yet they seldom face any material punishment. This must change

I would say this is the book’s conclusion: “It is obvious that a number of Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are completely flouting quality and process control procedures.” Yet they “seldom face any material punishment for a crime that could seriously hurt or kill people.” This is truly frightening. But if the government doesn’t act, there’s nothing any of us can do. (Hemant Mishra/ Mint)
Published on Oct 22, 2022 06:54 PM IST

An interesting read on the Anglo-Indian community

Barry O’Brien’s new book, The Anglo-Indians: A Portrait of a Community, tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the community. It is a cornucopia of encyclopaedic information.

Barry O'Brien's The Anglo-Indians: A Portrait of a Community. 
Published on Oct 15, 2022 08:04 PM IST

In the Congress poll, did Tharoor get used?

Was Tharoor naïve in believing the Gandhis? When questioned, he said he could hardly doubt Sonia Gandhi’s word. If he did, he would be calling the Congress president a liar. That’s understandable, but the question remains. Was he naïve to believe what she said?

Before deciding to contest, Tharoor met each of the three Gandhis. He’s publicly said they readily assured him they would not, surreptitiously and unofficially, support a favourite candidate. There would be no secret anointing. Word would not be passed down the line indicating their preference. (L. Anantha Krishnan)
Updated on Oct 08, 2022 05:28 PM IST

How a Manipur order threatens our freedoms

The State notified an order requiring books on the state’s history, culture, tradition, geography to be submitted to a committee, headed by the education minister, for approval. This is a violation of our right to free speech and expression

The order says: “Some books published on the history, culture, tradition and geography of the state contain material which may either distort facts or disturb the peaceful coexistence amongst various communities.” 
Published on Oct 01, 2022 03:28 PM IST

Can Congress ensure free and fair polls?

A free and fair poll to choose the party president may be held, but the electoral college has not been properly chosen. Equally importantly, the body that will choose the CWC is nominated and not,as required, elected

If the election on the 17th is contested, will “Delhi” send a message anointing its preferred candidate to ensure he or she is elected? (REUTERS)
Updated on Sep 24, 2022 06:24 PM IST

Why does the Queen still command our attention?

What are the attributes of this sceptred isle that enthral the world? The first is its monarchy. The second is through its language. And a third reason is the BBC. And I’ll add one more reason to explain the British allure: It’s their sense of humour

Queen Elizabeth II has lost an empire, and she’s arguably no longer a meaningful power, but she can still command the world’s attention. (AP)
Published on Sep 17, 2022 08:05 PM IST

Sunak lost, but he has his eye on the future

He’s 42 and if he has to wait till 2029, he’ll still be under 50. His decision to sit on the back benches is a sign he has his eye on the future.

Rishi Sunak, former UK chancellor of the exchequer, London, August 31, 2022 (Bloomberg)
Updated on Sep 10, 2022 07:37 PM IST

Of Bilkis Bano, remission, and the Supreme Court

The Bilkis Bano case has become a litmus test at many levels. That’s the case for Indian women and for the SC. But isn’t that also true for our country? I would say it is. Because, on the outcome depends the sanctity of justice

To start with, let’s not forget it’s the same Supreme Court that set in motion the process of remission with, arguably, some very questionable decisions to whom we are appealing. (AP File Photo)
Published on Sep 03, 2022 07:11 PM IST

What a revived Congress will mean for India today

There is substantial evidence to suggest the BJP could be vulnerable in 2024. A revived Congress, under an effective and respected president, could use this to determine the election result

A non-Gandhi Congress president may well be chosen, but will the family give him the freedom to act, speak, change strategy, and seek alliances as he wants? (PTI)
Published on Aug 27, 2022 08:06 PM IST
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