Shankkar Aiyar

Author of Accidental India: A History of the Nation's Passage through Crisis and Change

Shankkar Aiyar
Interpreters of Maladies in Court

There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.

14 Jan 2018

Maximum governance and tax payer bucks

Few leaders have captured the angst of the tax paying classes as well as Ronald Reagan. In the eighties, he said memorably, “government always finds a need for whatever money it gets”. 

07 Jan 2018

Does RaGa have a signature tune?

In his treatise, The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli observes that there are two critical variables for success. One is Fortuna, or the cards that one has been dealt with. The other is Virtu, or inherent

17 Dec 2017

Bail-In of Depositors for Bail-Out of Banks

Useful Idiots! The coinage, frequently attributed to Vladimir Lenin, is used to describe the gullible. The constituency of useful idiots, it would seem, is being expanded to include a new constituent

10 Dec 2017

Habeas Corpus in the Age of Aadhaar

In the infamous ‘ADM Jabalpur’ case, the government held that Constitutional rights of citizens stood suspended. Justice H R Khanna asked, “Life is also mentioned in Article 21 and would government ar

03 Dec 2017

Confer Bharat Ratna on Milkman Kurien

Verghese Kurien, the father of the Milk Revolution, would have turned 96 on November 26. Kurien reached Anand, in Gujarat, at the age of 28 in 1949. At the time, India produced around 17 million tonne

26 Nov 2017

Air Pollution: Gasping for Good Governance

The discourse on air pollution is enveloped by dense smog. The narrative is riveted by breathless confusion, and conflation —of seasonal, spatial and systemic issues. 

19 Nov 2017

Yesterday Once More: Urbanites, you are on your own!

Shankkar aiyAr Author of Aadhaar:  A Biometric History of India’s 12 Digit Revolution, and 
Accidental India

12 Nov 2017

#100 Ease of Biz: Cause for Applause, Much to be Modest About

Shankkar aiyAr Author of Aadhaar:  A Biometric History of India’s 12 Digit  Revolution, and 
Accidental India

05 Nov 2017

The Tyranny of ‘do Everything Else’ and Wait for a Crisis

You can count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything. This quip, widely attributed to Winston Churchill, could well be applicable for policy makers in India.

29 Oct 2017

Will deaths awaken the sarkars out of systemic stupor?

Friedrich Nietzsche said famously, “there are no facts, only interpretations”.

22 Oct 2017

Hunger index: china moves from 47 to 29, india slides 94 to 100

What does it say about politicians and political parties of a democracy when an ‘authoritarian regime’ does better on tackling hunger!

15 Oct 2017

GST, Khakhra economics, babel of politics and context blindness

If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without climbing it, it would have been permitted
Franz Kafka

08 Oct 2017

Waiting for Godot? What are states doing to drive growth?

Shankkar aiyAr Author of Aadhaar: A  Biometric History of India’s 12 Digit Revolution, and Accidental India

01 Oct 2017

Slowdown and the perils of #hashtag economics

In the 1840s, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, thinker and economist, wrote a seminal essay, Petition of the Candle-makers.

24 Sep 2017

Seductive economics: The theory that 2017 is like 2002

As theories go, this one is seductive alright and quite a few in the corridors of power and policy are smitten.

17 Sep 2017

The task of job creation and the test for task forces

Talk about quintessential Indian entrepreneurship.  Go on e-retailer Amazon’s site and search for cow dung cakes.

10 Sep 2017

How to kill cities: A primer on unsmart policies

The rationalisation of what is essentially systemic neglect, leans on the alibi that the city can cope with only X amount of rain.

03 Sep 2017

Davids need right to reclaim footprint from data goliaths

Shankkar aiyAr Author of Aadhaar:  A Biometric History of India’s 12 Digit  Revolution, and Accidental India

27 Aug 2017

Sikka’s Tata to Infosys and the perils of succession

Not long ago, two corporate entities were cited by funds and investors at conferences and in scholarly essays, held up as illustrative examples of standards of corporate governance.

20 Aug 2017

The politics of pledges and musings on Independence day 

This August 15 India celebrates 70 years of Independence, a young nation nestled in an ancient civilisation yet wrestling with old problems in the new millennium. 

13 Aug 2017