Read to discover

Readiscovery

Category: India

  • Indians in Singapore

    Indians in Singapore

    Once upon a time, there were more Indian than Chinese voters in Singapore. Hard to believe but true. Indians outnumbered the Chinese when the first general election to the Legislative Council was held in 1948. Only British subjects were eligible to vote. Out of a potential electorate of more than 200,000, only 23,000 registered to […]

  • Raffles, Singapore, Calcutta and Bengal

    Raffles, Singapore, Calcutta and Bengal

    When a young man came to Singapore from Calcutta many years ago, he didn’t know he was following in the footsteps of Sir Stamford Raffles. The one difference: He came by air. Raffles came by sea — on the ship Indiana, with his deputy, Major William Farquhar, on board another vessel, the Ganges.

  • North Indian temples in Kolkata and Singapore

    I loved this temple in Kolkata. Quiet, well-maintained, it’s a welcome refuge from the world outside. Located on busy Diamond Harbour Road in Kidderpore, it’s an island of tranquillity. There is complete peace as you walk up the long flight of steps from the gate to the interior of the temple. I was reminded of […]

  • Raffles and his East Indiamen

    What a coincidence that India celebrates its independence on August 15 while Singapore’s National Day is August 9. Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, arrived on the island in on 29 January 1819 from Calcutta (now Kolkata) in India. Even the ship he sailed on was named Indiana. I couldn’t find details of the ship but […]

  • Indira Gandhi and Lee Kuan Yew

    Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is compared to Indira Gandhi by the Indian journalist, Sunanda Datta-Ray, who once worked for The Straits Times. In his book, Looking East to Look West, exploring India-Singapore relations, based on his interviews with MM Lee, he writes: Lee and Indira Gandhi shared a brutal commitment to power, an […]

  • Paul Theroux on Kali and Calcutta

    In A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta, Paul Theroux describes an animal sacrifice at the Kali temple in Kalighat. A goat, garlanded with flowers, is led bleating into a walled enclosure to the beat of drums. Once inside, the terrified creature is thrust between two upright stakes and caressed by a barefoot priest, who […]

  • Nandan Nilekani: Imagining India

    Nandan Nilekani’s book, Imagining India, has been called both exhaustive and exhausting. It is a big book – a clear-eyed look at one of the world’s fastest growing economies where, nevertheless, millions are still poor and illiterate. For a quick summary by the author himself, watch this video. Nilekani begins by pointing out India with […]

  • Incredible India: Through a newsman’s eyes

    India is an unlikely economic giant. The vast majority of its people don’t even have steady jobs, points out Edward Luce in his insightful book on India. Fewer than 40 million of its 470 million workforce are employed in the “organized sector”, which offers job protection and other benefits. The government and the public sector […]

  • An absorbing history of India since independence

    India After Gandhi: The History Of The World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi: The History Of The World’s Largest Democracy is a riveting account of India since independence  in 1947.  The narrative never flags. Historical figures are brought to life and history re-enacted in its pages. It makes you appreciate […]

  • Calcutta hosts world’s biggest book fair

    I am surprised the BBC didn’t mention the Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith is in Calcutta (Kolkata) for the Kolkata Book Fair. Maybe the BBC presenter and the Indian correspondent Subir Bhowmik ran out of time discussing the size and scale and the city’s passion for books that has made it the world’s largest retail […]