Pallab Bhattacharya

Pallab Bhattacharya is a special correspondent for The Daily Star.

Political void in Punjab: Can a radical leader again ignite separatism?

When a mob led by a radical 30-year-old Sikh preacher openly espousing to separatist cause stormed a police station in Amritsar district of India's Punjab bordering Pakistan on February 24, the incident and the man behind it revived memories of the dark days of militancy that had ravaged the state for years in 1980s

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Revitalizing Delhi’s school system: A triumphant journey

When Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit the streets in India’s national capital on January 16 this year to protest the alleged non-approval by the Lt Governor Saxena to his government’s proposal to send school teachers abroad for training,

BCCI to pay men, women equally

In a momen-tous move to kindle gender parity, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today announced equal match fees for its centrally-contracted male and female players.

Why are political parties trying to woo the Prince of Calcutta?

Sourav’s stints as cricket administrator in Bengal and BCCI have ensured he remains in the media focus.

A visit more crucial amid global crisis

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today begins a four-day New Delhi visit, which is expected to take the 50-year diplomatic ties between India and Bangladesh to a new height amid global and regional crises fuelled by the Ukraine war and the Covid pandemic.

Will Mamata be invited to join Hasina-Modi summit?

Although Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India next week was officially announced today by the Indian External Affairs Ministry, there is no confirmation to speculations if West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be invited to join the delegation-level talks between India and Bangladesh.

Has Modi sounded the 2024 poll bugle?

The Indian prime minister left little doubt that corruption would be one of the mainstays of his campaign against his political rivals in the run-up to the 2024 general election.

India, Russia trying to resolve payment issues

Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and sanctions imposed by the West on Moscow’s nine major banks, India and Russia are trying to resolve the issue of payment for a large quantity of oil bought by India from Russia avoiding the Western sanctions. 

"West Bengal should learn from Bangladesh how to conserve hilsa, meet demands"

Shankar Dey, a mid-ranking government officer in south Kolkata’s Deshopriya Park locality, makes it a point to browse the nearby Lake Market early every morning in search of quality fish.

Can the ‘fringe’ make the BJP cringe?

India is in hot water both home and abroad since two leaders of BJP, the ruling party, publicly said derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad.

India get go ahead for 5G spectrum auction

India today gave the green signal to conduct 5G spectrum auction for telecom services by July-end and abolish the need for upfront payment for purchasing airwaves.

Who is afraid of EVMs and why?

CEC Kazi Habibul Awal recently said there was no scope for showing muscle power during voting if the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are used during the 2023 general election in Bangladesh.

A new great game begins. Will Bangladesh be in it?

It is too early to conclude if the IPEF is a prelude to Donald Trump's Trans-Pacific Trade agreement in a different cloak.

When KK was a patch of bright sunshine to me

Whether in a crowd or left alone, KK perfectly reflected that unmistakable sense of yearning and pain for a phase of life which is gone forever.  

Geetanjali Shree's Partition novel 'Tomb of Sand' wins International Booker Prize 2022

Indian writer Geetanjali Shree became the first author from the country to win the International Booker Prize for her Hindi novel set in the aftermath of the 1947 Partition of the Indian subcontinent.

India’s Sri Lanka policy faces challenge

India’s Neighbourhood First Policy once again faces a challenge in view of the economic meltdown and consequent political turmoil in Sri Lanka. India’s approach in dealing with the crisis in the island nation has been calibrated and cautious.

Local polls behind India’s wheat, sugar export curbs

Electoral calculations appear to be one of the key factors behind India’s decision to curb sugar and wheat export, according to industry analysts.

Feed home or the world? India’s wheat dilemma

In September last year, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Joe Biden in Washington on the margins of the first in-person summit of the Quad group of countries, he had conveyed to him that India was ready to supply food grains to the world if the World Trade Organisation agrees.

Fresh Churn for the Muslims of Assam

The complex web of religious and linguistic fault lines in the northeastern state of Assam in India is once again set for fresh churn, with implications for the Muslim population there.

Bangladesh wants to sign CEPA with India in a year

As Bangladesh prepares to graduate into a developing country, its Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said his country is keen to clinch a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA) not only with India but also with Indonesia and Sri Lanka in a year.

Cravings for chocolate lands boy in prison

A Bangladeshi teenager was sent to jail in India on Wednesday for illegally crossing into the neighbouring country to buy his favourite brand of chocolate.

Documentary on Bangabandhu’s stay in Kolkata in the works

The four years Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman spent in Kolkata from 1942 when he studied in Islamia College (later renamed Maulana Azad College) in the city’s central part played a key role in shaping his charismatic personality, said India’s acclaimed director Goutam Ghosh who began shooting a documentary on the subject yesterday.

Is 2022 precursor to 2024 polls in India?

Holi, the festival of colour, has come a week early for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Even before the full results of the assembly elections in Uttar

5-State assembly polls: BJP soars, Congress sinks

Overcoming strong anti-incumbency sentiments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP yesterday stormed back into power for a second successive tenure in the most populous and politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

Alvida, Disco King

The man beloved for the song “Chalte chalte mere yeh geet yaad rakhna/ Kabhi alvida na kehna” (As you walk remember this song of mine/ Don’t ever say farewell) bade his final farewell, leaving the Indian subcontinent’s music lovers shocked and saddened.

Party loyalty in the shifting sand of Indian politics

When RPN Singh quit the Congress and joined the BJP on January 25, 2022, he joined a growing list of politicians switching sides ahead of the coming assembly elections in five Indian states: Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Manipur.

A region connected by waterways

When the Indian cargo vessel MV, named after former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, set sail carrying 200 tonnes of food grain on a 2,350 km journey

‘Whenever you hear my songs, you will hum with me’

If I am asked to pick one song from a Hindi film that best encapsulates how the posterity would look back at the singing legends Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi, it would be “Pagla Kahin Ka” (1970), where they sing: “tum mujhe yun bhula na paoge / jab kabhi bhi geet sunoge mere / sang sang tum bhi gungunaoge”.

The songbird falls silent

Lata Mangeshkar’s voice is immortal.

A Director’s Delight

It was the spring of 1985 in New Delhi. I, along with my father Vishnupada Bhattacharya, a linguist, literary critic and a teacher at the Department of Modern Indian Languages in Delhi University, came out of Vigyan Bhavan after watching Satyajit Ray’s “Ghare Baire.”

Of Buddhadeb, Azad and Award

Rejecting or returning official awards is not uncommon in India.

Your Netaji Versus My Netaji

A political battle to appropriate the legacy of India’s freedom struggle icon Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is going on between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Poll amid pandemic: Voting right vs human life

On January 8, 2022, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule of fresh assembly elections in five Indian states—Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa,

India’s polarised politics and media

On December 29, 2021, India’s Chief Justice NV Ramana sent out a message to the Indian media that could not have been timelier. In fact, it served as a wake-up call.

India’s Omicron challenge on multiple fronts

Since the first Omicron case of Covid-19 was detected in Karnataka on December 2, instances of the most rapidly mutating and contagious variant of the disease have been on the rise across India.

The political rumblings in India over 1971

As a teenage school student in 1971 living in Delhi, I had a limited idea about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

India-Russia ties in a changing world

As Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up his six-hour visit to New Delhi on December 6, most commentaries on India-Russia relations invariably termed it as the continuation of decades of romance that first blossomed in the Cold War era—a global geo-political scenario that is very different from what it is today.

Looking beyond the security dialogue on Afghanistan

The first conference of top national security officials of eight Asian countries on crisis-hit Afghanistan, hosted by India on November 10, sent out an important message relating to the need for preventing the war-torn country from becoming a safe haven for global terrorism once again, for an inclusive government, and an unhindered supply of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.

No country for reforms?

It is not very often that one sees the prime minister of a country publicly tendering an apology for a job they failed to push through.

Repeal of India’s farm laws a political decision

Electoral politics in a democracy like India is all about taking the right decision at the right time and popular perception.

A billion Covid-19 jabs and India’s hope and caution

In October, India reached the important milestone of administering one billion Covid-19 vaccine doses, accomplished in 278 days since the inoculation drive was launched on January 16 this year.

Can Modi’s India keep its promise of net zero emissions?

That Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a penchant for springing off surprise when it comes to India’s engagement with the world has once again been proven at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Can the regional be the national in Indian politics?

As India inches towards fresh general elections in 2024, there is a wind of change in the political landscape.

Pandora Papers take the lid off India’s superrich

Satyajit Ray’s 1976 film “Jana Aranya” is as much a socio-political commentary as it is about the dark underbelly of India’s business world.

Congress Party lurching from crisis to crisis

Factional feud and mutual recrimination among leaders in public, either at state or national level, are nothing new to India’s main opposition party—Congress Party.

Whither opposition unity in India?

About a fortnight ago, when senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid asserted that his party was still in the “best position” to clinch 120-130 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024, and assume the leadership of a prospective anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposition coalition, he set the cat among the pigeons.

A by-poll like no other

Discretion is the better part of valour, but not quite when it comes to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Can the UN play a central role in reshaping Afghanistan’s future?

As the world debates on the ways to deal with the serious challenges faced on multiple fronts after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, one issue that has received much less attention than the others is the kind of template based on which the solutions are to be found. The challenges relate as much to Afghanistan’s internal dynamics as to the external ones.

September 12, 2021
September 12, 2021

Two years on, NRC’s bumpy road ahead

On August 31, 2019, the “final” draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was published amidst considerable expectations, excitement and anxiety. It was a document of “genuine” Indian citizens that was thought to be the panacea for the state’s long-festering issue of illegal immigrants.

September 8, 2021
September 8, 2021

India and the great power game over Afghanistan

As Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla was wrapping up his talks with senior US officials in Washington on the evolving situation in Afghanistan,

September 3, 2021
September 3, 2021

Tackling Covid-19: Are good days waiting for India?

In its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, India achieved two milestones in five days between August 27 and 31 while vaccinating its people. Both relate to a new high in the number of vaccine recipients—1.03 crore doses on August 27, and 1.28 crore on the last day of a month that saw nearly 18 crore doses being administered, up from 13.45 crore in July and 11.97 crore in June.

August 31, 2021
August 31, 2021

What are India’s plans regarding Afghanistan?

When Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar briefed floor leaders of 31 parties in Parliament on August 26 on the developments in Afghanistan, he faced some searching questions about New Delhi’s policy, actions and future strategy towards Afghanistan, post-Taliban takeover.

August 31, 2021
August 31, 2021

A magician of words for all ages

Though born in Kolkata and studied at St Xavier’s College there, the foundation of one of Bengal’s most popular writers Buddhadeb Guha’s creative mind was shaped by his extensive journey through the swathes and rivers of Rangpur, Jaipurhat and Barisal districts.

August 22, 2021
August 22, 2021

India’s Taliban challenge and Afghan policy

The joke going around in diplomatic circles in New Delhi is that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was much smoother than the change of guard at the White House after Joe Biden won the presidential elections in the world’s biggest democracy.

August 18, 2021
August 18, 2021

Partition: Looking back to heal and not hurt

On two successive days on August 14 and 15, 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent and its catastrophic fallout on millions of people.

August 14, 2021
August 14, 2021

A stormy parliamentary session and clouds over Indian democracy

It rained protests and disruptions by a united and unrelenting opposition every day during the nearly month-long monsoon session of the Indian parliament, raising serious concerns about Indian democracy.

August 8, 2021
August 8, 2021

Breaking fast and bread: Rahul Gandhi style

On August 2, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi chaired a meeting of leaders of 15 opposition parties for breakfast at New Delhi’s Constitution Club

August 1, 2021
August 1, 2021

India’s opposition unity a work in progress

Politics has a strange way of repeating itself in some ways.