In Oxford I attended a poetry reading by Allen Ginsberg where he spoke at length about India. His India was quite different from my India. By then I had learnt there were several ‘Indias’ just as there were several versions of ‘England’, ‘the West’ or ‘Vilayat’ that had been depicted to me, unsolicited, by various well-wishers and friends before I left India in 1979. Most of these individuals had never left India. In Oxford, I discovered my ‘West’ along with other people’s ‘East’ and their ‘Indias’ as they attempted to establish a means of communication with me, though they too had never been to India! Ginsberg had at least spent some time in India. Read More

How does one reconcile a peaceful vigil in a north London suburb turning into the worst riots in England for decades? Mark Duggan, 29, was killed on Thursday, 4 August 2011, in Tottenham, after police officers stopped the minicab in which he was travelling to arrest him. At the time of his death he was under investigation by officers from Trident, the Metropolitan police unit responsible for gun crime within the black community. It was reported that Duggan pulled a gun on the police; the Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed he did not fire first. The sequence of events that resulted in riotous burning and looting in Tottenham on Saturday night, 6 August, remains unclear. Read More