Batuk Gathani: Out of Africa

VETERAN journalist Batuk Gathani’s fu­neral at Golders Green Crematorium last Saturday (9) ended with the Swahili song, Jambo Jambo Bwana, Habari ga­ni, Mzuri sana (Hello, Hello sir, How are you, I’m very fine), recalling sunlit days in Kenya, the country of his birth, in the 1950 and 1960s. In the bright English sunshine, floral tributes […]

Boom and bust: Two sides to Jinnah legacy

WHY THE PAKISTAN LEADER IS ‘A PIVOTAL FIGURE’ IN HISTORY LORD Meghnad Desai, who was part of the panel that picked Philip Jackson to make the “classic” stat­ue of Mahatma Gandhi for Parlia­ment Square, is not in the least surprised that the English sculptor was also selected to fashion the bust of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, founder […]

Give Meghan a little room to breathe

MARKLE ‘VULNERABLE TO PALACE HANDLING’ A PRESCIENT article last week in a broadsheet newspaper asked: “Will Meghan be given oxy­gen to thrive? Or crushed for being an outsider?” Alas, the early signs are not encouraging. Readers were reminded what American ac­tress Meghan Markle had said: “I’ve never want­ed to be a lady who lunches – I’ve […]

Visa rules must be fair for everyone

IT IS ironic that Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Im­migrants, has been unable to get a visa for his wife Gitanjali, who is forced to continue living with her parents in Delhi. “As a husband, I am broken,” Satbir, 30, admitted. “We have satisfied every one of […]

Putting Indira Gandhi’s leadership in context

HOW PEOPLE REMEMBER THE ‘EMPRESS OF INDIA’ THE 100th birth anniversary of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi fell just a couple of weeks ago on November 17, 2017. What is curious is that millions across India still remember her with affection. This is dis­tinctly odd, considering she is blamed for having very nearly crushed Indian […]

Indian beauty on top of the world again

MANUSHI CHHILLAR IS COUNTRY’S SIXTH WINNER CAN you name the six Indian girls who have won Miss World? Everyone knows Reita Faria was the first in 1967. She married a doctor in Ireland where she has lived in happy domesticity. The one I know best is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who won in 1994 at Sun […]

Millie-Mamata axis begins to take shape

THIS may sound like something out of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca but last week I heard of “Millie” again. This was because the home sec­retary Amber Rudd had announced the appointment of Millie Banerjee as the new chairman of the College of Policing. I first met Millie maybe 10 or pos­sibly 15 years ago, when […]

Tory tells blunt truth about race relations

  SOME people will be cross with Crispin Blunt, the 57-year-old Tory MP for Rei­gate, for suggesting that Priti Patel was fast-tracked into the cabinet only be­cause she is Asian.   On the contrary, Priti should express her gratitude to Blunt for telling the truth as he sees it. The Conservative party of today is […]

Did Priti have to resign?

THERE SEEMS TO BE MORE TO THE STORY BEHIND PATEL’S EXIT PRITI PATEL’S departure as sec­retary of state for international development will fill British Indi­ans with dismay and sadness. I can’t imagine that prime minis­ter Theresa May wanted her to go, but the BBC and other media warned that if Priti wasn’t sacked, it would show how […]

Brown’s regrets over ‘illegal’ Iraq war

FORMER PRIME MINISTER REVEALS TROUBLED CONSCIENCE IN MEMOIR EVERYONE, bar former prime minister Tony Blair, now accepts that the Iraq war was a horren­dous mistake. So for ex-prime minister Gordon Brown to say in his just-published memoirs, that he wished he had done more to stop Britain taking military action against Iraq’s presi­dent Saddam Hussein […]