A version of this was published by the Daily Pioneer on Dec 1. Here is the URL:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/219496/A-non-event-foretold.html

Mr Singh went to Washington, and all I got was this lousy biriyani

Rajeev Srinivasan

It is not clear why some are disappointed by the non-event of the Manmohan Singh visit to Washington. On the contrary, a sigh of relief is in order, as there was no major faux pas, which is customary when the PM and his Sancho Panzas sally forth abroad. No, the soporific, meaningless joint statement was better than the abject surrender of some major national interest, as in Havana 2006 and Sharm-al-Sheikh 2009.

It is mystifying exactly what was expected, anyway, from the First State Visit to Obama’s Camelot (Obamelot?). The First State Visit is just a diplomatic air-kiss. The best metaphor for it was the fact that the dinner was gate-crashed by a couple named Michelle and Tareq Salehi, a blonde in a bright-red, diaphanous sari-like concoction, and a tuxedo-clad (one assumes) Arab. That these people waltzed right past the massive security, and even got photo-ops with the Obamas and the Veep, would be appalling, if it weren’t comical. So it has come to this – the Federal Bureau of Investigation reincarnated as the Keystone Cops. Or maybe it just shows the level of attention and due diligence the Obamistas paid to the Manmohan First State Visit.

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Mr. Singh goes to Washington

November 24, 2009

a version of this appeared on rediff at http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/nov/24/rajeev-srinivasan-on-prime-minister-singhs-visit.htm

Mr. Singh goes to Washington

Rajeev Srinivasan on why he fears the ‘state visit’ may be disastrous

In the old black-and-white Frank Capra film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” an idealistic small-town man played by James Stewart is elected to the US Congress, where he is appalled by corrupt politics; but in the end his innocence wins over the blasé denizens of the capital. In a sense, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to the US in the near future is being portrayed in the same way, but the Indian is neither as idealistic nor as naïve as the Jimmy Stuart character, nor is there likely to be a happy ending.

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This was published at http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/nov/11/rajeev-srinivasan-on-the-struggle-for-dharma.htm

Roses in November: In search of righteousness
Rajeev Srinivasan on why Dharma underlies every act in India
After all the festivities of Navaratri and Deepavali, November arrives with several anniversaries of some significance. These are, in one way or the other, related to the idea of Dharma, and thus closely entwined with the very basis of Indian civilization. As metaphors, they are a good counterpoint to the slaying of the buffalo-demon by the Goddess – an icon that goes back to Indus-Sarasvati times. Clearly, the struggle for Dharma is never wholly won.
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