Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist | Writer | Analyst

Ask Siddharth

Have a question for me? Leave it in the comments and I’ll answer. Be nice.

157 comments on “Ask Siddharth

  1. chiranjeev das
    April 4, 2015

    Dear Mr. Varadarajan,

    I read your article in NDTV.com entitiled “Giriraj Singh’s Crude Racism Does Real Damage”. The comments by the BJP MP is condemnable and highly irresponsible. However, to link it to a possible damage to international relations is way over the top. Nation states and foreign policy/diplomacy operate in a different plane, functioning in a different dimension. They do not get derailed by one aberrant comment from the lunatic fringe. This comment will be ignored by both the BJP and the concerned African govt (Nigeria). Things will move on. When India conducted the nuclear tests in 1998, Senator Brownback thundered that ” India constituted a grave national security threat to the existence of the United States”. No one in the US administration nor in the Indian govt paid a hoot.
    India-Africa relations will ride over what is not even a minor bump.

  2. Joseph Keve
    February 17, 2015

    Hi Siddharth, Have followed your articles for a while now and find them worth a great read. Just finished reading your article on Modi’s debacle in Delhi. Great analysis and insights. Keep it up. Pl.put me on your mailing list.
    Joseph Keve, South Asia Correspondent, Die Wochen Zeitung (WOZ).

  3. Rafat
    February 8, 2015

    Dear Sir:

    This “Ask Siddharth” column seems to be defunct now. Still, I have a question. What’s the future of Congress post its debacle in Delhi elections. Hoping to get an answer. Thanks

    • Siddharth Varadarajan
      February 11, 2015

      Its future is not very bright, Rafat. The only state where its immediate prospects look good is Punjab, where the SAD-BJP government is headed for a drubbing by 2017. But factional squabbles and intervention by the High Command seem to be messing up the Congress’s prospects. In Bihar, where elections are due in November, the coalition with the JDU and RJD might defeat the BJP but the Congress will be the smallest player. Next year will see elections in Assam and Tamil Nadu; the Congress will do badly in both. And so things go on. Nationally, the party is unwilling to deal with its crisi of leadership in a rational manner, clinging on to the very dynasty that is proving to be its undoing.

  4. l srichandrasekar
    September 25, 2014

    Dear Sir
    Your views on times of india and deepika war of words.Is entertainment swallowing ethics in journalism.Are people crooning for such stuff to make a newspaper to grow ?

  5. Al arafat
    August 28, 2014

    Hi sid, wrt your article on JAC (fatal flaw), once former minister Chidambaram was asked the need for change in the collegium systrm , for which he had to say “we are the only democracy where the judiciary chooses its judges by themselves” how far is it true? How much is it valid argument to introduce JAC, and why will JAC make things any better?

  6. Kruttik Aggarwal
    June 30, 2014

    Hi Siddharth,

    The recent developments in Iraq vis-a-vis ISIL worries me atleast as much as the journalism around it. It’s quiet frustrating to see such a one-sided anti-war reporting on both the print and cable media. I have tried to present my side of the story here (kruttik.tumblr.com), and while I know it’s too much to ask of you to comment on it but as one of your ardent followers, I would be much grateful if you can write me your thoughts.

    Thanks

  7. Sajad Padder
    June 29, 2014

    How do you perceive the prospects of India-Pakistan trade under Modi’s regime? Does trade has the potential to build peace in the region alongside lingering political issues.

  8. Joyoti
    June 24, 2014

    By being so virulently anti-Modi you Mr.Vardharajan are no different from the Sangh elements who are also virulently anti anyone not following their ideology.

  9. Jay
    May 31, 2014

    What are your thoughts on relevance of Marxism in the 21st century? It is no doubt the most scientific theory of political economy but it seems that its followers practically speaking are reduced to activism and a bit of intellectual journalism. Do you feel that all we need is a charismatic leader to revive it? Or do we need another Marx to write a theory that suits the present times ?
    Thank you for your interaction with Aam Janata here.

  10. Arpita Roy
    May 29, 2014

    Dear Mr. Varadarajan,
    You suggested the article by Amitabh Mattoo for an understanding of Article 370. However, the article is not clear on why the BJP is opposed to it or raking it up today. Apart from the history of personalities that Nehru wanted 370 and the BJP is congenitally opposed to Nehruvian-politics, are there ideological and geo-political reasons why the BJP demands the abrogation of special status to J&K? Secondly, how does the BJP gain by throwing the 370 gauntlet right now?? If you have the time, a neutral clarification would greatly help. The TV debates are unprofitable since they presuppose prior knowledge and, worse, raise raucous implications.
    Many thanks,
    Arpita

  11. kRam
    May 28, 2014

    …moreover AAP too had a clear message from their own survey conducted during Delhi’s assembly elections that people like to vote for AAP in Delhi state elections but to Modi as PM.AAP to missed this clear sign.AK too was advised by many why are you in a hurry?So overall AAP has failed in basic strategy??What do u think?

  12. sathya
    May 28, 2014

    Dear Sidharth,
    Health and education are important issue, but our govenament left the private sector to manupulate the way they want. We do not have clear health policy as in UK, Canada or Japan rather we are moving in US way. What is your opinion on this.

    Yours
    drsathya1@gmail.com

  13. balaji
    May 26, 2014

    Today atleast 40 Indians have lost their lives in train accident. But the electronic media has relegated this news to way below its importance amidst the euphoria of swearing in of new govt. Isnt it another instance of indian media succumbing to sensationalism and blowing things out of proportion?
    Was wondering, whether the same media which ran stories on terror attack for atleast a week, where a poor girl was killed in an explosion in Chennai Central ?
    Why doenst Indian media specially electronic doesnt show any interest in finding the real cause of each rail accident and the matter are laid to rest without any hard follow up ?
    Balaji

  14. Ravi Ramchander
    May 23, 2014

    Where can I get a copy of your book on Modi and Gujrat that was withdrawn from sale in India ?

    With good wishes.

    Ravi Ramchander

  15. Sundar R
    May 22, 2014

    Mr Siddarth ,
    You have said that TOI is the only paper minting profit .

    But most of the listed media groups like Jagran , Bhaskar , HT , DC are reported to be minting handsome profit . So also , Manorama , Mathrubhumi , ABP / TELEGRAPH , HINDU , DECCAN HERALD , IE . TNIE , EENADU , SAKSHI are also earning profit .

    If they are not earning profit , how can they survive with the cost of printing machines , newsprint etc escalating regularly . Can you state the correct facts since you were also an editor .

  16. Rafat Khan
    May 21, 2014

    Dear Siddharth:

    I have been noticing that post 16th May, many Modi and RSS bhakts have been openly threatening and abusing people on twitter and other social media sites and asking to close down site or else face the consequences; one such example is a twitter handle called “norinder mudi”. It’s a harmless funny take on Modi started long back before election, but the poor chap after threats had to put up a clarification on facebook that he is not against Modi and supports him etc. etc. This is just one of the example.

    Ominous sign for freedom of speech???

  17. Balaji Muralidharan
    May 18, 2014

    Since Modi is going to vacate his Baroda seat, doesnt it make sense to give ticket to a good muslim candidate, may be M J Akbar for the bye election, so that BJP have atleast have one muslim voice in the lower house?
    Or even this symbolism is too much to expect from Narendra Modi ?

    Balaji

  18. jansinh1
    May 18, 2014

    Dear Siddharth,

    is it possible that the Indian TV media turned towards Modi and clean ‘politicsless’ economics because it wanted to prove its professional credential for the global media market in Europe and US for a great success story of capitalism, liberalisation, growth in Asia/india?

    • Siddharth Varadarajan
      May 18, 2014

      Given the size of the Indian market — for media and for finished goods in general — I don’t think the Indian media was looking to prove any credentials to a global audience.

      • jansinh1
        May 18, 2014

        Since you allowed that question, pushing just one more. What about aspiration of media organisations in India to acquire or set up abroad? Would that need proving credentials?

      • Siddharth Varadarajan
        May 18, 2014

        India media houses,barring the TOI group, can barely keep their head above water catering to the Indian market, so there is no question of any of them looking overseas.

      • jansinh1
        May 20, 2014

        Sir, I see that there is no point making such sweeping remarks; but on another note, English media at least does not have such a huge potential audience in India. That of course doesn’t mean that there is a natural audience abroad or that they should want to set up abroad.
        So, now I want to look into whatever it is that keeps English media houses in India afloat and interested in the business. I suppose that would require a reading of the ownership pattern in media houses in India, and also the business model they follow. Can you suggest a source or a book?

      • Siddharth Varadarajan
        May 24, 2014

        Vandita Khandekar Kohli’s book is the best http://www.sagepub.in/books/Book242415?prodTypes=any&imprint=“SAGE%20Response”&sortBy=defaultPubDate%20desc&fs=1

      • jansinh1
        May 24, 2014

        Thank you.

  19. Balaji Muralidharan
    May 18, 2014

    Dear Sidharth,

    As a voter and as a student of politics and sociology, I am still deeply impressed by AAP brand of politics. I have a few question on this fledging party.

    Dont you think for a debutant, it was a fair performance in this election considering the fact, the numbers of well established parties would be less than that of AAP?

    Dont you think Kejriwal was to naive/ambitious in choosing to contest in Varansai?
    Now since he has done so and lost badly, wouldnt it be fair for me to stay and create a nimble organization in that belt for future battle?

    As rumours emanating, dont you think, it would be suicidal for AAP to form a govt with support of Congress ?
    What can the party do increase the footprints in places where the opposition, be it in states like Tamil Nadu, Orissa, MP, Rajasthan, Gujarat etc is going to be non-exstent ?

    Thanks and awaiting for your reply as per your convenience..

    Balaji Muralidharan

    • Siddharth Varadarajan
      May 18, 2014

      Your questions require an article to answer them and that is what I shall do this week!

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