Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Allah Debate (Malaysia) - here we go again!

Incredibly, the so-called Allah controversy is back in Malaysia! 

Here is what I wrote about it when it first surfaced back in early 2010:

And here's a more scholarly look at the issue, published Oct 14 and pointing out, pertinently, that Christians throughout the Middle East pray to Allah without any outcry from the predominantly Muslim populations in these countries:

(The Oct 14 article, published in The National, does not give the name of the author.) 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dark is Beautiful: Shah Rukh Khan, Let's Be Fair

Dark is Beautiful: Shah Rukh Khan, Let's Be Fair: By Pamposh Dhar | Dark is Beautiful campaigner We are bombarded by print ads and TV commercials all day long. So much so that we hardl...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Launch in Singapore!

From Partition to Operation Bluestar: Tales of a Journalist, Bureaucrat, Spy- by Som Nath Dhar

To be released at a book launch at the Singapore Management University by Prof. Kirpal Singh, Director, Wee Kim Wee Centre, on 3 April 2013.

And the book is now available in bookshops in Singapore, as well as in India; through several online stores in India; and through internationally.

Monday, March 4, 2013

I welcome genuine comments, not spam!

I am sorry I get so few comments on this and other blogs now that so much of the action has shifted to facebook! But I'm not desperate enough to publish spam thinly designed as a comment.

I moderate comments on this blog and do not publish such obvious spam as the following comments, all of which end with a request to visit another blog:

- I really appreciate the information here... pls also visit my blog xxx.
- I like your blog, do you face xxx problem (something technical)... btw, pls visit my blog yyy.
- I appreciate your recommendation. Let me try it. Now visit my blog...
etc etc

But if I had to give a prize to the weirdest one it would be the one praising the audio features on this blog! Those would be the non-existent audio features, ha ha.

So, please do share your ideas, opinions and genuine comments - even questions, if you have any, but don't make blandly, obviously generic comments followed by a url!!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Partition to Bluestar - availability UPDATE!

From Partition to Operation Bluestar: Tales of a Journalist, Bureaucrat, Spy
- by Som Nath Dhar

Available in bookstores all over INDIA and SINGAPORE!

In all major bookshops in several Indian metros and cities.

As of 1 April, also available in Singapore stores:
Kinokuniya (Orchard), Times bookshop in Tampines 1, airport bookshops, MPH stores throughout the city...

Book launch in Singapore on 3 April. 

A friend who just received his copy from an online store in India sent in this picture:



In North America

In India

The publisher's website
Harper Collins India

Friday, January 18, 2013

NEW BOOK - Reader-friendly, journalistic view of modern Indian history

An excellent book - OK I'm just a little bit prejudiced because it's written by my father! :) But it really is a wonderful book, very readable, very interesting, kind of a personal view of Indian history from the partition of the country into India and Pakistan (1946) until the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1984).

- By Som Nath Dhar
published by Harper Collins India
ISBN: 9789350293775

Available in India through the flipkart and stackkart online stores; and will be in Indian bookstore very soon. Available in Singapore through me! Email me:



An engrossing, personal view of the public events that have shaped India's recent history 

From Partition to Operation Bluestar provides an engrossing, personal view of the public events that have shaped India's recent history, written by a man who had a ringside view of these.

As we follow Som Nath Dhar's career in journalism, government and the world of covert intelligence, the book transports us from pre-Partition Punjab to Delhi and Kashmir, with side trips to East Africa and Europe.

Dhar writes in a compelling, journalistic style about the turbulence of Partition; the heady experience of working closely with India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru; the dramatic events leading up to the 1947 invasion and accession of Kashmir; and later developments such as Indira Gandhi's accession to power, her fall from grace and eventual return to power, and much else.

Full of charming anecdotes, the book deepens our understanding of recent Indian history and provides insights into the character of many of the personalities who shaped it.


Som Nath Dhar started his career as a journalist in Lahore in 1946. He moved to Delhi in 1947 and was part of Jawaharlal Nehru's staff for a few months, after which he returned to journalism, this time as a radio reporter. He went on to work in the government's Central Information Service (now called the Indian Information Service), and later as a diplomat and as an intelligence officer. He ended his career in government as director of news, All India Radio. After retirement, he taught for five years as head of department at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Visit to Delhi

For once, I visited Delhi at the perfect time of year, just before the heat and dust descended. In late March, I was able to enjoy the green trees, with the leaves shining in the sunlight and swaying gently in the breeze, the cool evenings, the nicely sunny days. It was lovely.

Not only that, but I also got to meet up with relatives and dear old friends. Fantastic Kashmiri meals fed to me by aunts and cousins, and long leisurely evenings spent in the company of good friends.

In many ways, it was such a great time…

But a couple of things kept intruding. One, the habit several Indians have of blindly defending everything that happens in India against all “foreign-dwellers.” I am a traitor for living outside India – on top of that, I dare to criticize some things Indian!

So when I’m critical of an hour-long traffic jam over a half-mile stretch of road for no apparent reason, I’m reminded that New York, too, has jams. Hey? So? Does that explain why it took us 65 minutes to cover this tiny stretch of road, where there was no accident or any other visible cause for a jam? No, not that there were too many vehicles either. But, yes, there is no traffic light there and no good human regulators of traffic – though we did see a few cops milling about. Heaven forbid we should regulate ourselves – forget it, don’t you know we are Indian? We don’t bother with such things as self-discipline or cooperation.

I had to extend my stay in Delhi by a week because of the numerous public holidays – Mahavir Jayanti, year-end closing, Good Friday, the day AFTER municiple elections, and on and on. In the old days, India had a whole lot of “restricted holidays” – each individual chose the holidays they wanted to take but there was a cap on the total number. When I ask if that concept has now been jettisoned, I’m told everything is shut for 10 days over Christmas in Western countries. Really? I’ve lived in two Catholic countries and this hasn’t been the case in either.

The second habit kicks in when the obviously indefensible comes up – like rape and the habit of blaming the victim more than the perpetrator. This habit is a bit harder to pin down – it looks like apathy, but sometimes I think it’s more distraction and a kind of nebulous fear. The truth is so awful that I think I won’t look at it. If I refuse to acknowledge it, perhaps it will never touch my life. Something like that. Perhaps.

Whatever it is, the end result is tolaerance of the indefensible. Yeah, things are bad, but have you checked out the latest mall in Delhi? Isn’t it as good as any in Singapore (which, incidentally, it is; if not better). And one phrase puts a stop to all discussion. “This is India, madam.” No, really, I thought it was Timbuktoo!