Categories for Dilip Simeon

The Sinner and the Saint

This essay in the history of ideas traces the trajectory of Islamic militancy and its implications for modern politics, including the so‑called global war on terror, nicknamed GWOT by the author. Written from a South Asian perspective, it is a healthy antidote to the instrumentalist discourse that addresses the issue from the standpoint of Western… View Article

Our Fractured Conscience

Is it of the very essence of truth to be impotent and of the very essence of power to be deceitful? And what kind of reality does truth possess if it is powerless in the public realm? : Hannah Arendt, in Truth and Politics Public opinion is now debating the death penalty awarded to Afzal Guru in… View Article

Out of the Shadow

The Great War and Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell is one of the most profound books of the twentieth century. Written in 1975, it reviews the literature and sensibilities produced by the First World War, that cost nearly 20 million lives. It tells us urgent truths about modernity’s obsession with territorial boundaries, enemies and ‘selfless’… View Article

A White Line and A Mosque

In the year of grace 1989 I visited the Wagah border with a friend. It was evening, time for the lowering of flags, for the BSF and Pakistan Rangers to perform their beautifully choreographed ceremony with goose-steps and challenging gestures. I saw coolies, uniformed men and tourists look at each other with friendly curiosity, children… View Article

The Futility of Common Sense: An Essay on Ahimsa

Upon hearing that I was to be the advisor for a documentary film on non-violence, one of my respected erstwhile teachers remarked that it was “the richest irony”. He had good cause to say so. In my student days I was convinced that the only way any real social and political change could be brought… View Article

The Twenty – First Century: The End of History or the Beginning of Transformation?

1. Introduction The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War are events of great magnitude. Because we are living through them, many of us do not appreciate fully the significance of what has happened – but as the new century unfolds it will become clearer. For certain liberal intellectuals these… View Article

A Finer Balance: An Essay on the Possibility of Reconciliation

Introduction I begin this address by a simple reflection on the key words in the title of this symposium – truth, justice, reconciliation. They mean a great deal to me intellectually and emotionally, and they are always accompanied by a question mark – is there any such thing as truth, will there ever be a… View Article

The Enemy System

He (Pontius Pilate) took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying ‘I am innocent of the blood of this man, see to it yourselves.. And all the people answered, ‘ His blood be on us and on our children’! “(Bible, Mathew’s Gospel) “No law in the world punishes a son for the crime… View Article

The Mirror of History

The Mirror of History   The history of the Indian sub-continent over the past century unfolds like the chapters of a chronicle of civil war. India was partitioned, the partitioned segment was re-partitioned. “Internal enemies” were identified and massacres unleashed – the list of victims runs into millions and affects every major community. Communal myths… View Article

The Brains of the Living: A Discussion on Political Violence

NB: This is a revised version of a paper presented to a seminar in Patna in April 2003, under the auspices of Oxfam’s Violence Mitigation and Amelioration Project; and again, at a seminar at the Indian Social Institute on September 4, 2003. It contains material from earlier articles including Out of the Shadow (Communalism Combat,… View Article