The Underside of Things

India and the World, A Citizen’s Miscellany, 2006-2011

First Edition

ISBN(s) 978-81-88789-85-6
Pub. Date August 2012
Pages xxii, 760
Dimensions 8.5 x 5.5 in.
Rights All Rights available
  India Elsewhere
Paperback 978-81-88789-85-6
₨. 850
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Badri Raina’s essays written over a period of six years hold a mirror to the neo-liberal world we live in. Focused on south Asia the essays straddle the world of politics, ideology and history. Rich in insight, information, and the range of issues covered, his essays describe contemporary India in the context of the growing inequalities and religious sectarianism that are essential facets of its neo-liberal present. Raina is scathing in his criticism of capitalism and imperialism, and the savagery of the home-grown fascism. His subjects include Hindu nationalism, Kashmir, the North East India, Pakistan, Nepal, the state of the Indian left and various resistance movements.

This book will be of immense use to all those who are interested in South Asian history and politics.


Editor’s Note


  1. Capital Punishment
  2. India and Nepal
  3. India, Nepal, and Left Praxis
  4. Back to a Better Version of Reform
  5. We the People
  6. Indian Muslims
  7. Vande Mataram
  8. The Last Straw: Women Among Religions
  9. Irom Sharmila
  10. Sachar Committee Report on Indian Muslims
  11. The Saddam Murder


  1. Is Independence a Viable Option for Jammu & Kashmir?
  2. The Meaning of Modi
  3. Kashmir Calling
  4. Hanging the Corrupt by the Lamppost
  5. Parvenu Nationalism
  6. Nandigram and the Left
  7. Kashmir Revisited
  8. The Moral Highs of India’s ‘Cultural Nationalists’
  9. The Year of the Indian Diet of Worms?
  10. Pet Panacea of India’s Ruling Classes
  11. New Ringtones from Condy Rice
  12. Vedic Mantra in the American Senate
  13. Teach Them Not to Think
  14. Indian State on Trial
  15. The Unacceptable Excesses of Irreligion
  16. India’s American Dream
  17. State of the Nation
  18. Quiet Flows the Gutter Paved with Gold
  19. Right-Wing Constructions of God
  20. Deal or Democracy?
  21. Gujarat 2002
  22. Reading Nandigram
  23. Communalism and Terrorism
  24. Gujarat: The Face of India’s Misbegotten Modernity


  1. Essentialising Pakistan
  2. The Treacheries of Words
  3. On Pakistan Elections
  4. Fascists Attack the Communist Party Office
  5. Salwa Judum
  6. Cricket as Surrogate Kill
  7. Anti-Globalist Zeitgeist
  8. The State, the Seminaries, and the People of India
  9. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul
  10. Fatwa Against Terrorism
  11. The Chieftain State of Gujarat
  12. Three Men in a Quandary
  13. India’s Roughshod Ruling Class
  14. Georgia and the End of Unilateralism
  15. Conversions
  16. Fighting Terror the Terrorist Way
  17. Sweet Time For the Left in India
  18. India’s Failed Secularism
  19. Simplicities
  20. Notions of the Nation
  21. Hindu Terrorism
  22. The Quest for Purity
  23. Enough is Enough
  24. India’s Long But Sure Revolution
  25. India’s 2009 Election


  1. Omar Abdullah
  2. Satyam
  3. Germany, 1933 / Gujarat, 2009
  4. The High-Minded Illiteracy of the Indian Elite
  5. The Spectacular Return of Gandhi’s Spectacles
  6. India’s Democracy Challenged
  7. Capitalism is Dead, Long Live Capitalism
  8. The Pakistan Problem
  9. The Pakistan Problem – II
  10. L.K. Advani
  11. Verdict 2009
  12. Indians Down Under
  13. India And Europe
  14. Lalgarh
  15. Bharatiya Janata Party
  16. Some Notes from My Visit to Kozhikode
  17. Judge Not the Judge, or Thou Shalt Be Judged
  18. For Aung San Suu Kyi
  19. The Democracy Flu
  20. Something Rotten in the State of Gujarat
  21. Old Habits Die Very Hard
  22. Gandhi at the Service of Mont Blanc
  23. India’s Left-Wing Extremism
  24. Does Ideology Matter?
  25. Carting Off Medical Institute to Corporate Predators
  26. The Liberhan Report
  27. L.K. Advani and the Mythology of ‘Sadness’


  1. A Future India Must Do Without
  2. Why do Extremes Unsettle Our Comfortable Middle Ground?
  3. A Tale of Two Chief Ministers
  4. You the Fascists, We the People
  5. India, Australia
  6. Too Small A Country for One Great Artist
  7. A Parliament of Women as Much as of Men
  8. Women’s Reservation Bill
  9. Troubled Times for Advani & Modi
  10. Destitution
  11. Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Corruptest of them All?
  12. Rewriting Proverbs
  13. Return to the People What is the People’s
  14. Crunch Time for India
  15. The Zionist State at it Again
  16. India, America, Israel
  17. India’s Globalised ‘Godmen’
  18. Capital’s Surge, Custom’s Dike
  19. Food or Nutrition?
  20. GDP vs GDP
  21. The Nation at Stake
  22. Kashmir Now Or Never
  23. What a Piece of Work is Man
  24. We Abuse Ram When We Spill Blood in His Name
  25. The Ayodhya Verdict
  26. An Open Letter to Ten Percent India, Myself Included
  27. Eminences of the Bench
  28. Corruption Makes Neo-Liberalism Go


  1. Binayak Sen Sentenced to Life Term
  2. Isn’t Dissent the Essence of Democracy?
  3. Pigeonholing Gandhi
  4. Modi vs the Constitution
  5. Thus Conscience Can Make Good Indians of Us All
  6. The Intimate Zone
  7. Communalism Bad, Development Good
  8. The State of the Left
  9. What is a Temple Minus the Moolah?
  10. Corruption: A Heady Brew
  11. Parliament and the Anna Putsch
  12. The Real Agenda?
  13. Those That Rule Above and Beyond
  14. The Abject Desperation of the Right Wing
  15. Endgame in Gujarat?
  16. I am the Electronic Media
  17. As the Murdered Come Alive in Gujarat
  18. Is Pakistan Coming Full Circle?
  19. Just Why Did God Create Us?

Selected non-Znet Essays by Badri Raina

Cover: Coin Gallery by Sudhir Patwardhan. Charcoal on paper. 2008. Image courtesy of the artist.


Badri Raina is an acute, eloquent and prolific observer of contemporary India.

— Harsh Mander

These are essays you want to read.

— P Sainath

Raina grips his pen with ferocious precision.

— Vijay Prashad

From politics to poetry and from communalism to cricket – Badri writes on these subjects, and more, with empathy, understanding and, always, a strikingly original point of view.

— Ramchandra Guha

Badri’s writings are testimonies of what we always naturally shared in this subcontinent, and, extending far beyond it, on this, our planet earth. One feels deep respect for the ambience and the milieu that shaped and formed his heart and mind.

— Fahmida Riaz

His humanism is too imaginative, authentic and articulate to be set aside with customary indifference.

— Agha Ashraf Ali

I couldn’t imagine trying to understand South Asia without his help, and can’t remember how I did before I encountered his writing.

— Justin Podur

About Badri Raina Read full profile ›

Badri Raina is a well-known commentator on politics, culture and society. His columns on the Znet have a global following. Raina taught English literature at the University of Delhi for over four decades and is the author of the much acclaimed... Read more

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