If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat. — Douglas Adams

All Eyes on Buffalo Nation

If you are standing up at this moment in time, sit down. If you suffer from a heart ailment, stop reading. We begin The Filter today with sensational breaking news.

Let Indian Cities Grow Tall

The consequence of severe building height restrictions is urban sprawl. They result in longer commutes and greater reliance on a car and private-vehicle based pattern of commuting. FSI restrictions also increase the cost of real estate, by restricting supply.

Reclaim the Sky

Mumbai is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and one of the reasons is that there is too little land and too much sky. Alex Tabarrok joins Amit Varma in Episode 11 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss Mumbai’s insanely low Floor Space Index (FSI), a key reason why real estate here is at such a premium.

The Nationalism of an Idea

The whole point of Indian pluralism is you can be many things and one thing: you can be a good Muslim, a good Keralite and a good Indian all at once. The Indian idea is the opposite of what Freudians call “the narcissism of minor differences”; in India, we celebrate the commonality of major differences.


Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship. — BR Ambedkar


Statism is not the road to Socialism. It is the way to authoritarianism at the top and serfdom at the bottom. — C Rajagopalachari


How can our country ever hope to take her place among the nations of the world, if we allow large numbers of our countrymen to remain sunk in ignorance, barbarism, and degradation? — GK Gokhale


You cannot be liberal by halves. You cannot be liberal in politics and conservative in religion. The heart and the head must go together. — Mahadev Govind Ranade

Divert Funds From IITs to State Universities

The union government should divert budgetary support from established IITs & NITs to ailing state universities. IITs and NITs, in turn, must raise funding from alternate sources – alumni, foreign university collaboration, industry partnerships, increase in fees, etc.

That Old 70s Formula

Modi’s ‘development agenda’ has regressed from the far-sighted one of 2014 to the old populist tropes of past decades.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Big Brother is watching you, and you have no protection. There has been much hype about how ‘Digital India’ will transform our lives, but there are unseen elements to it that should make you worry. Devangshu Datta joins Amit Varma in Episode 10 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss why it is so alarming that there are no laws in India to protect privacy and defend against data theft.

We Reap What We Sow

We need to change the way we run our politics and government; we need to accelerate economic growth; and we need to enable all sections to enjoy our liberty and prosperity. Changes in technology happen swiftly, and often conquer all barriers and change lives instantly. But changes in laws and institutions are more uneven and halting.


Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. — Pericles