Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Raja of Nanpara and his daily Scotch

Rajesh Kochhar

The personal staff of the Raja of Nanpara, in the 1920s and 1930s,  would surely  have voted the Raja as the Best  Ever Employer. Nanpara was a big taluqdari in the Bahraich district which yielded a monthly income of two lakh rupees to the Pathan ruler who carried the hereditary title of Raja. The Lucknow-based Raja was paranoid about his life; he lived with the constant fear that his enemies would poison him. At the dining table, he would, at the last moment, exchange his plate, with somebody else.

The Raja was fond of his daily Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch whiskey. To be on the safe side, he would take just one peg from a bottle. Each peg had to come from a newly opened bottled. Fortunately, his personal staff in general had no problem in finishing off the remaining contents of the bottle!

Source: Hamied, KA (1972) An Autobiography: A Life to Remember ( Bombay: Lalvani Publishing House), pp. 69-70.

Why Indian varsities lag behind

Rajesh Kochhar

Power Politics, January 2016

It is a matter of deep regret that even 60 years after Independence, India is not able to evaluate its own academic performance.
In 1901, when J. C. Bose was making waves in Europe with lectures on the path-breaking experimental research in radio physics that he had carried out in Calcutta, Rabindranath Tagore gushingly wrote that Bose was God’s instrument in removing India’s shame. In the heyday of colonialism, it would not have crossed Tagore’s mind, or anybody else’s, as to why God could not deal directly with India. A century later, India is still desperately looking up to the West to mitigate its sense of inadequacy.

For full essay, see