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It was the year 1961. I had entered the California Institute of Technology as a graduate student and a JRD Tata Fellow. That great institution of learning had a large number of programs to make the foreign students feel at home and savor a taste of American life.

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On the day India achieved freedom from century-old British rule, Independent India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said the task at hand was “incessant striving” for the future. “That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world ..."

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Sonia Gandhi on Saturday once again took the reins of the main opposition Congress party, replacing her son Rahul, who stepped down after a second straight election drubbing by right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


Many analysts say that Mr. Modi’s image — recently dented by slowing economic growth and allegations that the governing party had suppressed a report showing a 45-year high in unemployment — has recovered since a military confrontation between India and Pakistan, and has perhaps even strengthened ahead of the vote.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has always been considered the natural heir to the Congress party’s legacy. But now the 47-year-old mother of two has been brought in the forefront. Her appointment as the secretary of eastern Uttar Pradesh has raised speculations about her role in the party and her ability to change the fortunes of the Congress party in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.