News Demonstrators gather near effigies representing the convicted rapists during a protest in New Delhi in December 2013; the case of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student who was gang-raped caused a lot of anger in the country. The story of a new gun named after the victim has been met with horror and anger from millions across India

Activists call the revolver an abhorrence to the student's memory

India's fascism wears a mask like Churchill

The decline of Congress has paved the way for Hindu nationalists, finds Peter Popham - unless the Gandhi name can work its magic

The black heart of Indian politics

TWO DAYS before polling begins in the world's biggest election, there is little doubt about the most important issue - and it is nothing to do with policies. It is the infestation of Indian politics by criminals.

Obituary: Attia Hosain

Attia Hosain, writer: born Lucknow, India 20 October 1913; married Ali Bahadur Habibullah (one son, one daughter); died London 23 January 1998.

Sonia Gandhi rejects plea to fight elections

The office of Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of the former Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi, said yesterday that she would not contest forthcoming elections.

Sonia Gandhi keeps India guessing

With an election looming, all eyes are on the Italian-born wife of a former prime minister, writes Peter Popham

Obituary: Muqimuddin Farooqi

Muqimuddin Farooqi, party activist: born Ambetha, Uttar Pradesh, India 1920; joined Communist Party of India (CPI) 1940, member, national council 1958, central executive 1972, central secretariat 1981; married Vimla Kapoor (one son); died New Delhi 3 September 1997.

TODAY'S TELEVISION

You've got to admit that cosmologist Stephen Hawking is a pretty extraordinary man. I don't mean in the accepted sense of genius - I have no idea whether or not the author of A Brief History of Time should be taken at his own estimation as the spiritual heir to Galileo and Isaac Newton. I mean in the shallower sense that he has got to be by far the most disabled man to have fronted a major TV series.

Through bandit country on the magic bus

Best Discovery

Once a bandit ...

Phoolan Devi, India's 'Bandit Queen', is in trouble again. But this time, as she hears herself accused of murder, she is sitting in a seat in parliament.

Bandit Queen takes to the road again

India's notorious Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi, is on the run again. The former outlaw, elected as a member of parliament from Mirzapur last year, went missing last week after mass murder, kidnapping and robbery charges against her were revived and her petition for advance bail was turned down.

India looks to Taj Mahal

India's Supreme Court, cracking down on chemical and carbon fumes threatening the Taj Mahal, ordered almost 300 coal-based industries in its vicinity to close by the end of 1997.

Foreign Office forced to rethink policy on Britons in distress

The Isherwood family were on their first foreign holiday. On the grassy verge beside a quiet road on the Greek island of Crete, Howard Isherwood pushed his four-year-old son, David, in a buggy, as his wife, Joan, walked beside them with their other son, Andrew, nine.

Books: Mutineers without bounty

Frank McLynn reviews a sober account of the bloodlust that characterise d the Indian Mutiny; Our Bones are Scattered: The Cawnpore Massacres and the Indian Mutiny of 1857 by Andrew Ward John Murray, pounds 25

Book review / Stabbing the serpent

I, Phoolan Devi by Phoolan Devi, Little, Brown, pounds 18.99

India creaks as Congress falls apart

This week's poll result leaves the world's largest democracy politicall y unstable, says James Chiriyankandath
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