Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Time Asia recently published an article on the President of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, which pointed out, amongst other things, that he seemed, at various times and in various contexts: 1) "shaky and lost, less an aging sage than an ordinary old man"; 2) "confused and inattentive"; 3) "half dead"; and 4) to have trouble understanding questions and to stumble over his replies. This wouldn't be quite so interesting if he didn't have his finger over the nuclear button (in fact, there hasn't been such a decrepit old man in such a position since the days of Ronald Reagan, but I hasten to add that there is no evidence that Vajpayee is in anything like the terrible mental condition that Reagan was in). The article has caused some consternation in India, has led to some official responses, and has even led to some questioning regarding the writer's visa situation in India. The writer, Alex Perry, is keeping a low profile.