sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

A New Delhi based broadcast journalist who reports on national and international affairs. He is a contributor to the Asia Pacific based magazine, The Diplomat. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier)

Why would India elect Yogi Adityanath as CM of Uttar Pradesh?

Is the expanding dominance of Narendra Modi on a national political landscape a reassuring sign for India as a nation? Can we, Indians, rest assured that the country is in the hands of an enlightened leadership who will strengthen the idea of India? The answer is a big no. Despite the electoral dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi’s overarching presence in Indian politics today, the plural democracy has never looked as vulnerable in independent India as it looks today. How will one explain the anointment of Yogi Adityanath, a rabid sectarian figure, as the chief minister (CM) of Uttar ...

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The conundrum that is Hafiz Saeed

Is Pakistan trying to assert itself against non-state actors by putting Hafiz Saeed under house arrest? Is this what the government in Islamabad wants the world to believe? Whatever the case may be, the timing of Saeed’s house arrest questions the government’s assertion. Media reports both in Pakistan and outside feel that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) regime in Islamabad acted either under the influence and fear of the new ruler in Washington or it buckled under Beijing’s pressure. #BREAKING: Terrorist Hafiz Saeed releases video after he was put in house arrest, claims Modi-Trump friendship led to action against him. pic.twitter.com/V5qYI4FTWC — ...

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Arresting 12 people for not standing for the national anthem is very alarming, India

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chain” This famous line from The Social Contract, a powerful treatise written by the 18th century French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, was an attack on the prevailing monarchical system in Europe. The book played an inspiring role in the French revolution while establishing individuals as a sovereign entity. Today, it is the same sovereignty of the individual which is under siege in democratic India. Currently, the political leadership is trying to contain individual freedom and intrude into the sovereign rights of the citizens in the name of nationalism and patriotism. The latest ruling of the Supreme ...

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India: The surgical strike has damaged us more than you, Pakistan

We don’t know the truth behind the surgical operation. Pakistan denies any kind of extraordinary military intervention in its territory. On the other hand, India says it conducted an operation beyond the Line of Control (LoC). International media, however, takes a nuanced view of the whole affair, distancing itself from the passion that grips domestic media in India and Pakistan. Not long ago, in June 2015, India claimed to have conducted a surgical operation in Myanmar against the insurgent groups that allegedly killed 18 Indians soldiers in the North Eastern state of Manipur. Myanmar denied any such military strike inside ...

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Is Modi’s pride more important than Kashmiri lives?

It’s not a good sign for democracy when the government and media start speaking the same language and begin complimenting each other. The media has never been as compromised and irresponsible as it is today. It has forgotten its role as a fifth pillar of democracy, which plays a pivotal role in nation building. Today, the larger media in India is a polarised institution, accentuating the existing social and religious fault lines rather than cementing it. The larger blame falls on televised media. In its desperate attempts to attract attention and increase ratings, the media literally plays to the gallery appealing to the baser ...

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Afghanistan-Pakistan-India: A Paradigm Shift: Understanding South Asia from the eyes of an ambassador

When a serving ambassador writes a book, it reflects not only an individual’s observations, but also mirrors the larger thought of the government or the country that he represents. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Afghan ambassador in India, is a rare breed of a diplomat, who has tried to delve into topical issues affecting South Asia. His book, Afghanistan-Pakistan-India: A Paradigm Shift, is an attempt to enter the terrain which occupies the mind space of many. However, not many understand the trajectories of the territory. The book comes at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan are high. Both countries are also ...

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The Kashmir issue has proven that Pakistan and India refuse to learn from history

The pot and the kettle are calling each other black. The truth is that they’re both black – and neither of them is willing to accept it; just like India and Pakistan. New Delhi holds Pakistan responsible for spreading terrorism in its territory and Islamabad claims vice versa. India is not willing to accept its faults in Jammu and Kashmir and alleges that the Islamic Republic is solely responsible for the trouble in the valley. Pakistan, on the other hand, says that the cry for freedom in Kashmir should not be equated with terrorism; the Islamic republic itself is a victim of terrorism and is as ...

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In India, a dead cow is more precious than the life of a Dalit or Muslim

An image can be a commentary on the state of affairs. The image of the four Dalit men stripped down and beaten with sticks for trying to skin a dead cow, by the alleged Hindu fanatic group in Una – a town in the western Indian state of Gujarat – narrates a very sorry state of affairs for India today. Members of Gau Rakshak Sena (Cow Protection Army) not only humiliated the members of the socially marginalised Dalit community, but, in a brazen manner, they made a video of the whole episode to show off their temerity to act without fear. ...

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India has failed Kashmir, again

The Kashmir situation highlights the limit of Indian democracy and the paranoia of its leadership. It shows how blind nationalism, uninformed by historical knowledge, can damage the cause of democracy and expose the vulnerability of the Indian state. As a result, the bleeding valley exposes not only the suffering of the Kashmiri people; but also the malaise that affects the biggest democracy in South Asia. How can we explain peoples’ anger over Indian security personnel killing the Hizbul Mujahideen leader, Burhan Wani? There is no doubt that the path the young Wani chose would have culminated in a violent death. But how does one explain his popularity among ...

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Is India making the same mistake Pakistan made by allying with the US?

The post-colonial history tells us that Uncle Sam has been more of a destabiliser than a divine presence in the region. Pakistan has been a close ally of the US since the 50s. But has the Islamic country been a real beneficiary by playing the western world’s game in South Asia? In its blind desire to get military parity with India and neutralise the existential threat from its eastern neighbour, Islamabad became a front for Washington in the NATO’s war against communist Soviet Russia. As a result, Pakistan, a newly born country, lost its strategic autonomy quite early in its life and became a pawn in the larger game ...

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