Stories published in April, 2017

One day, you’ll know

The black wheelchair rolls on the newly swept marble floor, clean as a mirror, reflecting all the dreams that died away, He sits by the caged window, watching the shadows lengthen as his children grow, A fragile grey hand moves with the wind, uncontrollable, making the sacred last letter impossible, He watches the dust settle on the cold bed, the grey waves of light enter from the window, a burden, making him regret his existence.  The seed of love, planted with the youth of his hands into the ground of birth, now matured; a shadow, an image, invisible, Blue and cuffed, the eyes, a war zone, soldiers battling against the inevitable ...

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Why Yogi Adityanath’s decision to prune official holidays should be applauded

One of the most contentious political appointments in India in recent times has been the elevation of Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), the country’s most populous and politically significant state. After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) emphatic victory in the recent assembly elections, there was prolonged suspense over who would ultimately get the coveted position. There were a number of strong candidates, and though Adityanath’s name was in the fray, he certainly was not the front-runner. The announcement therefore took a lot of people completely by surprise. Surprise would actually be a bit of an understatement given the kind of ...

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Using a civilian as a human shield and curbing freedom of expression, clearly India doesn’t care about Kashmir

The Indian army’s former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Northern Command, Lieutenant General Harcharanjit Singh Panag was nastily trolled on social media recently. The reason for this was because he expressed his outrage over the Indian army’s act of using a Kashmiri civilian as a literal ‘human shield’. Farooq Ahmed Dar, 26-years-old, was tied to a vehicle to protect the army personnel from stone pelting in Indian-held Kashmir’s Budgam district on April 13, 2017. Kashmiri boy tied infront of vehicle by Indian army used as human shield. Where r the Indian media, failed cricketers & HR groups. #Kashmir pic.twitter.com/uqhjtkE0o5 — Ayaan Maqsood (@ayaanmaqsood) April ...

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Remembering Dr Wahidur Rehman: Will tender hearts always be easy targets?

The compassionate souls who put eternity to effect; the nurturing spirits whose influence meets no end, yes, it is a tale as old as time. The enlivening faith in the pursuit ‘teachers are healers of the nation’; they preach to humanity the disciplines of wisdom and intellect, and bestow the power to transform hearts. Not only are they the shapers of society, but they also leave behind a legacy of shared love and life. Teachers have always been greatly revered in every society and with this come the heart-clenching bitter reality of the persecution of remarkable teachers, intellectuals and scientists. Those ...

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What kind of Naya Pakistan do Imran Khan and PTI have in mind exactly?

A lot has happened in the last few days. The much awaited “historic” verdict of the number one obsession of Pakistani TV anchors, Pakistan’s chattering white collar urban middle classes, and their favourite political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), finally arrived. When the news came that a joint investigating team (JIT) had been formed to investigate the corruption of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I contacted a famous journalist whom I have the privilege of knowing and expressed my frustration that this nonsense would drag further. His reply was: “Well, in a country where there is no entertainment, such things fill the gap!” He could ...

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Are you ready for the eye-candy and action galore that is Kingsman: The Golden Circle?

Ever since the two World Wars, the spy-thriller genre has been a staple of the film industry. Your typical espionage movie can range anywhere from the super serious à la ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ and ‘Munich’, to crazy laugh riots like ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘Spy Hard’. However, James Bond unarguably turned out to be the most famous one of the lot. One reason why the whole ‘007’ series was such a rip roaring success from the get-go was the fact that it was neither too grim nor was it too comical; it was a perfect blend of both the extremes. So when they started producing our favourite British spy ...

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India’s problem is not Pakistan; India’s problem is India

A self-confessed Indian spy was caught in Pakistan to be sentenced to death, so some people in Mumbai went to an apparel outlet and stomped on clothes that were made in Pakistan. Sometimes, facts can be more absurd than fiction. The store, the ever popular Zara, that carries clothes made in multiple countries, was accosted by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Hindu hardliners and Indian nationalists all in one, the party is known to take extreme stances on multiple issues concerning Muslims, cows, Pakistan, etcetera. The violence that the party usually propagates is interestingly in direct contrast with the glossy image India reflects to the world; the land of breakthrough ...

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Noor: Another movie that proves book adaptations never work out

Perhaps the notion that ‘no movie can come close to its book’ holds true for all movies and especially so for the recently released, ‘Noor’. The movie, adapted from Saba Imtiaz’s novel ‘Karachi, You’re Killing Me!’ narrates the life of Noor Roy Chaudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) who dreams of making it big in the field of journalism. Her big, round glasses may make her look nerdy but her acting is just average. Noor has spent most of her career covering small and insignificant events but she dreams big; she aspires to cover a story so spectacular that it would transform her status as a reporter. ...

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Virat Kohli gifting Shahid Afridi a jersey proves that cricket transcends boundaries

The thing about sports is that it is always at the mercy of politics. However, individuals always find a way out. It is hard to believe but Indian and Pakistani cricketers don’t really get involved in slanging matches off the field, although between players from India and Australia, it is a possibility these days. So when we hear that Virat Kohli and the Indian cricket team gifted Shahid Afridi a jersey as a farewell gift on his retirement, it was a gesture that even the tough-to-please Twitterati applauded. “To Shahid Bhai best wishes, always a pleasure playing against you,” wrote the Indian ...

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India prides itself as a tolerant and multi-ethnic state, but is it really?

Recently, India has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Over the past three years, after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in a landslide, India has witnessed increased religious intolerance.  Beef has constantly been politicised and electoral rhetoric has constantly used the communal card to pull voters. During the Uttar Pardesh (UP) elections, communal rhetoric was couched in an extremely hateful language, and in the end, BJP chose a fire brand anti-Muslim to lead as the chief minister, despite the fact that it had other alternatives. After his elections, and despite his attempt to tame down hardliners, the law and order situation in ...

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