Stories about Congress

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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Thank you, Modi, for proving that partition saved the subcontinent’s Muslims from extinction

Dear Mr Narendra Modi, I was not at all surprised that your party, Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP), swept the recent Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections. You ran your campaign on an anti-Muslim platform, you convinced most of the UP Hindus that Muslims in their state are Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents and that Muslims would not vote for your party, therefore they voted en masse for BJP. In fact, to appear anti-Muslim, you did not field a single Muslim candidate despite the notion that there are more than 40 million Muslims in UP! So, in spite of the Muslim population of UP being over 20% of the total population, the ...

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Back to Obama

Friday night, America and the world said goodbye to an era that we have known for eight years, the presidency of Barack Obama. Giving way to a radically different and unorthodox presidency, which makes the change all the heavier. As we ponder over the inauguration of Donald Trump, let us look back and see how the eight years of the Obama administration have been, what he has done and what he has accomplished, and figure out what his legacy will be. Obama presided over America during one of the tougher periods in its history. The previous eight years, namely George ...

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Will Hillary Clinton be another George Bush? Probably!

Donald Trump’s heavy tread has swept the path clear for liberals of all stripes to present or reinforce their creds by giving him a sustained, collective bashing. While he has succeeded in getting all guns to turn on him, his gleeful opponent seems to be getting off scot-free. It is perhaps time to wonder what sort of president Hillary might be, if elected. Unless Donald pulls a last-minute rabbit out of his ear, Hillary is liable to return to the White House, this time on the arm of the First Gentleman whose dubious comportment record will always haunt the ...

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Give up Modi, the US will never be on your side

Last month, a US petition to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism gained serious momentum. Having crossed the 100,000 signature threshold, the issue now awaits addressing by the Obama administration. The question then begs to be answered: is or has Pakistan been a state sponsor of terrorism in its checkered past? With all due respect and within all my patriotic sensibilities, I believe the answer to be possibly – nay, probably – yes. For as long as I can remember covering South Asian politics, Pakistan has been on the hook for spending nights in bed with the Americans with quickie afternoon siestas with home grown extremist groups. ...

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When did Pakistan change from being a liberal country to a fundamentalist one?

When and how did Pakistan go from being a moderate Muslim majority country to a fundamentalist society within a relatively short span of time and is this trend irreversible? Pakistan emerged out of a Muslim nationalist movement organised around the group identity of the Muslims of British India. It was led not by cultural relativists in flowing robes, but by modern Muslim men and women, most of whom felt that they could reconcile their faith with modernity. Jinnah’s objectives in any event were to create a united Muslim voting bloc within united India and his demand for a Muslim majority ...

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Who was Jinnah, an Islamic cultural relativist or a brown sahib?

There are two bar rooms in the Lahore High Court. One is considered the bar room of left liberals and progressives. The other bar room, much bigger of the two, is the favourite haunt of those with a tinge of religious right wing. The left leaning bar room has a photograph of an emaciated Mr Jinnah in a suit. The other one has a sombre portrait of him in a black sherwani and karakul cap. Next to his portrait is an equally serious portrait of Allama Iqbal.  In a poignant piece for Granta sometime ago New York Times journalist Jane ...

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Lashing out at Bangladesh for Moti ur Rahman’s hanging will not change history

On May 11, 2016, Bangladesh hanged Motiur Rahman Nizami, the 73-year-old leader of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. He was the leader of the militant group Al Badr. The searing irony of this saga is that Pakistan’s ruling elite in 1971 outsourced the safeguarding of Pakistani nationalism to unsavoury characters from the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing when Jamaat-e-Islami itself had opposed tooth and nail the creation of Pakistan just 24 years earlier in 1947. The brigands of Al Badr were launched by the Pakistani military against a Bengali population which had in 1947 stood unwaveringly with Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League in the Pakistan Movement. In 1965 the same ...

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If US and Cuba can do it, can Pakistan and India make peace with history?

“I know the history, but refuse to be trapped by it,” so said President Obama on his epically momentous trip to Cuba – the first by a sitting US president since 1928. Leaving behind Republican rhetoric, hate speech and fear-mongering, for two and a half days Obama managed to block the noise, break protocol and made an overarching effort to mend fences with the old enemy by walking the streets of Havana, addressing the people of Cuba and indulging in baseball diplomacy. This journey was long overdue, one that was destined to wash away bitter memories and intense rivalry between the two nations. It proved that if there is a will, there ...

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The problem with Vande Mataram and Hindu nationalism

There is a constant debate of whether Hindutva nationalism has mainstreamed in India or does it remain confined to the right-wing constituencies. Whatever may be the case, the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen MLA Waris Pathan’s suspension, through a unanimous nod, by the Maharashtra Assembly is an indication that there is a thin line between Hindutva nationalism and Indian nationalism. For now, Pathan remains suspended for the entire budget session until April 17, 2016; for exercising his right to not to speak certain things that he didn’t want to say, as guaranteed by the Indian constitution. In the double irony – which seems to have become a hallmark ...

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