Ayush Khanna

Ayush Khanna

The author is an Environmental Engineer from Bengaluru, India. He writes on history, economics and socio-political issues. He tweets @AyushyaKhanna (twitter.com/AyushyaKhanna)

The fall of a dynasty: Does Congress still have a future in Indian politics?

As the results of the General Election tumbled in a week ago, concern gave way to questions among the more sceptical. What will this brute majority portend for India? Will we see a ramping up of religious rhetoric and a stronger push for a Hindu Rashtra? Will we see the process of undermining institutions continue? Will we keep witnessing the derision of experts, leading to disastrous policy decisions like demonetisation? And so on. One of the most important questions that emerged from this result, however, is about India’s opposition parties, particularly the Indian National Congress (INC). What does the Congress do ...

Read Full Post

Can India really lecture Pakistan on secularism?

In what is almost certainly a first, the Indian army chief has found it prudent to lecture another country on how its state ought to function. While this may be a first, it sadly doesn’t come as a surprise. Institutions in India in the time of Narendra Modi are in disarray. Those that should assert themselves are being asserted upon – like the Election Commission of India, the Reserve Bank of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation and so on – while those institutions that should properly mind their own business feel like they now have the space to ...

Read Full Post

India’s problem isn’t Imran Khan, but its own media

Of all the Pakistani celebrities India is familiar with, Imran Khan has been the most recognisable and for a time, the most popular. As an extremely talented and good-looking World Cup winning captain, Imran has been a byword for leadership and charisma in the subcontinent. Indeed, in the 80s, Imran appeared in several Indian advertisements endorsing products like Cinthol and Thumbs Up. The improbability of a Pakistani advertising for an Indian brand today points to the tragic deterioration in relations since then, but it also points to the popularity Imran enjoyed among Indians once. 1987 :: Cinthol Soap Advertisement Featuring Imran Khan "Pace ...

Read Full Post

Rahul Gandhi pulled a Modi, but what does it signify?

The Indian parliament witnessed an unusual scene that has become the talking point of the recent no-confidence motion initiated by the opposition against the Narendra Modi government. On Friday, after making his speech against the government, Rahul Gandhi surprised all – especially Modi himself – by going across the aisle and hugging him. Modi was visibly caught off guard, but recovered quickly and shook hands with Rahul. The gesture drew censure from the speaker of the house, and yet it represented a bipartisanship that has been eroding for some time now from the Indian political landscape. #WATCH Rahul Gandhi walked ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s insecurity, India’s leverage, and the most generous Indus Waters Treaty

The Indo-Pak relationship has become a byword and a cautionary tale in what nation states must not do when interacting with one another. Whether it is the complex Kashmir issue, cross-border terror, trade issues, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), or even the allegedly “low hanging” and easily resolvable issues of Siachen and Sir Creek, the two countries have been unable to come to terms. In the backdrop of failed agreements, lost opportunities and active sabotage of attempted détentes, one instance of cooperation on a critical issue bucks this trend, and that is the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The treaty was ...

Read Full Post

Does removing Jinnah’s portrait prove that India is still bitter about the Partition?

In 1938, the then president of the All India Muslim League (AIML), Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was made a lifetime member of the Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) student union. In accordance with this honour, a portrait of him was placed on the union’s walls. The portrait is an interesting one, for it depicts Jinnah in the early days of his transition. He has his Karakul cap on, depicting the transition from Jinnah the liberal, moderate Indian nationalist, to the Quaid-e-Azam that Pakistan would know as the father of the nation. AMU played a very important role in the history of ...

Read Full Post

Why did Modi not receive Justin Trudeau himself with his customary hug?

As liberal democracies and countries that don’t have grating disagreements on international affairs, India and Canada should have historically shared a cordial relationship. Since the turn of the century, with India’s ties with the US strengthening and a certain geopolitical convergence emerging, India and Canada had sought to transform their relationship to a strategic partnership.   However, as Justin Trudeau’s recent visit to India has shown, this relationship has been and continues to be strongly influenced by the Sikh diaspora in Canada. Reports suggest that the disagreements with the visit began with the planning of the trip itself. While the Indians wanted a short trip focused on ...

Read Full Post

Hindi cannot be the national language because India’s unity is shaped by its coloniser’s English language

Earlier this month, a very significant debate took place in the Lok Sabha of India between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor. The debate was regarding making Hindi an official language at the United Nations (UN). Swaraj, in reply to a question on what steps the government is taking in making Hindi an official language at the UN, said the government is doing its best in creating a consensus among other countries to accept it. She said that the government of India is willing to spend not just 40 but even 400 crores in ...

Read Full Post

Did Padmaavat’s content even matter in the end?

The year is 1303 AD. We are in the lush scrub jungle of Mewar, which surrounds the Chittorgarh Fort watered by the rains from previous months, and are witnessing Sultan Alauddin Khilji lay siege. Much that exists here in 1303 will cease to exist in the year 2018. A pride of Asiatic Lions are witnessed moving further away from the rough and tumble of the scene of battle, disappearing from our view. By 2018, they would have disappeared from Mewar entirely. The mind’s eye, however, looks for someone who is conspicuous despite her absence. And yet, by 2018, the Mewar of 1303 ...

Read Full Post