Stories published in March, 2016

Series 4 Chandni Chowk Part 1 Where roses bloom like bruises

When the bell rings, your hands are still covered with dirt from the garden. You hastily stick them under the tap beside the back door, toss the apron into the oven on your way into the hall, and swing open the front door. The neighbours, aunty number one and aunty number two, whose actual names you can never remember, are standing underneath the shade of the lemon tree. They fan themselves with their hands, their flabby arms moving up and down in an inconsequential rhythm. Aunty number one struts inside, her salon-dyed blonde hair revealing itself through her scarf. Aunty number ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

How many of our 23-year-olds even know the struggles of 23-year-old Bhagat Singh?

As the nationalistic fervour of Pakistan Day following March 23rd dies down, one cannot help but notice that there is a criminal lack of commentary on an event that took place exactly nine years prior to what would come to be known as Pakistan Day – the execution of Indian revolutionist Bhagat Singh in Lahore on March 23, 1931. One of the first Marxist thinkers from South Asia, Bhagat was sent to the gallows after being found guilty for the murder of John P Saunders, Assistant Superintendent of Police. Bhagat and his fellow Hindustan Socialist Republican Association members including Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar, and Chandrashekhar Azad, originally planned to assassinate Superintendent of Police, James A Scott to ...

Read Full Post

Downing Street raises the Belgian flag and we tweet for Brussels – but where was this sympathy after Ankara?

Yet again Europe has been shaken by the impact of a terrorist attack – and, once again, it has responded in a way that we have come to see as tragically routine. On social media we have Facebook safety check-ins, Twitter hashtags and sharable cartoons. In real life the Belgian flag will be hoist or projected over the national monuments of neighbouring European countries. The responses have taken on the morbid ritual of a funeral. And arguably, they are important to help us process the inexplicable horror and to give us some tools with which to communicate defiance in the ...

Read Full Post

Why should male tennis players be paid more than female players, Novak?

The women even in the most liberal countries face discrimination when it comes to receiving the same pay compared to their male counterparts for similar work done by them. This discrimination is more pronounced in the sub-continent. Although, various NGOs’ and women activists have been fighting relentlessly to bridge the gender pay gap, women still continue to face discrimination in some form or the other, especially in the unorganised sector. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) in a report issued last year; “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap” highlights the issue of gender pay gap in the United ...

Read Full Post

“The dirtiest sewer, starvation or even death would’ve been preferred over working for these pimps”

Human trafficking, prostitution, drug making/buying/selling have now become universal social issues. Each year 1.2 million children are trafficked around the world, 100,000 children are forced into prostitution and moved from one street corner to the other and numerous children are lured into the emerging drug business. During a conversation I had with Amal*, a human trafficking victim, I was left appalled by the details she provided me with. Amal was kidnapped at the tender age of 13 from the factory near her village. She described the incident in the following words; “It wasn’t like they show it in the movies, there was neither chaos nor any noise. Someone ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Batman v Superman and the real Dawn of Justice, I loved it!

Behold! The Dark Knight goes up against the Man of Steel! The moment all of us comic book movie nerds have been there for and it was inevitable. It was waiting to happen. And it finally comes at us with all of Zack Snyder’s visual glory. But underneath all the hype and excitement for this movie the real question is: Was it any good? Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill.Photo: Screenshot The answer is in one word. YES! Yes, yes, and a million times YES! This movie is good with a capital G. From the get-go, with the brooding tone and ...

Read Full Post

The era of Shahid Afridi comes to an end

How do you define Shahid Afridi? Do we talk about the man who when he bats, brings an entire nation to a standstill? Do we talk about the man who when swings at the cricket ball, a whole nation holds its breath while waiting for the ball to sail over the boundary line? Do we talk about the man who with his trademark star man pose instils hope into a nation? Do we talk about the man who has one of the highest numbers of ducks in international cricket? Do we talk about the man who ...

Read Full Post

Zootopia: When sly foxes and funny bunnies go after dark matters

Zootopia is the latest Disney 3D animation production that tells the story of a rabbit named Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants to change the stereotypes between predators and their prey. Along the way, she meets a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and together they solve the case of missing animals in Zootopia. Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, Zootopia is the 55th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and subtly touches upon dark subject matters like racism, ethnicity issues and sexism. Could this film continue the winning streak of Disney’s animation films? [caption id="" ...

Read Full Post