Stories published in August, 2017

Will the Masuka draft law be able to put an end to mob lynching in India?

Since Narendra Modi’s government came into power in 2014, incidents of cow-related violence increased substantially. According to an Observer Research Foundation analysis, in January 2011, 5% of lynching incidents were related to cows or Gau Rakshaks (cow protectors). This number rose to 20% in June. A recent report by ‘India Spend’ reveals that 97% of all attacks by Gau Rakshaks between 2010 and 2017 were recounted after the Modi government came to power. Majority of the cases have been reported from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states. Furthermore, 61 of 63 cases were registered after the formation of Gau Raksha Dals and the implementation of the beef ban. Increasingly, there has been ...

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Instead of chanting the devaluation mantra, exporters should reduce their costs

Last month, the rupee plunged to its lowest in nine years. A banker friend called me and said, “If you have dollars, don’t sell them, if you don’t have dollars, buy them. The market is plunging and by the evening you will need Rs120 to buy a dollar.” This was very alarming since I am in the import business and would have to sustain big losses if the free fall continued. In the evening, the price of eggs had shot up by Rs10 to the dozen. Why? In response, the shopkeeper said, “Don’t you know? The dollar has gone up sharply.” Pressed further, he said, “I buy ...

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Game of Thrones S07-E04: A Stark reunion, an epic battle and unfinished business – what more could one want?

Recently, I read that some fans and critics were complaining about the seventh season of Game of Thrones (GoT) being too rushed. There have also been complaints stating that the show is more focused on displays rather than character development. But I think it is safe to assume that all these negative reviews will die down once the said individuals watch the fourth episode. This week’s offering had some touching reunions and jaw-dropping moments. Some might argue otherwise, but for me, this was the best GoT episode so far. It surpasses all previous GoT standards and sets new benchmarks for the show itself and other shows as well. The ...

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India boycotting Chinese goods is like cutting your nose to spite your face

As the standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam in Bhutan continues, the clamour to boycott Chinese goods in India is rising. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has organised a 15-day ‘Boycott Chinese Products’ campaign.  The RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, says the nationwide campaign is to raise awareness against using Chinese goods. The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), an RSS affiliate, claims that the campaign has received huge support. A rally has been planned on October 29th at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to conclude the campaign. For some, boycotting Chinese goods is now the ultimate way of proving his or her credentials as a nationalist. And nationalism, with its twisted ...

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Load-shedding? Bill tampering? Theft? Fret not, Pakistan, for solar-powered systems are here to save the day (and your money)

For the last 10 years, we’ve been hearing that Pakistan is on the verge of getting rid of load shedding and power shortages. The situation, however, has stayed the same despite repeated government announcements. Since power is not the only sector in which gross incompetence and corruption have led to low levels of service delivery, it is perhaps correct to assume that the prospect of things improving in the short to medium term are impossible. When the government-provided education services are inadequate, people send their children to private schools. They opt out of the government-prescribed syllabi which are often used to propagate nationalistic and corrosive ideologies and get their children to study for internationally recognised A’Levels. They send ...

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Ozark fails to come into its own as the crime-drama it is so desperately trying to be

Netflix has been dominating the television landscape for a number of years now. Their strategy of rolling out entire seasons in a day has been a successful one because of how quickly it has turned people to binge-watching. Another reason for their success is that they have not only produced great shows, but produced genre-diverse shows, which means they have got a little something for everyone. Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Master of None, Making A Murderer and Narcos are all part of this list. Ozark is the latest show to join this list. Created by Bill Dubuque – the writer ...

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Dear PCB, when will you learn that it is not all about the money?

Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 100% increase in the salaries of domestic players and coaches alike. Furthermore, the contracts of the players and coaches have been extended to a year-long period from the pre-existing six-month period. On the surface, this looks like a great move on PCB’s behalf, but this move alone will not improve the dilapidated state of Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Domestic players and coaches always complain that the greatest problem they face is a lack of funds and how this issue has severely hampered the development of cricketers. Now with this increase in salaries, the onus is on ...

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Dear PML-N supporters, dragging Tyrian White in your battle with PTI reeks of indecency and dirty tactics

When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was formed in 1996, I quickly became a member. Back then, I was much like the PTI supporters of today – impressionable, emotional and self-righteous. My devotion to Imran Khan was also like that of contemporary PTI supporters – blind, cultish and eulogising. Like millions of PTI supporters, I was also unable to see anything wrong with Imran and would break into passionate debates with anyone who was critical of him. I used to think that only jahils (illiterates) voted for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Thank God, those days are over, and today ...

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When models are seen and treated as professional hangers, and young impressionable girls want to be just like them

The fashion industry is a confusing place. On one hand, it empowers women by employing them, giving them space in the public sphere and by creating an area ruled by women. On the other hand, while it does all those wonderful things, it also puts women in the public eye (literally) in order to be judged and scrutinized. In order for models to stay in the modelling business, they have to isolate themselves from their desires, especially if their desire is to have the food of their choice. The obsession with being a size zero has spiralled out of control. Being slim and skinny ...

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How many times will Daniel Craig play James Bond until he realises he’s too old for the job?

Take a little time to go through the following comment: “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists (if I were asked to do it again).” Now consider this other remark: “If I were to stop doing it, I would miss it terribly.” Believe it or not, both of the aforementioned quotes are attributed to a singular person on – wait for it –working as the titular agent in the next instalment of the James Bond film series. For the uninitiated, that would be Englishman Daniel Craig who was the seventh actor to have played Agent 007. Daniel Craig in Skyfall (2012) Anyway, reverting to the ...

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