Stories about babri mosque

Destroying Jinnah’s house will not undo the Partition, Mangal Lodha

The sordid saga of ultra-nationalism unfolding in the subcontinent took a new twist this week. The Times of India reports that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, demanded that Jinnah’s house in Mumbai be demolished and replaced by a centre representing Maharashtra’s culture.  Jinnah’s residence is a mansion in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai where Mohammad Ali Jinnah resided following his return to India from England in 1936. It continued to be his primary residence till 1944, following which he started transitioning to the Flagstaff House in Karachi where he moved permanently after Partition. Before anything else, let’s dispense one clarification: jingoism ...

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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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A historical walk through the forgotten Sheranwala Bagh in Gujranwala

Gujranwala is one of the cities of Punjab that have contributed to its history, especially during Ranjit Singh’s rise to power and the establishment of the Sikh empire. This is where Ranjit Singh was born to Sardar Maha Singh, who belonged to Sukerchakia misl in 1780. Sheranwala Bagh is home to the monuments of the Sikh rule in Gujranwala. I had been hearing about the charm of Sheranwala Bagh for a long time, and every time I went to visit my maternal family, I’d dream about the bagh. It wasn’t until this year that the dream finally came true. [caption id="" ...

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The Way Things Were: Is India’s past a mentor for its evolution?

Aatish Taseer’s latest book, ‘The Way Things Were’, is the first book of his that I have read, but its subtle tone and poetic finesse lured me instantly. The title of the book is based on the Sanskrit word ‘itihasa’, meaning history. The concept of ‘itihasa’ is utilised throughout the book, with a literal extraction of elements from the past, not to exploit the present or future but to transform current situations in a more cultural dimension. ‘The Way Things Were’ is a story that is cultivated in three phases – the Indian Emergency 1975, anti-Sikh riots of the 8os, and the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992. The story beautifully interweaves characters from the elites of Lutyens’s Delhi, Indian politics and Sanskrit, ...

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BJP and the Congress are two peas in a pod

In a recent television interview given to India Today’s Karan Thapar, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) patriarch LK Advani mentioned that Indira Gandhi cannot be said to have a ‘mixed legacy’ as she was responsible for clamping down emergency. Thus, she cannot be forgiven. However, Thapar was correct in pointing out to Advani that if Indira Gandhi can’t be forgiven for what happened on June 25, 1975 then can Advani be forgiven for what transpired on December 6, 1992? If the Indian National Congress (INC) carries the burden of murdering democracy on the pretext of the foreign hand theory by imposing the emergency, BJP has to be held responsible for smashing the secular edifice ...

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Noor of Bihar

“Babu jee, India is so enormous. Mumbai, Agra, Delhi and Bihar are unfathomable in size. Either you take one step or accomplish a hundred, it will take 10 years to traverse from one end of the country to another,” she assured me in her mellifluous Bihari tone. As the fan overhead continued its eternal hymn, Nani (maternal grandmother) shouted in distaste, “Huh, you have seen India, my foot! Woman of no worth,” she shouted out, as mother and I looked at each other, exchanging mental notes on how to manage Nani’s incorrigible distrust of domestic helpers. Nani suffered from a cancerous tumour ...

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Do I have to become Muslim to survive in Pakistan?

While leaving for the Krishna Temple in Lalkurti, there was only one thing on my mind. I remembered an incident during my university days back in 2005 when one of my teachers, while analysing the news of preaching Islam to our non-Muslim sportsmen, said that these fanatics should leave Islam out of the game. He went on to say that if they had players from religious minorities on the team, it would only help create a softer image of Pakistan in front of the world. With this thought in mind, I entered the temple. I looked around for a tomb but ...

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Google can envision Pakistan-India harmony in less than 4 minutes…can we?

Regarding India-Pakistan relations, Sir Walter Scott in his poem “Lochinvar” captured it the best: “Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide” Replace the river Solway with Indus or Ganges and one gets an idea of the ebb and flow of India-Pakistan relations. I first learnt of it through the most obvious of sources, Indian movies. We were watching a cliché with the usual “dushman mulk sazish” storyline when came the long advertisements and movie reviews that would be a permanent feature of the video cassettes. This was sometime after the Babri Mosque incident and relations between the two states were crumbling. Among the ...

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Gandhi or Modi: Choosing the lesser evil in elections 2014

Is communalism responsible for the rise in terrorism? This is the topic of debate in India today. The attention on the issue became all the more pronounced after the serial blasts that took place in the Hindu right wing leader, Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna. Until recently, this debate had been confined to academic discourse, but after the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement, where he said that the Pakistan’s intelligence agency is recruiting disgruntled elements from Muzaffarnagar, the debate has come into the political arena. Those who have been closely monitoring the political speeches would understand that the younger Gandhi’s target was not ...

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Sanjay Dutt: Unjustly convicted?

For 53-year-old Sanjay Dutt, no attempt to redemption seems to be succeeding. The Supreme Court of India has sentenced the star to five years jail time for the possession of an illegal weapon; a weapon he was “gifted” by a producer to protect himself and his family from riots that took place by Hindu radicals in 1993. His sufferings become all the more tragic when one considers the circumstances under which the said mistake has taken place. The Supreme Court verdict early this week punished him for possessing an illegal arm. Unfortunately for Dutt, that particular weapon was not only illegal ...

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