Stories about Delhi

Made in Heaven shows modern India a mirror, and it’s beautiful, warts and all

The stories a society tells reveal a lot about its character, its maturity, and its willingness to look itself square in the eye and embrace the entirety of not just its beauty, but also its abundant blemishes. Indian cinema has been a window to contemporary India for a while now. It has produced some quality work but has also contributed a lot of pure mindless drivel. It has entertained, educated, and exasperated audiences the world over, but through it all, it has carved a place for itself, much like the country it represents. Traditionally, Indian content creators have been hampered by ...

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A mall, a lady, and some slut-shaming – another sad day in India’s ‘rape capital’

They say sometimes a woman is a woman’s worst enemy. In this instance, they have hit the nail on the head. In a mall in Delhi’s suburb of Gurugram, a middle-aged lady allegedly slut-shamed a bunch of young women openly. She was not their mother, or even someone they remotely knew. No, this was a random ‘aunty’ who was simply not pleased with the way the girls were dressed. According to her, their outfits were indecent and they deserved everything nasty that came their way. When the girls retaliated, saying they were comfortable in their skin and in their shorts, ...

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In trying to humanise the police, Delhi Crime loses focus of Jyoti Singh’s harrowing story

If Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings and the opinion of my favourite funny woman, Twinkle Khanna, are anything to go by, I might be the only person on this planet who didn’t love India’s latest Netflix offering, Delhi Crime. I went into it really wanting to love the show because it’s based on actual police files from the Jyoti Singh case investigation, a case I followed closely since December 16, 2012; the day the world found out about the absolutely abhorrent way Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, was brutally gang-raped by six men on a bus. Photo: Screenshot Since Singh’s story ...

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Muslims in India today are revisiting the same fears as they did in 1947

The strength of a democracy is measured by the way it protects its weak, marginalised and minorities. After Partition in 1947, one big challenge before India was how to assuage the fears of the Muslim minority about their well-being in India. Bridging religious faultlines was part of the nation-building process. The government, civil society, film industry, media, and even on an individual level, a large section of the society created an ecosystem where secularism and liberalism were promoted unabashedly. This ecosystem and way of life have been largely sustaining India for the last seven decades. Three generations later, Muslims in India are ...

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When 2018 brought the death of Burnes Road and marred the spirit of Karachi

Karachi’s recent anti-encroachment drive has caused uproar all across the city over the past few weeks. While some argue that for the sake of ‘development’, it is perfectly justified to remove the illegal establishments that have existed in the city for decades now, others strongly believe that legality should not take pre-eminence over the need to sustain the livelihoods of the poor. Regardless of which side you take in this debate, the repercussions on certain neighbourhoods of Karachi have been unavoidable. One such neighbourhood is Saddar, where most of the illegal occupations have now been cleared, including some of ...

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From Delhi, with regret: How a postcard from India revived painful, unhealed memories of the Partition

From history textbooks and family accounts, we often hear about the intense emotions and trauma felt by those who were forced to leave their homes behind for a new country during the Partition of British India in 1947. These days, it is hard to truly understand those feelings when we are so far removed from the experience itself. But tangible, everyday artefacts from that era – like a simple letter exchanged between separated friends – can suddenly resurrect those devastating and unhealed memories. That’s precisely what happened when my mother was recently looking through old papers in my grandparents’ home in ...

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India has never looked as divided, as communally vulnerable, as broken as it does now

Narendra Modi, a serial communalist, assumed the mask of an inclusive figure just before the 2014 Elections to make him more acceptable to the masses. The myth he came to weave around himself five years ago made him seem like a man of development – the only mission in his life being to usher in a new era of economic reform in India. It is now 2018, and the mask and the myth are both in tatters. The one and only colour Modi has is called saffron – the colour of the majoritarian Hindu. It’s now known to one and ...

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“Failing state”? Even Indians think Swara Bhaskar should stop confusing Pakistan with her career!

Given the current milieu of tense relations between India and Pakistan, an Indian contemplating the comments made by a relatively unknown Bollywood actress regarding Pakistan being a “failing state” may not be the most reasonable exercise. However, her statements bring forth something very typical about an average Indian’s perception of Pakistan. Over in Pakistan, actress Urwa Hocane’s posts calling Swara Bhaskar out for her contradictory statements on Pakistan have already gone viral on social media. Pakistan is the country that you @ReallySwara referred to,in 2015, as the “Best country you have ever visited” and it has only gotten better in the last few ...

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Today’s India presents a very sorry figure as it stands in isolation

When Narendra Modi started his innings as India’s prime minister four springs ago in 2014, he declared ‘neighbourhood first’ as the core of his foreign policy goal. He invited the heads of state of all the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to witness the inauguration of his regime, and the entire atmosphere spelled out some hope for a peaceful future in a tense region. This would not last long. Four years down the line, this policy remains a great non-starter – just more empty rhetoric from a politician who wants to win elections. New Delhi’s relationship ...

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We all know what divides India and Pakistan, but do you know what unites them?

When it comes to India and Pakistan, one comes across an array of academicians and scholars in western campuses with piles of research on the Kashmir problem, Siachen and Sir Creek. But one hardly comes across any serious initiative to explore what unites India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan are inheritors of a common civilisation and hence we have an ocean of shared heritage in literature, philosophy, music, food, and mysticism. These days, it seems we have completely forgotten the days when we regaled ourselves over the melodies of Noor Jehan, Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali and Ataullah Khan Esakhelvi. Even the days ...

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