Stories about Delhi

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

“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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

“Girls expose their bodies only when they don’t have beautiful faces”

Recently, we touched a nadir in our short history; even though some might argue we were already there. In a city where the infamous tag of being the ‘rape capital’ has overridden its stature as the national capital of the largest democracy in the world, an eight-month-old baby was raped. A toddler, who perhaps could barely stand, let alone walk, was left in a pool of her blood by a relative who had offered to babysit her. Around the same time, a biology teacher in the city of Raipur offered her students some twisted advice about being female, allegedly telling them not to ...

Read Full Post

Comparing a Muslim name to Hitler is not only factually wrong but also boorish

Gone are the days when naming a baby was a simple task. However, the millennial city-bred parents are different. Their babies names are no longer about sounding meaningful, cute or easy to pronounce. In fact, the more difficult the name is to remember, the better. This is the reason why we have names ranging from Viviaan, Aarav, Riyan to Niarra, instead of Amit, Sumit, Rohit and/or Neha. Talking about the celebrity class, well, they are a step ahead of thinking outside the box. This is inherently why they all have babies with such unique names – no cattle class would even dare ...

Read Full Post

Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

Read Full Post

India must remember that Balochistan is not Bangladesh

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on August 15, 2016 raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. This has brought a new excitement in New Delhi, particularly among the right wing commentators as if India has finally found a solution to the Kashmir issue. Since the death of a charismatic militant Burhan Wani in the hands of the security agencies on July 8, 2016, Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violent protest. Modi and his advisors hope that Kashmir unrest will come to an end if India starts spreading the fire in Balochistan. If Modi and his advisors really believe that the Balochistan threat will dissuade Pakistani ...

Read Full Post