Stories about Delhi

Was Nawaz Sharif really soft on India?

Former Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam in a recent interview claimed that not only was former prime minister Nawaz Sharif soft on India himself, he directed the Foreign Office to not highlight India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Balochistan or mention Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian spy who had been arrested in the same province. She also went on to allege that Sharif was soft on India due to his business interests in the country. These claims have since been rubbished by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart Khawaja Asif, while Pakistan’s former High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has seconded the allegations.  Was Sharif ...

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The sad tale of Delhi: As narrated by its bards – Part 2

Read Part 1 in this series here. ~ Dagh Dehlavi witnessed all this while sitting in some corner of the city, and it is surprising that despite being closely connected to the fort, he was saved from the cruelty of the British. Perhaps to mourn Delhi, today we can say with great pride that despite his comfort-demanding nature, his sensitive heart was affected deeply by this incident. He had wept at the destruction of a once flourishing world. Hence, Dagh’s work is riddled with the cruelties and savageries which the British perpetrated on the residents of Delhi. There is great anger, irritation ...

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The sad tale of Delhi: As narrated by its bards – Part 1

Bad times have befallen Delhi again. The capital of India has been in the news lately because of the widespread protests by citizens and students across the communal, linguistic, cultural and religious divides which have come to the forefront ever since the promulgation of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Narendra Modi government. Delhi has been the site of protests, most of them congregating in and around the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Jamia Millia Islamia and Shaheen Bagh. Interestingly, the protest poems of Pakistani resistance poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib have become very popular ...

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Is America’s outlook towards Pakistan changing?

Predictably, President Donald Trump’s 36 hour visit to India generated a lot of hype not only in the country but also in the United States (US). Despite the trade deal remaining elusive, both parties seem to have gained from the optics of the visit. In his election year, President Trump will benefit from the pomp and show that his campaign will showcase to the domestic audience as proof of his international publicity and stature. The visit will also help him gain the support of the four million strong Indian-American community. Similarly, although some might say that Narendra Modi fiddled around ...

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Beloved Delhi is not just a tribute to the city; it is a tribute to Urdu

Tracing the literary and cultural arc of a city such as Delhi is an arduous task. The amount of revolutions and genocides it has endured are not easy to pen down. Keeping this in mind, Saif Mahmood does a remarkable job in his recent book, Beloved Delhi. Published in late 2018, this book is an exhilarating revivification of the city of poets. According to Mahmood, his stimulus for authoring this book came from the dining room conversations which used to be held at his home about Urdu poetry.  Unfortunately, these dining room conversations have now become a non-existent practice as the ...

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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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