Stories about Gujrat

While endorsing Modi, did Imran Khan forget the plight of Kashmiris and Indian Muslims?

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, while talking to Reuters, gave a statement that really shocked the diplomatic world. Referring to the Indian elections, he said: “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.” India’s General Elections have started from today, April 11th, and will continue till the end of next month. The most surprising aspect about Imran’s statement is that it came just a day before the start of the first round of the Indian elections. Usually, world leaders avoid giving out statements that seemingly endorse any political party of a foreign ...

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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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I am a die-hard SRK fan, but I won’t watch Raees

The much-awaited Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) starrer Raees, released in January 2017, seems loosely based on the life of notorious Gujarati Mafioso Abdul Latif. Latif was a gambler, a hired assassin, bootlegger and extortionist par excellence. He was also involved in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts and on the run till he was killed by the police in an encounter in 1997. Raees has, perhaps, sketched Latif’s life with all the charm and halo one expects from an SRK starrer. Like all other SRK fans, I wait for his films with bated breath. Such is my King Khan mania that I have never missed ...

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Fundamentalism: When a woman has to prove her ‘purity’ by balancing a rock on her head

August 2015 fell on South Asia’s shoulders as an overbearing weight and a massive shock – as preparations for Independence Day on both sides of the Pakistan-India border were underway. Pakistan’s largest child abuse scandal surfaced, wherein some 400 children had been victims to the perverted fantasies of sexually depraved men. There has been much debate and dissent as to what the rationale behind rape is, and everyone pretty much knows what drives a rapist to rape. What is more important to note here is the nonchalance of the police force and the deformed laws that govern the heinous crime that rape is. From across the border, ...

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Landlords in Punjab: “Off with the boy’s arms!”

It’s a small village in Punjab. Two men begin fighting over a few thousand rupees and what seems to be an electricity wire. One of the men has a 10-year-old son who does the unthinkable – he goes to take a bath in the enemy’s tube well. The landlord/owner cannot stand this injustice. He beats the boy and pours hot water on him. The little boy runs and hides in the fields but the landlord seeks him out again. This time, he ties him up with a rope and cuts his arms off with a thresher. Did I just narrate ...

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Common sense, not so common in Pakistan: 12-month-old baby told to appear in court, what’s next?

Pakistan would make developmental psychologists all over the world proud. Asian children (namely those from Hong Kong, Singapore and Shangai) seem to be smarter to the world. But children in our part of the world (vis-à-vis the subcontinent) are not far behind. Our kids are more social and streetwise, owing to the joint family systems prevalent in a collectivist society such as ours. Our skins are thicker and our minds are sharper. But our police seem to have gone one step ahead of us in this analysis, unfortunately. Sure our kids are smart, but criminally smart? Apparently, our law enforcement authorities think so. A few ...

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Gujrat riots: Modi should learn from Gandhi

Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi, who has been crowned as the prime ministerial candidate of India’s main opposition Bhartiya Janta Party, must have had many a sleepless night since 2002. A shocking incident in the town of Godhra in which 59 Hindus, mostly pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, were burnt alive by a Muslim mob in a well planned conspiracy, triggered anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat which left more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead right under the nose of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. True, so far no evidence suggesting his direct involvement in the riots has been found and he was given ...

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Meet the families of the kids who died in the Gujrat van tragedy

“Olaad ka ghum bardaasht nae hota” (It is impossible to bear the pain of losing your children) I have heard my father say this quite often. However, since I don’t have any children of my own, I never understood the intensity of emotions behind this statement until I visited the families of the children who lost their lives in the Gujrat tragedy. A fire that broke out in a private school van took the lives of at least 14 innocent children and a teacher. My class had been instructed to visit these families by the director of our institute. On our way ...

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The Gujrat bus tragedy: Who is responsible?

Every second day, we hear of gas cylinder explosions in buses, wagons and rickshaws, causing injuries to their passengers. In more severe cases, innocent victims are sometimes burnt to death. As a reactionary measure, the electronic media gives it running coverage throughout the day. The government, after announcing compensation for the victims’ families, takes a back seat and considers its job done. Deliberations are made for a few days on potential solutions and then, just as soon forgotten, till the next tragedy occurs. In today’s world, it is difficult to imagine any other country except ours, where this mishap takes ...

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Schoolchildren’s travel woes

Children, as young as three-years-old, travel long distances to reach their schools and that, too, in overloaded vans, pickups and rickshaws. Sometimes, unfortunate accidents occur, like the one in Gujrat a few weeks back, which shook the nation. Sixteen schoolchildren and a teacher were killed when their school van caught fire. It is the responsibility of the schools to keep a continuous check on the vehicles their students travel in. They must keep a copy of the driving licences of the drivers and other documents of the vehicles. It is a fact that, at times, accidents are destined to happen ...

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