Stories about India

India’s awakening: The end of Article 377 and the last shred of colonialism

One of the most glaring anomalies in the Indian legal landscape is Article 377, the 1861 law that criminalises gay sex. This law, inspired by Victorian era prudishness, should have no place in the India of 2018. The British, who created this law based on their values of that time, have now adopted much more liberal and progressive outlooks. Meanwhile, the Indian state has refused to move on. In fact, it has appropriated those archaic values and keeps them entrenched and alive in the country’s legal code. This is ironic, and perhaps tragic, because through the course of history, the Indic ...

Read Full Post

Why India wants PTI to lose and PML-N to win the elections

South Asia is currently in a vortex of a very defining election season. In India, though the General Elections are still 10 months away, the country has already started discussing the possibilities and predicting the outcome expected in 2019. The main question dominating all discussions is whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will emerge victorious for a second term. At stake next year in the world’s most populous democracy is the idea of India itself. Will the polls ensure the defeat of the divisive forces currently at work, or will we see further consolidation of the majoritarian agenda? In the meantime, the ...

Read Full Post

Smoking kills, but so does patriarchy

What is the duty of a good brown woman? For most of our society, it’s ‘upholding traditional values’ – whether it’s the ideal bahu (daughter-in-law) in most TV dramas, desirable conservatism in Bollywood dynamics, or unsolicited advice from politicians. A 2017 Ipsos Global Trends report even reveals that 64% of Indians believe that a woman’s primary role is to be ‘a good mother and wife’. This burden of sanskar (values) and dutifulness then become a tool of oppression, of restriction. On the other hand, men have no such shackles, and end up having a monopoly on the social acceptability of ‘having fun’. There is a systematic curbing of women’s freedom to experience ...

Read Full Post

Why India will continue to be the world’s most dangerous country for women

India’s record on women’s safety is never too far from global attention. Over the years, India has developed a reputation of being an unsafe country for women. The latest spotlight on this has been cast by the recent Thomson Reuters Foundation survey that ranked India “the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour”. In a misogynist world that includes the likes of Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan and Afghanistan, getting the dubious distinction of being top ranked has understandably caused a great deal of indignation and ...

Read Full Post

Will lightning strike twice for Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2?

Jawani Phir Nahi Ani was a massive hit at the box office and became the highest grossing movie in Pakistan’s history. An adventure-comedy directed by Nadeem Baig, the movie starred Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahmad Ali Butt, Vasay Chaudhry, Sohai Ali Abro, Mehwish Hayat, Javed Sheikh and Ayesha Khan. Due to the massive success of the movie, a sequel was in the making for which the trailer was recently released. Reprising their roles are Saeed, Butt and Chaudhry. Also part of the cast are Mawra Hocane, Kubra Khan and Fahad Mustafa. Other cast members include Sarwat Gillani, Sohail Ahmed and ...

Read Full Post

Why Kalabagh Dam is not the answer to our water woes

A few days back, my views on the futility of Kalabagh Dam published in a national daily evoked a very strong and hostile reaction from many people. I had posed a simple and pertinent question: “If, as is evident, Pakistan will have very little water in future, what will we fill Kalabagh Dam with?” Some people said Pakistan will have enough water forever, while others called me an enemy agent. Before delving deeper into why the dam should not be constructed, I would like to share my own experience of water consumption. Up until 10 years back, I had no idea how much ...

Read Full Post

Shujaat Bukhari: The saner voice in a place where insanity prevails

On Thursday evening, barely a day before Eidul Fitr, senior and most respected journalist Shujaat Bukhari was killed just outside his office in Press Enclave, Srinagar. Bukhari was the editor-in-chief of English daily Rising Kashmir published from Srinagar I was not far away from where the incident occurred. I was in the newsroom, where I along with rest of the staff was working on Friday’s edition of our newspaper when we heard gunshots. Panic gripped us, but one of my colleagues mentioned that it couldn’t have been gunshots, Eid was nearing, and maybe kids were out playing with firecrackers. Thinking ...

Read Full Post

Quantico’s apology is a slap in the face of every Muslim misrepresented by Hollywood

The past week has caused uproar in the international media, after a Hollywood show had the misfortune of treading conflicting political grounds. ABC, an American television studio, later issued an apology to Indian fans after its crime drama Quantico portrayed Hindu nationalists in a negative light, as they planned a terrorist plot and tried to frame Pakistan for it. The scene from Quantico’s most recent episode, The Blood of Romeo, received prompt backlash from Indians after Priyanka Chopra, who plays the lead character of an FBI agent, holds up sacred Hindu prayer beads as evidence that the plotter, who planned to detonate ...

Read Full Post

For Muslims in India, Eid namaz was offered under the shadow of fear

I recently recalled the memory of an argument I had with one of my friends from school six years ago, when I was still in high school. It was around the time Narendra Modi was vigorously campaigning to become the next prime minister of India. He was a hot topic for debate, and every media house was discussing the sharp rise in the popularity of the chief minister of Gujarat, despite the Hindutva identity he carried. The media termed it the ‘Modi wave’. My friend and I were discussing the series of corruption scandals that unfolded during the tenure of ...

Read Full Post

How are we supposed to “celebrate” Eid with no water and no electricity?

Life in Pakistan has never been easy. The living conditions continue to deteriorate with each passing year. The effects of climate change, coupled with the water crises, are making life harder and harder for people living here. The power outages do not help either. However, this year, the repercussions of climate change and the water crisis are being felt the most, and things are about to get much worse. Today is Eid, which many people in the colonial parts of the city, especially certain gated communities, are enjoying to the fullest. Perhaps because they do not face the same problems ...

Read Full Post