Stories about India

The Pulwama attack is more than a massacre – it’s an unfortunate reminder

The recent killing of 44 security personnel belonging to the Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) outside Srinagar has opened up a can of worms, and everyone should be bothered at this development. It’s not that this is the first time there has been an attack on Indian security forces in the valley, inflicting serious damage in terms of casualties. However, this attack is quite significant for the many issues it reveals, not necessarily for the lay person. The first and most important problem we need to confront is the attitude of the Indian state and its unofficial auxiliaries who have ...

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“Apna Time Agaya”: When Ranveer Singh painted the gullies of Berlin red

On February 9th, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt premiered at Friedrichstadt-Palast as part of the Berlin Film Festival Berlinale’s Special Entry, and the city’s popular Friedrichstrasse district was buzzing with Bollywood fans. All the nearby bus, train, tram stations were filled with Hindi/Urdu speakers discussing the arrival of the stunning crew. The red carpet area of the cinema was decorated specially for the stars. Minutes before the film was scheduled to begin, Bollywood’s heartthrob Singh made his entrance along with the elegant Bhatt, both waving and smiling to frantic crowds of fans. Calm and collected ...

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Pakistan’s melting glaciers: Our climate change crisis will destabilise Asia’s rivers

Pakistan is fortunate to be home to three great mountain ranges: the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. In fact, on the drive up the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Gilgit, I often stop at a place near Jaglote town where these three ranges actually meet. One can see the grand vista from the road, which could easily be missed if not for a sign nearby which reads, “The junction point of the three mightiest mountain ranges of the world.” The Karakoram includes the K2, the world’s second-highest peak, and is the most heavily glaciated area on the planet apart ...

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Why India does not want any US-Afghanistan peace talks

The clearest indication of how the Indian military, intelligence and diplomatic bureaucracies (‘deep state’) truly feel about US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban can be seen in India’s Major-General (R) Harsha Kakar’s recent article on this topic written for The Statesman. Intuiting India’s interpretation India, which hasn’t shied away from sounding off about all manner of international issues ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014, has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about its attitude towards US’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban. This led many observers to intuit that it’s extremely unhappy with this process but is applying the age-old wisdom ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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As India enters election year, The Accidental Prime Minister is more relevant than you think

Movies can be a vehicle for entertainment, escapism and fantasy. However, they are increasingly delivering a dose of realism, reflecting the world we live in while being packed with drama, intrigue, and emotion. When it comes to drama, can there be a spectacle grander and more gripping than the power games played in high-level politics? That’s the space occupied by the recent Bollywood release, The Accidental Prime Minister. The movie is based on the memoirs of Sanjay Baru, an Indian policy analyst, and explores the 10-year tenure of Dr Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister. Even before its release, the movie ...

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“I was going home after 71 years”: The emotional ‘homecoming’ of an Indian in Pakistan

“I am going home… after 71 years.” I mumbled something along those lines to passengers sitting beside me, while taking a flight from Karachi to Islamabad on Christmas morning. Late in October, a friend of mine who is like an elder brother and a bitter critic of Indian state policies, asked me for my passport. I quickly took some pictures and sent it over to him. A week later, he sent me an affidavit with an invitation to his daughter’s wedding in Karachi that was to be held in late December. And that is how my journey of going home began. It is ...

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Audacious, hypnotic and intense, Kangana Ranaut was made to play the Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi chronicles the tale of one of India’s most prominent historical figures. Manikarnika, better known as Lakshmibai or the Rani of Jhansi, was one of the foremost freedom fighters of the 1857 rebellion. The allegory of Rani of Jhansi has personally fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Hence, writing even a review of a film based on her gallantry gives me great bliss. A warrior queen riding a horse, a sword in her hand, a child strapped onto her back, Manikarnika is an old-fashioned, simplistic film underlining the core values of bravery, valour and ...

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The crown prince’s visit is one of Imran Khan’s greatest accomplishments yet

The hugely successful visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) to Pakistan a week ago represents one of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s greatest foreign policy accomplishments yet, because it proved that his country’s ‘balancing’ act between regional powers is capable of turning latent rivals into trusted partners. The Emirati breakthrough The Pakistani and Arab media are celebrating MBZ’s hugely successful visit to Pakistan and lauding the $6.2 billion support package he provided to the South Asian state. The personal camaraderie between the Emirati leader and the Pakistani prime minister was on full display for the whole world ...

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No longer a gentleman’s game: Why Virat Kohli is the epitome of modern cricket

Winning a Test series in Australia has been one of the biggest challenges in world cricket. The formidable Aussies usually have a habit of sending visitors bruised and battered from their shores. So complete has been their domination at home that no Asian team had ever won a Test series in Australia till last week, when the Indians finally crossed the final frontier. The significance of the achievement can be gauged from the fact that several cricketing greats, from Sir Viv Richards to Imran Khan, have praised and congratulated Virat Kohli and the Indian team for this historic win. Remarkable performance ...

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