Stories about India

By not supporting women trying to enter Sabarimala, the BJP proved their ‘gender justice’ stance is a lie

Historically speaking, faith has always been a victim of politics. However, the protests that are currently being held regarding the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple in the South Indian state of Kerala don’t particularly have to do with faith; they have more to do with politics. For centuries, devotees believed that the presiding deity of the ancient temple, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate, and the entry of ‘fertile’ women would violate the Lord’s celibacy. Young women were therefore denied entry into the temple, while only women above the age of 50 could visit. As far as men are concerned, a ...

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No peace under occupation: My parents are alive, but the conflict in IoK has ‘orphaned’ me

A few days ago, I celebrated my 19th birthday without my parents. No, I am not an orphan. But the conflict in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has ensured I live like one.  I was born in Srinagar. My father, Dr Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, spent nine years in prison before I was born. He was briefly released and then arrested within months of my birth. It has now been 19 years that I have not seen him under the open sky. He is one of Kashmir’s longest-serving political prisoners, having languished in jail for 25 years now. Sometimes I want to tear the prison down and carry ...

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In order to bring their A-game, Pakistan needs to concentrate on their A team

It is often said that the gap between International cricket and Pakistan domestic cricket is way too wide for new youngsters in the Pakistan team to bridge. Pakistan Super League (PSL) tries to minimise that gap when Pakistani domestic cricketers not only compete with international cricketers but also learn how international cricketers prepare themselves for a match by sharing the dressing room with them. But is that enough exposure to prepare them for international cricket? Indian Premier League (IPL) takes centre stage in the world of cricket every year during which no or very little international cricket takes place. Even ...

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From a great writer to a great a leader: How Manto came to terms with Jinnah’s passing

On the 142nd birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah today, a little-known piece by the great Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto is being presented for the time in its original English translation. This piece is part of Manto’s published but uncollected writings that are only recently seeing the light of day. Though there is little or no evidence that the great writer ever met the great leader, this piece – originally published in the Daily ‘Imroz’ just three days after Jinnah’s death in September 1948 – crystallises the raw emotions of a writer in the aftermath of a national tragedy ...

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As bodies pile up in IoK, strong condemnations are appreciated, but they are not enough

December 15th was just another Saturday, but nobody knew then that it would be a bloody one. News came that an encounter broke out between forces and militants in the Sirnoo area of Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) Pulwama district. Then, at around noon, news emerged that one civilian had been killed by the forces. The toll only stopped at seven as the day passed. At the end of day, seven civilians had been killed and around 250 were injured with pellets and bullets. That night people slept in anger. As news of a massacre arrives from home in Kashmir, I realise it’s ...

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The year that #Metoo was reborn, and with it the sisterhood of victims

It is the defining moment of the year gone by, not because it finally became part of a global movement but more so because it took a second wind to unsettle the dominant voices of patriarchal corridors and send a message that #Metoo was not about some misguided and delayed wave for justice, just as it was never about a woman in the wrong job at the wrong time. All it had ever been about was consent. October 2018 will be remembered as the renaissance of the #MeToo movement in India. A forgotten actress Tanushree Dutta touched down from the ...

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“Udhar tum, idhar hum”: When Bhutto pushed Bangladesh to the edge of Pakistan

The fall of Dhaka is one of those events in our history that we’d rather forget. No one talks about it nowadays, because it was the result of our own follies. But those who are still alive will never be able to forget TV newscaster Shaista Jabeen’s tearful announcement that dreadful night in December:  “According to an agreement, Indian soldiers have now taken control of Dhaka.” The people in what remained of Pakistan were shocked beyond belief. For days they had been told that everything was normal in the eastern wing, despite the BBC giving a contrasting picture. As always, ...

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2018 has been the year of T20 for Pakistan – but that’s about it

I am that party pooper who would be the first to volunteer out of taking insane adrenaline pumping rides at the amusement park, because every experience I have had thus far has left me lightheaded for too long. Yet for some odd reason, I willingly choose to follow the Pakistani cricket team year after year, despite knowing very well that I am signing up for an emotional roller coaster ride that may have the highest crescendos but will also have the sharpest dips. This year kicked off in a free fall mode in New Zealand, where rain seemed like the ...

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Human Rights Day: What will you ‘celebrate’, Pakistan?

Every year, December 10th is marked as the Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that lists down basic human rights guaranteed to the population of the world. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this resolution. It is important to note that sustainable growth is not achievable until and unless the human rights of the world are protected. Besides commemorating 70 years of the resolution, we should vow to stand for the civil, economic, political and cultural rights of our people; after all, ...

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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 ...

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