Stories about India

#SayNoToWar: Airstrikes, blackouts and bunkers – that was my childhood

Learning new vocabulary and songs on the first day of school is a part of growing up; it’s a part of childhood memories. When I recall my memories, they are a little unusual. They are of war; the war of 1971 when East Pakistan was attacked. The lyrics of some of the ‘askari naghme’ (patriotic songs) sung by Madam Noor Jehan, such as Ay watan ke sajeeley jawanon (O brave men of the country) were the first to be embedded in my mind. Words like anti-aircraft, missile, trenches and blackouts were some of the first ones I learned in the English ...

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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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The intolerance behind #BoycottCareem and #BoycottSurfExcelIndia

As Careem takes down its controversial billboard ad featuring a runaway bride after being accused of promoting immoral ideas, one wonders about the real culprit behind this ongoing protest. With its target audience mostly consisting of youngsters growing up watching Moltyfoam’s pensive version of a Pakistani bride, the Careem bride simply couldn’t appease its customers’ androcentric worldview. Feminists have no sense of humour, a common grievance many have against people who are sensitive to sexist jokes, not realising how the same joke would offend them if tables were turned. This is what we recently witnessed in the reactions to Careem’s latest ad ...

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Always remember

“What’s my name?” “My beti.” “But what is it, really?” “My pyaari beti.” “Do you remember me?” I can almost hear you reply – only vaguely.   I watch you every day, In that same seat that you always occupy – With the sun glinting off your bald head. I watch as first you give up your laughter, Then your listening, Then your talking, Then yourself.   As I sit across the room, And become heavier and stronger, I watch you become weaker and smaller. I watch your appetite shrink, And the only food you truly want Is kept away from you, near the sink. It’s meant to protect your health, To ensure you don’t get confusions or even possible delusions.   Delusions of ...

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Why repealing Article 35A will bring unmanageable chaos for India

In 2014, the non-governmental organisation ‘We the Citizens’ attracted a large audience when it filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India questioning the validity of Article 35A. This was not the first time this article was questioned in court. It was also brought into the spotlight when Dr Charu Wali Khanna, a Kashmiri Pandit woman by ancestry, filed a petition to change the constitutional provision of Article 35A. She wanted succession rights in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), despite being adjusted outside the state. Since then, this article’s hearing has been postponed by the court, considering how this ...

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Why Israel is pushing for Pakistan and India to go to war

On February 27th, Israeli news publication Haaretz reported that India’s Air Force had used Israeli-made bombs in its recent Line of Control (LoC) violation against Pakistan, citing local news websites which had been briefed by Indian security sources. The reports allege that ‘five Mirage jets armed with Israeli-made Spice 2000 smart missiles attacked what New Delhi says was a terrorist training camp’ in Pakistan. While quietly hidden by the mainstream media, it actually transpires that Israel is a key weapons supplier to the Indian Army, with its current relationship estimated at approximately a billion dollars each year. In fact, India has ...

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How the Kashmir crisis threatens Russia’s interests in Pakistan and India

The world watched with bated breath as Pakistan and India narrowly escaped full-blown military conflict last week. But the Kashmir crisis demonstrates more than a bitter dispute between two nations. This volatile frontier provides a springboard from which a historic rivalry between two nuclear states could culminate, with potentially seismic consequences for its surrounding neighbours. Moscow’s readiness to mediate the tensions therefore comes as no surprise, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcoming Russian Foreign Minister Viktorovich Lavrov’s offers to host talks. As an ally of both countries, pressure mounts on Russia in particular, to abate tensions in ...

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Priyanka Chopra literally had one job to do – promote peace – and she failed

Bollywood celebrities are loved by Pakistanis and treated as their own, which is why it was particularly disheartening to see many of them quickly join the nationalist bandwagon in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and encourage military attacks against Pakistan. In no way was this more disappointing than it was in the case of Priyanka Chopra. Chopra is now a global celebrity, having won the Miss World competition, worked as a Bollywood and Hollywood actress as well as her brief stint as a musician. Being an international celebrity gives one the power to influence and inspire people all across the ...

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Why must Pakistan wait for international pressure to mount to tackle extremism?

The state has finally come out of a long slumber and has launched an operation to eliminate the religious extremist groups who are allegedly using Pakistan’s soil to create disturbances in India, Iran and Afghanistan. In the wake of the rift between Pakistan and India, this can be termed as a positive development since Pakistan is now keeping its word and investigating these non-state actors. According to Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, 44 people affiliated with extremist organisations, including Masood Azhar’s son and close relatives, have been arrested. The matter is under investigation and further action will be ...

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What did Pakistan achieve by boycotting the OIC?

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held its 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), in which it criticised India’s role in the Kashmir crisis. Making references to “intensified Indian barbarities” in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), persistent violation of Pakistani airspace and illegal detentions in the state of IoK, the OIC’s resolution was met with a sharp response from the Indian spokesperson, who stated that the issue remains internal to India. Despite inviting Sushma Swaraj as the guest of honour to the summit, the resolution leaned more in favour of Pakistan by praising Imran Khan’s decision to return Indian Air ...

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