Stories about Indian

Ram-Leela: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s visual treat to the world!

The moment I saw the first promo of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Ram-Leela, I decided I had to watch it. I did not think that it would change my views about world cinema, nor was it the most captivating promo one would ever see; but it did look absolutely stunning. I knew that it would be nothing less than a visual treat. However, before you classify me as a die-hard fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, let me clarify. I am not a huge Bhansali fan, I particularly did not like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (HDDCS) or Devdas and I could not bear Saawariya for 15 minutes. Having said that, ...

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Dark is beautiful in India but fair is lovely in Pakistan?

Switch on your telly. A tall beautiful girl is running through the field; or a sea of flowers, or walking through a bright mansion. A fashionable gown hugs her slim waist and her hair flows in the air flawlessly. She turns around. Looks at you with all the sexual appeal she can muster and bells tinkle as she speaks the three most important words in the world right now, “Buy these biscuits.” Biscuits can be used interchangeably with an insurance policy, shaving foam, ice cream, juice and even the down payment on a new garden estate near the city. The Pakistani audiences are mesmerised. Or are ...

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A bus ride with a convict, a drug dealer and an old lady

Travelling can help an individual understand different aspects of society and it also gives one a clearer perspective about the world. Having said as much, when I left Lahore to visit my home town Sialkot, I did not have the faintest idea as to what was in store for me! I reached the terminal, just in time to board a bus leaving for Sialkot. The weather was pleasant, so I decided to travel in a non-air conditioned bus. Although I had never been in a non-air conditioned bus before, I thought that this would save me money and perhaps, I could enjoy the weather ...

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Dear Indian patriots, my criticism of Pakistan isn’t for your benefit!

A signature feature of a liberal is his scathing, almost treacherous, criticism of his own country’s culture and political policies.  On the other hand, the mark of a nationalist is indiscriminately defending all that occurs on his side of the border, while flinging mud on those beyond. Hence, it isn’t difficult to understand why a Pakistani liberal and an Indian nationalist would naturally bond over a cup of coffee. Ever since I decided to ‘betray’ my homeland by consorting with the liberal folk, as some conservatives would put it, my list of Indian friends has been snowballing. I am not in any way insinuating ...

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A Pakistani in Amsterdam: Sexual harassment has no geographical location

As I climbed the stairs to my apartment, I could feel my legs giving up and my heart throbbing in my throat. I did not know if my friends realised what damage I had just incurred as we exited the bar nearby our apartments. The experience rendered me silent in shock, which is why I only walked away, hoping to reach home safe and sound, instead of smashing the faces of those two men who stereotyped, harassed, heckled, and belittled me in broad daylight. After dinner, two of my American friends and I left the bar for home. At the doorstep, ...

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Childhood memories of India

In the early 80s my parents, who were both Indians, settled in Pakistan and got married. Yet, somehow they never left India behind and thus began our annual tradition of travelling to Rampur, India each summer. As toddlers, my siblings and I loved the feeling of crossing the Wagah Border. We used to grin and wave at the Sikhs guarding the border who stood there tall and proud, flaunting their grand horses. And how can I forget the petrichor as we passed by the vast, barren fields – it was truly beautiful. For my parents, India was a safe haven ...

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A chat with a 21st century Pakistani patriot

Interviewer (I): Assalamu alaykum. My name is Sanjay. Patriot (P): Sanjay? Are you Indian? I: No, I’m Pakistani. P: How come? I: Well I was born and raised here. P: However, people of your belief are born and raised in India. Sanjay Dutt is an example. I: A large number of people of my belief live in Pakistan as well. Seen the white in our flag? P: Oh. That’s Odd. I: What do you think about Pakistan? P: I love my country. It’s a great country to live in. I: What do you like about Pakistan? P: I know the funded media is trying its best to ruin Pakistan’s image, but we need ...

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Indian elections: Give peace a chance, don’t vote for Modi

“Mr Prime Minister, the country wants to know – what is your priority? Is it national pride and respecting the blood of martyrs or is it to show eagerness to talk to Pakistan under pressure from other countries?”  This is how Narendra Modi addressed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a rather patriotic (or jingoistic) bid demanding to know his priorities. With such pressure from the opposition, Manmohan Singh has quite clearly shown reservations in resuming talks with Pakistan. Modi went on to state, “I want to ask you one question, when our soldiers and innocent citizens are being killed day and ...

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Miss American 2014: A tale of racism and sexism hand in hand

Though you may not care – and neither do I – on Sunday a “beauty” pageant was held here in the US. These are contests where a panel of judges evaluates a group of women on their looks, talents and answers to random questions. Then one of them is crowned “Miss something”. This one happened to be “Miss America“. As luck would have it, this year for the first time an Indian-American won the pageant. Her name is Nina Davuluri and her parents come from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Nina, however, was born in the state of New ...

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The day the Great Army split: When Hindus and Muslims were one

It’s hard to imagine that the brave soldiers of the India and Pakistan army who have been baying for each other’s blood since 1947 had earlier been comrades; that they are the same young men who once spilled their blood together in many a battle they fought flanked by their brothers and in the course of World War II in Italy, the Western Desert and Burma. These are the same brave-hearts who fought together almost incessantly along the passes and peaks of the Frontier, at Landi Kotal, and up and down the Khyber while their British colleagues paraded and drilled. The Pathans ...

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