Stories about Indians

Not even after 70 years of independence can democracy in India be taken for granted

A couple of weeks back, India celebrated the 70th anniversary of its independence from the British colonial rule. For seven decades, India has remained the world’s most populous democracy. It is almost the only country in the developing world that has steadfastly adhered to peaceful transition of power through electoral means. In the past two decades, India has also been seen as a democratic alternative to communist China in the emerging global power configuration. However, after 40 months of Narendra Modi being the prime minister of India, there are now serious doubts over the regular continuation of the democratic arrangement in India. Indian democracy had ...

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Comparing a Muslim name to Hitler is not only factually wrong but also boorish

Gone are the days when naming a baby was a simple task. However, the millennial city-bred parents are different. Their babies names are no longer about sounding meaningful, cute or easy to pronounce. In fact, the more difficult the name is to remember, the better. This is the reason why we have names ranging from Viviaan, Aarav, Riyan to Niarra, instead of Amit, Sumit, Rohit and/or Neha. Talking about the celebrity class, well, they are a step ahead of thinking outside the box. This is inherently why they all have babies with such unique names – no cattle class would even dare ...

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Game of zones: Why India must resolve its issues with both its nuclear neighbours, Pakistan and China

While framing this piece in my mind, I was stuck in a conundrum. Why am I writing a blog at a time when everyone is probably watching Game of Thrones (GoT)? Simply enough, an answer came to mind. Apart from the very few people who do not watch the series, everyone is interested in real life power struggles as well. Hence, the name game of zones, conflict zones to be exact. I read an article recently, which quoted a Chinese analyst saying that the Indian government should avoid opening two fronts. This was of course an apparent reference to its neighbours, Pakistan and China. Pakistan has ...

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Who is a Pakistani? A Muslim? A desperate migrant? Different from an Indian? A caged woman?

Over the past two years, I have travelled to 15 countries, either by myself or with friends. Before this nomadic lifestyle of mine, I had lived my entire life within a bubble in Pakistan, and honestly, the question of what it meant to be a Pakistani never occurred to me. But as I travelled and met more people whose cultures and values were as foreign to me as mine were to them, my innate assumptions about the notion of the Pakistani identity were challenged. Numerous people helped me reflect on the overarching perceptions of my country. I was a medium through which they could know more about a ...

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Dear Pakistan, I know our history is complicated, but our friendship is greater. Love, India

When I was a little girl, it was customary for our family to watch at least one new movie every month. Back then, movie titles were always displayed in English, Hindi and Urdu. Therefore, while English remained my primary language of communication, I ended up speaking both Hindi and Urdu fluently. I grew up in Mumbai which has a strong cosmopolitan culture. I grew up with friends and neighbours from different faiths, and was simultaneously introduced to Diwali and Eid, to Navratra and Ramazan, even as my friends got to know more about Christmas and Lent. It was because of this multi-cultural experience that I got to learn so much about the ...

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Mob justice is a slippery slope that India must not slide down from

As much as India is the land of dharma, the Buddha, Ashoka, and Gandhi, it is also a land that has been witness to untold violence and bloodshed over the centuries. There have been bloody invasions, conquests, internal clashes, and social divisions, all of which have perhaps left as much of an imprint on the collective psyche of Indian society as the great saints and yogis who preached their message of peace and love. This dichotomy manifests itself in modern India as well. At one level, 1.2 billion people co-exist relatively peacefully amidst scarcity, inequality, and intense competition for resources. On the other hand, there are ...

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India’s problem is not Pakistan; India’s problem is India

A self-confessed Indian spy was caught in Pakistan to be sentenced to death, so some people in Mumbai went to an apparel outlet and stomped on clothes that were made in Pakistan. Sometimes, facts can be more absurd than fiction. The store, the ever popular Zara, that carries clothes made in multiple countries, was accosted by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Hindu hardliners and Indian nationalists all in one, the party is known to take extreme stances on multiple issues concerning Muslims, cows, Pakistan, etcetera. The violence that the party usually propagates is interestingly in direct contrast with the glossy image India reflects to the world; the land of breakthrough ...

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Why Pakistanis are happier than Indians

The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations on March 20, 2017 – to coincide with International Happiness day – has ranked India at the bottom of the pyramid, in terms of happiness of its citizens. India has been ranked 122 out of 145 countries, even below Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. These findings are based on evaluating the responses to a structured questionnaire sent to around 3,000 respondents who were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of zero to 10, where zero represents the worst possible life and 10 the best. The questionnaire covers six key variables like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life ...

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What’s aiding Pakistan

I was recently in Pakistan after a long gap and observed first-hand how the country functions. After years of learning about Pakistan through electronic media and personal accounts of recent immigrants in North America, I was a bit guarded when it came to what I would find in the country. Most of the experiences I heard about from people returning from Pakistan ranged from bad to catastrophic. What I found was a country that was crazy and chaotic yet chugging along. Below are some things that I walked away with: 1. In all the companies that I have worked for in ...

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Dear men, a short skirt, bikini and even a naked female is not an invitation

India is in the news once again, and for all the wrong reasons yet again. An instance of mass molestation in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve has put the country under the radar. An estimated 60,000 people gathered on MG Road and Brigade road to join in the celebrations ushering in 2017. Reports state that members of the crowd turned unruly and a large number of women were harassed and groped. And as has happened previously, ministers have been making asinine statements while trying to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the crime to the victims. Ministers have been known ...

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