Stories about Lok Sabha

Rahul Gandhi pulled a Modi, but what does it signify?

The Indian parliament witnessed an unusual scene that has become the talking point of the recent no-confidence motion initiated by the opposition against the Narendra Modi government. On Friday, after making his speech against the government, Rahul Gandhi surprised all – especially Modi himself – by going across the aisle and hugging him. Modi was visibly caught off guard, but recovered quickly and shook hands with Rahul. The gesture drew censure from the speaker of the house, and yet it represented a bipartisanship that has been eroding for some time now from the Indian political landscape. #WATCH Rahul Gandhi walked ...

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Does removing Jinnah’s portrait prove that India is still bitter about the Partition?

In 1938, the then president of the All India Muslim League (AIML), Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was made a lifetime member of the Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) student union. In accordance with this honour, a portrait of him was placed on the union’s walls. The portrait is an interesting one, for it depicts Jinnah in the early days of his transition. He has his Karakul cap on, depicting the transition from Jinnah the liberal, moderate Indian nationalist, to the Quaid-e-Azam that Pakistan would know as the father of the nation. AMU played a very important role in the history of ...

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India may be the world’s largest democracy, but ‘Newton’ shows the struggles prevalent within

Recently, Bollywood has been producing movies that range from romantic flicks to action-packed extravaganzas and it has been slightly redundant. Thus, Newton comes as a breath of fresh air to Indian cinema. Directed by Amit Masurkar, this movie has been chosen as India’s official entry for the Oscars. That itself, sets up a pretty high standard. The trailer itself is powerful enough to compel you to watch the movie. The movie tells the tale of Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao), a government clerk who recently started his career. Despite his lack of experience, he is sent on a mission to conduct fair Lok Sabha elections in a Naxalite-Maoist ...

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Dear Paresh Rawal, “you can change friends, but not neighbours”. Love, Pakistan

Dear Paresh Rawal, Writing this letter to you was difficult since I did not know where to begin, and I feel that the rapidly changing dynamics of India-Pakistan relations and this letter are quite similar in this regard. However, let us focus on the reason why I have written this letter before we get on to the seesaw that our countries have been riding over the last seven decades. Hera Pheri was your first movie I watched in my childhood, and believe me when I say it still triggers fits of laughter every single time I watch it. Babu bhaiya has thousands of fans in your ...

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Thank you, Modi, for proving that partition saved the subcontinent’s Muslims from extinction

Dear Mr Narendra Modi, I was not at all surprised that your party, Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP), swept the recent Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections. You ran your campaign on an anti-Muslim platform, you convinced most of the UP Hindus that Muslims in their state are Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents and that Muslims would not vote for your party, therefore they voted en masse for BJP. In fact, to appear anti-Muslim, you did not field a single Muslim candidate despite the notion that there are more than 40 million Muslims in UP! So, in spite of the Muslim population of UP being over 20% of the total population, the ...

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Do our ministers really deserve a shameless 146% increase in salary?

I have to interact frequently with our tax collectors, and since our lawmakers don’t have to pay taxes, they have no idea of the torture the average businessman has to suffer. The following dialogue explains how the common man is taxed heavily and, since lawmakers don’t have to pay taxes, they thought it fit to increase their salaries recently: Tax collector: What do you do? Common man: I run a business. Tax collector: Well, pay professional tax then! What are you doing in your business? Common man: Selling goods. Tax collector: Pay sales tax then! From where are you getting your goods from? Common man: ...

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Can a journalist in India write against Modi or the RSS?

A few days ago, a journalist friend of mine was laconically told by his editor that he would not be allowed to write against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), apparently because “we should allow the BJP government to enjoy its honeymoon for a while”. Ironically, the very next day, I was told that the very same editor wrote a pro-Modi article, eulogising the Hindu nationalist leader to the extent that would make the bhakts (admirers) explode with delight. When he protested and entreated the powers-that-be to vent his views on critical issues plaguing the ...

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‘Mission Kashmir’ and BJP’s election agenda

While riding high on the Modi wave, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the 2014 Indian general elections (parliamentary and Lok Sabha polls) and formed a stable government in New Delhi. But quite amusingly, the saffron brigade has now set its aggressive eyes on ‘Mission Kashmir’. Not only does the party intend to secure victory in improbable 44 assembly segments out of a total of 87, it also has a plan to install a Hindu chief minister in Muslim-dominated Jammu and Kashmir. The five-phased assembly elections in the disputed Himalayan region are scheduled to commence from November 25, 2014. Just weeks after the ...

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Indian-occupied Kashmir under Omar Abdullah: Six years of disaster

In Kashmir, politics has always been a game of possibilities, and it remains so even today. So long as the ‘core issue’ remains unattended, neither any change in the political leadership – in mainland India, in Pakistan or in Kashmir – nor any economic package or assistance really makes a difference. And today’s politically-motivated relief camps stand in the row. Deep inside their hearts, all political parties know the extent of their political acceptance. No politician, howsoever articulate and famous, has won an election in Kashmir unless the subtlety of his election campaign encompassed decisive elements of the freedom narrative. So the rules ...

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A plea to India

Being a Pakistani with ties to India has put me in some difficult positions. For years I have tried to remove misconceptions and disprove stagnant theories on both side of the border. One thing that I had to talk about at length was the freedoms and societal positions of minorities in each country. Most of the people I interacted with did not have first-hand experience and would base their arguments on ‘official’ texts and school curriculum, which were heavily slated against the side. It’s a different situation now; the media is more open than it was in my teenage years ...

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