Stories about Mahatma Gandhi

What happens to India now that Modi stays in power?

At the time of writing this piece, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is leading in 351 seats. This landslide victory belongs to Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for those who predicted the demise of the Modi wave did not realise how India’s electoral democracy works. When a magician like Modi – who knows the nuts and bolts of public perception – teams up with a shrewd election strategist like Amit Shah, together they create waves that win elections. If by divine grace they are blessed with an opponent as incompetent as Rahul Gandhi, such tides turn into ...

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Modi says ‘Hindus cannot be terrorists’ – so what does that make Godse then?

‘Hindus can never be terrorists,’ and ‘Hindus are not beef eaters’. India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) , and its patron Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), are very vehement when it comes to defending these two statements. They can even incite a lynch mob to prove their point. But why do they say that a Hindu can never be a terrorist? The BJP’s idea of India is a majoritarian state where the Hindu way of life takes precedence over all other faiths. In their worldview, it is important to clearly demarcate the Hindus from Muslims. It is sine qua non ...

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If India can release the terrorists behind Samjhauta Express, why should Pakistan do more than it already has done?

Over a week ago, Swami Aseemanand, a saffron-wearing culprit on trial for the Samjhauta Express attack, emerged out of the courtroom with a loud chant of ‘Jai Sri Ram’. He, alongside three others, had just been acquitted by the court due to an alleged lack of evidence. Ironically, during the investigation period Aseemanand boastfully confessed to his heinous crimes to sabotage peace. February 18, 2007 was a disastrous day for peace between India and Pakistan when Hindutva followers blew the Samjhauta Express with improvised explosive devices killing 70 passengers, a majority of whom were Pakistani. The incident took place near ...

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Can India really lecture Pakistan on secularism?

In what is almost certainly a first, the Indian army chief has found it prudent to lecture another country on how its state ought to function. While this may be a first, it sadly doesn’t come as a surprise. Institutions in India in the time of Narendra Modi are in disarray. Those that should assert themselves are being asserted upon – like the Election Commission of India, the Reserve Bank of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation and so on – while those institutions that should properly mind their own business feel like they now have the space to ...

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Before pointing the terrorism finger at Pakistan, it’ll be wise for India to take a look in their violent backyard first

While in Singapore, I met an Indian Hindu from Indian Gujarat, the state where I was born, in the hotel lobby. After exchanging pleasantries, he asked me, “And in which city do you live now?” When I said Karachi, he was shocked. “But that’s in Pakistan!” And then, when the truth dawned on him, he said, “You’re a Pakistani as well as a Muslim?!” He started edging away from me and I had to assure him that I wasn’t about to blow him up. Like most Indian Hindus, he had always believed that most Pakistanis cannot speak English, that they are too poor to afford vacations ...

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India boycotting Chinese goods is like cutting your nose to spite your face

As the standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam in Bhutan continues, the clamour to boycott Chinese goods in India is rising. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has organised a 15-day ‘Boycott Chinese Products’ campaign.  The RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, says the nationwide campaign is to raise awareness against using Chinese goods. The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), an RSS affiliate, claims that the campaign has received huge support. A rally has been planned on October 29th at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to conclude the campaign. For some, boycotting Chinese goods is now the ultimate way of proving his or her credentials as a nationalist. And nationalism, with its twisted ...

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Rangoon is an example of how a gifted director is wasting his talent

There’s a line in the film where Saif Ali Khan tells a British officer, “We’re actors; we know how to convince people.” I am sorry to burst your bubble here Chote Nawab, but regrettably your statement falls completely flat on its face if the said performers are asked to work with a wearingly long and complicatedly patchy screenplay. Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon (2017)Photo: IMDb At 167 minutes, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Rangoon isn’t just a drag but also tediously stuffed with a hotchpotch of multiple storylines. Rangoon takes us back to 1940s Hindustan, against the backdrop of contrasting independence ideologies of dovish Mahatma Gandhi and hawkish Subhash Chandra ...

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Why has non-violent India become so violent?

India carries somewhat of a reputation globally as the home of spirituality and a champion of non-violence. The combined legacies of Emperor Ashoka, Gautam Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and many other renowned gurus and sages have left an imprint on the way India seeks to carry itself on the world stage and also to an extent how the rest of the world perceives it. Many seekers of wisdom and inner peace make their way to India, hoping to find a path to spirituality and enlightenment. Some succeed in finding what they were looking for, while others return with disappointment, disillusionment, and ...

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Religion and feminism: Why women in India are fighting for a place in temples

It’s time we remove the decadent practices that discriminate against people belonging to marginalised sections of society, especially women, from entering religious places of worship. On January 26, while most Indians celebrated the participation of an all-women’s contingent during India’s Republic Day Parade, 400 strong women activists did what has never been done before: they forcefully tried to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra to break an age old custom that prevents women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The attempt was a symbolic act to assert women’s rights and fight patriarchy. Indian women have for long struggled to attain gender equality, and ...

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Pakistan and India don’t need Trump to manage their affairs!

Adolf Hitler had forewarned the world about his wicked intentions in Mein Kampf in 1925, years before he implemented his satanic plans of exterminating the Jews from the world. He wrote in the book: “Hence, today, I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: ‘By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” Yet, the international community did not pay heed to Hitler and the Germans went on to democratically elect him with a thumping majority. The rest is history. Imagine someone like Hitler heading the most powerful country in the world. It ...

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