How Greta Thunberg galvanised the crowds at COP25

The arrival of the 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg at the IFEMA Conference Centre in Madrid, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2019 (COP25) is being held, suddenly electrified the otherwise uneventful climate moot. She was quickly mobbed by youth delegates and negotiators keen to take pictures of the inspiring young leader who has become a global celebrity in little over a year. In fact, she left shortly afterwards to return to the city centre to lead a massive climate march later that Friday evening. When I first heard Thunberg speak at COP24 in Katowice, Poland she was just ...

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Why did students protest against a Muslim teaching Sanskrit in India?

India has quite a few institutes which teach Sanskrit, and often times interested people from different parts of the world attend classes to learn the ancient language. In the 19th century, German Max Mueller learnt Sanskrit and translated the ancient Vedic texts into English and other languages. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit at a time when the world was not exposed to India the way it is now. His translation of the Indian ancient texts helped ensure that the world had access to India’s philosophical and cultural treasures. This cultural exchange has been part of the civilisational history of South Asia, and the Indian ...

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India’s Kashmir propaganda: A leaf out of Israel’s book – Part 2

This article is the second piece in a two part series which adopts a historical perspective in order to analyse just how closely India’s actions in Kashmir over the years have mirrored Israel’s policies in Palestine. Read part one here.  ~ Attempts to hide occupation, annexation and war crimes behind a shroud of ‘legality’ ‘The British gave us Palestine’ is a common Zionist refrain, citing the Balfour Declaration. Yet another example of brittle Hasbara backed only by powerful Zionist media influence, the 1917 Balfour Declaration held no legal validity since Palestine at the time Lord Balfour made his ‘promise’ to Lord Walter Rothschild ...

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India’s Kashmir propaganda: A leaf out of Israel’s book – Part 1

This article is the first in a two part series which adopts a historical perspective in order to analyse just how closely India’s actions in Kashmir over the years have mirrored Israel’s policies in Palestine.  ~ Merely comparing the human-rights situation hasn’t ever sufficed, so let’s get down to the serious comparisons. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leading India is clearly fond of Israel, but India, regardless of its ruling party, has been close to Israel in strategic terms for a long time. From Israeli support to India in wars against Pakistan to India’s status as Israel’s largest weapons market, Indo-Israeli ties are very ...

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The Ayodhya verdict and the veneer of Indian secularism

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour earlier in the week, Iltija Mufti, daughter of the former chief minister of occupied Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti, stated that India is “turning into a cesspool of bigotry, selective persecution, of hatred against minorities, and this is not the country I grew up in.” It appears that the Narendra Modi government has been doing its best to ensure that it continues to lend validity to these claims, however, in light of the Ayodhya verdict, it seems that the Indian Supreme Court has also joined the party.  Now, let me first preface this by saying that highlighting the great disservice ...

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What does the future hold for Kashmir?

The ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act’ put forward by the Indian Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, occupies a central role in the deteriorating bilateral relations between the nuclear–armed neighbours and the worsening domestic conditions in the region. Pakistan’s demands for justice against the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) is being spearheaded by Prime Minster Imran Khan, who has termed India’s actions “a war crime” and a violation of 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions. While little headway is being made to restore the previous status quo, Imran’s efforts have materialised with six lawmakers from the United States ...

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For us Indians, the Kartarpur Corridor represents hope

The Kartarpur corridor shows that although the people of  the subcontinent may have been divided by man-made boundaries, they still share a great deal of history and culture. It also demonstrates that political hostility between the two neighbours should never become subservient to the goodwill shared by people on both sides of the border. In that sense, the corridor is a corridor of possibility and hope. This development is all the more remarkable given that it takes place at a time when the hostility between India and Pakistan is at an all-time high. Currently, even the concept of potential dialogue between the two ...

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Why the alleged spat with WWE epitomises Mohammad bin Salman as a leader

In recent news, the famous American World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is apparently in a spat with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It was initially reported that the latter had not paid the former their dues for two special events held in Saudi Arabia this year and reportedly owes WWE Chairman Vince McMahon between $300 and 500 million. Additionally, WWE wrestlers missed a show scheduled immediately after the last Saudi event after Salman ‘retaliated’ to McMahon threatening to cut off the Crown Jewel live television feed by ordering that the departee wrestlers are taken off their flight out of the ...

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The falsehood that is the ‘Persian-Arab conflict’ narrative

Discredited and archaic explanatory frameworks are superposed onto geopolitical conflicts and rivalries at the expense of an accurate appraisal of what truly drives them. The ‘Persian-Arab conflict’ narrative used to explain the nature of ties between Iran and certain Arab states is fraudulent from top to bottom, yet persists on the crutches of what increasingly seems an intentional muddying of the waters regarding what drives the rivalries seen in the Middle East. These rivalries revolve around conflict: pushing for friendly regimes in strategically placed states, outreach to sympathetic non-state actors and ideologically similar grassroots movements to counter those aligned with ...

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Is a peace deal in Afghanistan possible?

After a month-long thaw starting from last September, the Afghan peace process has now started to gain some momentum. United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul yesterday to discuss the future of peace talks with the Taliban. On Friday, Moscow hosted Khalilzad, along with Chinese and Pakistani representatives, to find a way for the resumption of the negotiations with the Taliban. Last week, Khalilzad and European Union envoy Roland Kobia, issued a comprehensive communique acknowledging that “sustainable peace can only be achieved through a negotiated political settlement.” However, these intra-Afghan negotiations between the ...

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