From Allahabad to Prayagraj: Is India reclaiming its history?

In post-independence India, Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai, Calcutta became Kolkata, Mysore became Mysuru, Bangalore became Bengaluru, and now Allahabad has become Prayagraj. Then, before the row over Allahabad showed any signs of settling down, there emerged demands to rename Muzaffarnagar to Laxminagar. The love to change names from the past continues after more than 70 long years of India’s independence, and it will most likely continue on in the future as well. Although we talk of India as an emergent world power, it seems that the hangover of history is not yet over; it still lays buried ...

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A lesson for Kashmiris from Manan Wani: “We cannot let the occupation manoeuvre us any longer”

As I pursue my PhD, more often than not I find myself going through and posting on social media on matters ranging from political and social issues to, of course, poetry. However, when Manan Bashir Wani, a PhD scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), joined the Hizbul Mujahideen earlier this year to fight the Indian occupation of Kashmir, I found I had nothing to say. The reason for my silence was primarily the knowledge that from the day one becomes a freedom fighter in present day Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), they don’t get to live for more than six months. Added to this was ...

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Should Saudi Arabia be a part of CPEC?

From the word go, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been under a heavy burden of expectations from all sides. As a result, they are trying to satisfy every front as quickly as they can. However, it seems that this is proving to be too much for them and they are creating all sorts of confusion. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one such project where this confusion is still brewing. Recently, news has been circulating that Saudi Arabia will be joining CPEC. It is still unclear what role they would play, whether they will be a strategic partner, an investor ...

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How Modi convinced India to celebrate a ‘surgical strike’ that never actually happened

Sparta, a warrior city in ancient Greece, was known for the ferocity of its soldiers. But while its soldiers might have been the best in the ancient world, its citizens were not far behind when it came to verbal jibes, particularly one-liners. For instance, Philip II of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great, had conquered almost every other Greek city-state. Sparta was the only one left, and that too, a relatively weak state without walls. Obviously, Philip II dispatched a messenger who delivered the Macedonian King’s message, “If I invade Lakonia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” The Spartans ...

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Brett Kavanugh vs Christine Blasey Ford: Don’t send an assaulter to the Supreme Court bench!

Christine Blasey Ford recently accused an attorney and a sitting judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her in the early 80s, when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh was nominated for a position in the Supreme Court by Donald Trump and after finding out that her perpetrator may go on to be a part of the top court, her civic duty compelled her to bring her past into the spotlight.  The Senate held a hearing for this purpose, to decide whether or not Ford’s allegations hold some truth. Kavanaugh testified ...

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Talks on, talks off: Modi, a prisoner of the past, is afraid of peace

Does the Indian government have a coherent policy towards Pakistan? Is ‘adhocism’ now the mantra followed by India’s foreign policy?  After the abrupt cancellation of talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan by New Delhi, the aforementioned questions – which were only whispered earlier – are now being raised loud and clear.  India has not been taken for such a ride by its own government before, the way it is under the Narendra Modi regime. Never before has a party with such an overwhelming majority treated its own people so shabbily. What the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been doing ...

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September 18, 2018
 Shahnam Ali
TOPICS

Stepping into the void: A magical journey to the picturesque Swiss and French Alps

The mountains are calling and I must go – this is what I told myself while planning my summer vacation. Selecting Switzerland was a no-brainer, as it remains one of the most sought after and popular destinations for tourists around the world, thanks to its alpine peaks, mountain vistas and magical landscape. I started my European journey from Chur, reportedly the oldest town in Switzerland, and made my way to the Glacier Express, dubbed the world’s fastest slow train. This is a panoramic train which reaches Zermatt, a Swiss mountain resort, passing through spectacular lakes, enormous mountains and breath-taking landscapes. [caption ...

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A day trip to the micronation of Andorra, a jewel hidden between European giants

Sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains, very few have heard of the micronation that is Andorra. I too only came across this tiny European country on Google Maps while I was planning my Euro tour. With a total area of only 468 kilometre square and a population of almost 77,000 people, it attracts over 10 million tourists annually, which is where 80% of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from. Seeing its beauty and its unusual size, it didn’t take long for me to include it in my itinerary as I planned to visit every single state in ...

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17 years later, can the US grow out of the 9/11 mindset?

Just about a couple of days ago, on the eve of yet another 9/11 anniversary, I was telling a friend how painful these past 17 years have been for the US. What happened that dreadful September morning was nothing less than a shock to the American system; a jolt of unprecedented proportions that we, as a nation, still haven’t been able to get over or recover from in more than several different ways. September 11, 2001 changed America and the rest of the world forever. It tore apart the settled norms and values. It uprooted age-old beliefs that America must ...

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India’s undeclared emergency: Dear BJP, arresting a citizen for calling you ‘fascist’ makes you… a fascist!

Dissent breathes life into a democracy, which is why when you stifle free speech, you strangle your democracy. Sadly, freedom of speech and democracy have never felt as suffocated in India as they feel today.  The latest example of this is the detention of 28-year-old Lois Sofia at an airport in Tamil Nadu, for the crime of shouting a slogan against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The incident escalated because Sofia shouted in front of the Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, “Fascist BJP government down, down.” This is a normal way of expressing displeasure and discontent with the functioning of ...

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