Akbar the Great who? – Did BJP just eliminate the Mughals from their textbooks to promote its Hindutva ideology?

The Express Tribune and Indian media reported earlier this week on the extensive changes made to history textbooks for grade seven and 11 by the state government in Maharashtra. As has been the case since it first came to power in 1998, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remains committed to a saffron revisioning of history. One of the first things the BJP did on assuming power 19 years ago was to form a National Curriculum Framework which started to revise school syllabi in 2000. The primary changes made in school curricula were those emphasising the Hindutva ideology. A concerted attempt was made to exclude freedom fighters and ...

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Will the Masuka draft law be able to put an end to mob lynching in India?

Since Narendra Modi’s government came into power in 2014, incidents of cow-related violence increased substantially. According to an Observer Research Foundation analysis, in January 2011, 5% of lynching incidents were related to cows or Gau Rakshaks (cow protectors). This number rose to 20% in June. A recent report by ‘India Spend’ reveals that 97% of all attacks by Gau Rakshaks between 2010 and 2017 were recounted after the Modi government came to power. Majority of the cases have been reported from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states. Furthermore, 61 of 63 cases were registered after the formation of Gau Raksha Dals and the implementation of the beef ban. Increasingly, there has been ...

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When models are seen and treated as professional hangers, and young impressionable girls want to be just like them

The fashion industry is a confusing place. On one hand, it empowers women by employing them, giving them space in the public sphere and by creating an area ruled by women. On the other hand, while it does all those wonderful things, it also puts women in the public eye (literally) in order to be judged and scrutinized. In order for models to stay in the modelling business, they have to isolate themselves from their desires, especially if their desire is to have the food of their choice. The obsession with being a size zero has spiralled out of control. Being slim and skinny ...

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Did Iran make a historical mistake by signing a nuclear deal with the US?

It was reported in the Washington Post that the US Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, said the following words, “I would like to assure the North Koreans that the USA is not their enemy; does not want any harm to come to them; they have nothing to be afraid of; the US does not seek regime change or the forced unification of the Korean peninsula, and the North Koreans need have no fear of any military invasion from the USA.” He then went on to say that the North Korean ballistic missile program is a serious threat to the US. Therefore, it is exerting peaceful pressure ...

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Are acid attacks becoming a commonality in the UK because they are treated as a minor offence?

Picture the following domestic scene: A woman hovering over a tawwa (stove), folding dough balls whilst the gas flame flickers gently under the cast iron. Behind her, a shadowy figure, wanting no blame and careful to hide their presence, opens up the cylindrical lever on the gas supply. Barely an instant passes before the light hits her eyes; eyes which will never be able to see themselves in a reflection in quite the same way. This was the old way, my mother tells me. This punishment for women, for what was perceived to be a social crime (normally domestic), would result in a woman becoming ...

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A ban on transgender individuals in the military has no ethical or logical justification, Donald Trump

Christopher T Beck was a US Navy SEAL for 20 years. Beck was part of the elite anti-terrorism unit known popularly as SEAL Team Six and was decorated with the Bronze Star (distinguished performance) and Purple Heart (for wounds suffered in combat).  After retiring in 2011, Beck began the transition that would allow his emotional maturation and identity consolidation he had long yearned for. Let me correct myself, that she had long yearned for. Today, Christopher is Kristin Beck, a trans woman that had to wait for her military career to be over before she could be who she wanted to be. She ...

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Is Ram Nath Kovind’s appointment as president expected to wash away the scars inflicted on the Dalit community?

When Ram Nath Kovind and his family were denied entry into the presidential retreat in Shimla, little did he know that fate would end up making this same presidential retreat his summer abode. Fast forward two months down the lane after this incident, the 71-year-old former lawyer and state governor was elected as India’s second Dalit president. Before June 19th, the day the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) elected Kovind as its presidential candidate, nobody really knew the man that was running for the country’s highest constitutional post. His nomination not only surprised political watchers but also surprised the common man. The only time Kovind came into the national ...

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Is there a leadership failure in the Indian Army?

Recently, there was a fratricide incident in the Kashmir valley. A jawan (soldier) was reprimanded by his superior officer for using a cell phone on duty. In return, the jawan shot him. This unfortunate incident has been quoted in sections of the media as an example of junior leadership and man-management failure. This has been linked to reports that the Indian army has over 100 stress-related suicides per year due to junior leadership failures. While the loss of even one trained soldier is unacceptable, suicides may still occur and be accepted but fratricide is and will always remain unacceptable. The Indian army is over one million strong. With such a large force, there would always ...

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Sean Spicer may just be the first in the long list of those quitting on Donald Trump

Change is the only constant in Washington. We know that. However, whereas Fridays are usually on the slower and uneventful side, this past Friday, July 21, 2017, was one hell of an exception. It was anything but slow or uneventful. In fact, it turned out to be one of those Fridays when you know before noon that today is going to be “that” Friday! As if Donald Trump’s New York Times interview earlier in the week was not enough to create a furor, the appointment of Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as the White House (WH) communications director triggered a counter reaction from an otherwise unquestioning and ...

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How can China fight for climate change but completely disregard human rights?

Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident, died of liver cancer on July 13th while serving an 11-year prison term for ‘inciting subversion of state power’. His imprisonment and subsequent death illustrates China’s total disregard of world opinion on human rights, sitting oddly with the volume of its morally correct rhetoric on climate change. Neither Xiaobo’s international stature nor Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi could protect them. Xiaobo’s 2009 conviction earned him an 11-year prison sentence and the Nobel Peace Prize, which strengthened the determination of China’s dissidents to obtain multi-party rule. Six years after Xiaobo’s imprisonment, this movement had started alarming China’s leadership. Accordingly, China’s ...

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