Mumbai (2013-06-17): There can be nothing but a sense of foreboding in the way politics is unfolding in northern and eastern India. The person of contention meanwhile is ensconced in western India. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is gasping for breath as one of its main constituents the JD(U) has walked away. The JD(U) broke its 17 year old alliance with the BJP because Narendra Modi was appointed as the campaign chief for the 2014 general election. Modi has not yet been named as the PM candidate nor has he been chosen as campaign manager for the NDA, yet Nitish Kumar would not go along with the Hindutva agenda of a BJP under Modi.
Mumbai (2013-06-10): Unlike in the novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid and later the film, the Indian Reluctant Fundamentalist is not going to turn into a fundamentalist. He was always a fundamentalist, but is now reluctant to accept that there is another fundamentalist who is more acceptable to his own party.
Mumbai (2013-06-03): You will need loads of patience and humour, in equal quantities. Travelling in India is like a reality survival show, but it has its charm, which you will realise 10 years from now while recounting the hair-raising experiences. If like me, you take your kids with you everywhere then you need all the help you can get and more.
Mumbai (2013-05-27): Recently at the UPA bash to celebrate nine years of the coalition in power, Sonia Gandhi had admonished reporters saying, “You Dilliwallahs know nothing about the feelings of the people.” She was right, many metro-based reporters are divorced from the reality of the country’s hinterlands. But then so are many of our Delhi-based politicians, who live in colonial bungalows, surrounded by government-appointed liveried staff and security. They step out from their cocoons into the heat and dust of real India only during elections and for token visits to their constituencies.
Mumbai (2013-05-20): As political slogans go, the one that Nawaz Sharif actually used in the 1980s was Jaag Punjabi Jaag, Teri Pug Nu Lugya Daag (Rise Punjabi rise, your pugdi’s honour is at stake). But today, the slogan more apt for the Pakistani prime minister designate is the one in the headline: Rise Punjabi rise, your country is up in flames. Chaos, murder and mayhem continue unabated in Pakistan despite a seemingly successful conclusion of their elections nine days ago. The new governments at the centre and in the provinces have not yet been sworn in.
Mumbai (2013-05-13): We are two important state elections down in recent times, a few more to go before the general elections and you almost feel like yelling ENOUGH ALREADY. If the BJP was afflicted with severe ‘chest thumpingitis’ after the Gujarat elections, the Congress party is prancing like a frolicking puppy after the Karnataka polls. And on the sidelines, the Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (U), Trinamool Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are rolling up their sleeves for an early election.
Mumbai (2013-05-06): Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay is on life support in a Chandigarh hospital, with very slim chances of survival. He was randomly targeted by his prison inmates to revenge the killing of Sarabjit Singh in Lahore’s infamous Kot Lakhpat jail. No one knows if this is the end of the bloodletting or more will follow.
Mumbai (2013-04-29): Democracy is said to be the antidote to terrorism but in Pakistan, the entire democratic process is terminally ill. The May 11th general election is touted as historic because it records the first time in 66 years that an elected government shall hand over power to another elected government. But it is hardly a free and fair election when three major political parties can’t conduct their election campaigns. In such circumstances, the election results will not be indicative of the will of the people.
Mumbai (2013-04-22): It’s about time we face the fact that terrorists have no nationalities. They must be treated as enemy combatants in every country. Terrorists should not be protected simply because they carry a passport of that particular country.
Mumbai (2013-04-15): The past week has seen reopening of wounds that never healed. Of the riots of 1984, interviews with survivors, plotters, absconders and apologists. From newspapers to television, the images and voices brought back the horrors that one wanted to forget. There is no closure for anyone who has witnessed a riot. It tears the fabric of your neighbourhood, your friendships, of your relationships sustained and nurtured over generations.
Mumbai (2013-04-08): Flashing headlines across the world declaring India as the world’s rape capital is making many of us cringe. The government insists it’s not all that bad and tourism hasn’t got hit, but industry says there is a 25 per cent drop in foreign tourist traffic and a 35 per cent drop in female travelers coming to India.Some hotels think that complementary spa treatment for women would increase female tourist traffic! Err…maybe a panic button in the room is more realistic?
Mumbai (2013-04-01): Blame it on Spring fever, or old men in a hurry, or too long a period of stability. There is a rapid movement towards the formation of a Third Front, an alternative to the BJP and the Congress. It was in these very pages that this columnist had written last year of the expeditious coming together of regional satraps frustrated at waiting on the sidelines and not getting their due in Delhi.
|I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.|
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