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Love Jihad? What Rubbish!
Mitali Saran

There's something ill about a society that is perfectly comfortable with violence and control but frowns on consensual relationships. And there's something particularly grotesque about a party that will cold-bloodedly use relationships as a political weapon. Just to be clear, "love jihad" -- a concept that claims that Muslim men court Hindu women to convert them to Islam purely to take over India -- doesn't exist.  It simply isn't a thing. It's a conspiracy theory. ….

 

Even the conversions as a result of love marriages are mostly voluntary if not by heart, the reason being that most of Muslim boys do not like to flout its religious position, which disallows marriages with polytheists. Fallen in love, girls prefer to marry even if it means abandoning their religion. This is among many compromises that the couples make in order to marry one another. What is however is not being debated at all in the mainstream media is that if any forced conversion is taking place in India, it is the conversion of Muslims to Hinduism…..

Muslims Should Respond To the Divisive ‘Love Jihad’ Campaign with Friendship towards Secular Hindus

Some Muslims may be getting angry and worried at such a harmful eventuality in the nation and they may be thinking that maybe they should separate themselves from Hindus or build their own Muslim groups to provide political and social protection to them. However the fact remains that despite such troublemaking attempts by a few nefarious extremist elements, most Hindus remain secular and treat Muslim Indians as their fellow citizens. Countless Hindus and Muslims rub shoulders in schools, colleges, offices, factories, farms, places of work and places of entertainment like Melas, sporting events etc. And they have the same dreams and worries and plans to improve themselves……

‘I Was Raped Hundreds of Times, By the Man I Was Married To’
Farahnaz Zahidi

Naila’s saviours came in the form of some friends who made her realise that religion neither condoned nor allowed a man to be physically cruel to his wife, even when it came to spousal physical rights…….

The Saffron Dance: What Next?
Sidharth Bhatia

There are many similar songs in Hindi cinema — Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj from Baiju Bawra has a similar pedigree. Actors routinely play roles of characters from another religion. The secular character of the Hindi film industry is well known and is taken for granted. India’s traditional culture too is imbued with the same spirit; we don’t make a big deal of it. That very spirit that makes India what it is, a diverse land with a multitude of religions, ethnicities, languages and dialects. It has its fault lines and conflicts, but the character has survived centuries — whoever came here got absorbed into the larger whole. The phrase unity in diversity, often used by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s enlightened and visionary first Prime Minister, was no cliché — it summed up the ethos of the nation. Despite provocations and crises, that ethos has survived……

 
A New Age Dawns Over Kashmir
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

A New Age Dawns Over Kashmir
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Sometimes blessings come in disguise. The recent flood crisis in Kashmir is an example of this old saying. The whole state of Jammu and Kashmir was almost under water. A massive rescue and relief operation by the Indian armed forces is on in the state. It was this same Indian army which was subjected to stone-throwing that is now dropping food packets, saving the lives of people and extending all possible help.....

It seems that scare-mongering about religion suits the purpose of our ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ extremists. I agree that religious differences are a problem; I would venture to add, it’s a global problem that the human species is grappling with. But I seriously don’t think India is going to sink into a morass of religious violence. While some of our myriad communities may not be in perfect harmony with each other, we’ve learnt to co-exist, by and large, without resorting to mass violence…..

 
Being ‘Sickular’
Ranjona Banerji

Being ‘Sickular’
Ranjona Banerji

Can someone then spare a kind thought for the liberals stuck in the middle? Cannons to the left of them, cannons to the right of them, sitting in the valley of death and being charged with just about every crime... Or if you want a more insensitive description, then a wishy-washy — “everyone has rights, even the people whose views I hate” — brigade. What sort of a position is that to take, ask those who go to gyms set up by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to pump their Hindu biceps and plan their next move against some religious minority or the other…

The Poor Are Stuck In a Losing Battle against Mother Nature
Mehr F. Husain

Every year the floods come angrily sweeping through the region, immersing anything and everything in sight. And each year hundreds if not thousands sit by and watch as their entire lives - sometimes loved ones too - are swept away. And each time the same promises of aid and rehabilitation are made. Every professional out there offers plans on what should have been done, what could be done and what would have been possible, followed by the tiresome 'if only'….

 

Floods, Dharnas and Censors in Pakistan
Najam Sethi

Yellow cabs and tractors, Sasti Rotis, laptops and Youth Loan Schemes are visibly sexy. But dams and reservoirs are dull and opaque; they don’t provide political optics like expansive motorways, gleaming bullet trains and bright red buses on stilts. Every politician is a wannabe Shahjahan but not one can recall the names of the Commissioners of the Indian Civil Service who founded and sustained the great canal colonies network that nourishes the province…….

 
Hindustan vs India
Kancha Ilaiah

Hindustan vs India
Kancha Ilaiah

Over a period of 1,600 years, Islamic culture has spread through the length and breadth of India, touched all sections of society, and penetrated into various spheres of our life. How can a Prime Minister treat a cultural system — the lifeblood of a nation — as anti-national? This question begs an answer, and the debate should be focused on this alone, and not on who is a majority and who a minority......

Cult versus Parliament in Pakistan
Khaled Ahmed

The cult derives not from secular charisma, but divine revelation. Cult organisations may be opposed to one another on the basis of mutual apostatisation, but they are led by men inspired by religion, if not a direct connection with god. The men who die for national armies are filled with the rhetoric of nationalism. But national armies function within the ambit of the laws of war agreed among nations. Men who fight for private armies are psychologically chained to the charisma of the cult leader…..

 

Attack On PNS Zulfiqar of Pakistan Navy: A Wake-Up Call
Ayesha Siddiqa

Various religious groups have always had access to men in uniform under one pretext or the other. If it is not the militants then it is Deobandi or Salafi reformation movements such as the Tablighi Jamaat or Al Huda that are allowed to access military personnel and their families. Reportedly, the households of one of the two smaller services were opened up for Al Huda by the senior leadership….

Jinnah’s Politics — A Gentleman’s Game
Shehreen Najam

I never thought a day would come when my ears would cringe at the mere mention of ‘democracy’, and even more so, at Inquilab and Insaf. Not because I don’t stand for these values, but perhaps, because I am dismayed by how they are being re-defined by a select few. Civil disobedience is now the pursuit of Inquilab, anarchy is to be pronounced as Insaf, and democracy — the demands of an individual leading a mob…..

 

What happened in Gujarat in 2002 is condemnable but the manner in which the Congress politicised this issue for over a decade for minority votes rather than fighting it as a crime against humanity made Modi what he is today……

Can Zawahiri Add To Communal Cauldron Already Full?
Saeed Naqvi

The more onerous task has been left to Amit Shah, the party president. His job is to keep pushing the frontiers of communalism, to create circles of Hindu consolidation around the Muslim individuals, neighbourhoods, villages, markets, fairs. This is not communalism for its own sake but more as an electoral asset, from state to state, constituency to constituency. At this phase of the Hindu Rashtra project, the Al Qaeda's exhortations will help Hindu consolidation that much more. In fact Amit Shah may well survey the scene and proclaim with satisfaction: with such enemies, who needs friends?.....

 
Pakistan under Siege
Ajit Kumar Singh

Pakistan under Siege
Ajit Kumar Singh

This orchestrated political drama also appears to be the Army's attempt to shift attention from the much publicized operation Zarb-e-Azb that was launched on June 15, 2014, to eliminate terrorists from the NWA of FATA. During more than two and half months of the operation, no significant gain has been made in the region. Though a press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on September 3, 2014, asserted that 910 'militants' had been killed in the operation, and that that the SFs had cleared five towns, including Miranshah, Mir Ali, Dattakhel, Boya and Degan, this has limited credibility, given past records of superficial and exaggerated claims of the Pakistani Forces. Significantly, the Jamaat al-Ahrar, a new faction of the TTP, has claimed that only 30 fighters had thus far been killed in operation Zarb-e-Azb,.....

 

‘Love jihad’ and Bollywood
Anna MM Vetticad

It would be easy to pretend that this trend is a mere coincidence, or to cite exceptions to counter the argument being made, or to accuse columnists of a cynical over-analysis of innocent entertainment. Let’s not be naïve or lie to ourselves, please. Bollywood and its viewers would do well to introspect about the patriarchal-communalism evident in these ‘coincidences’. The last thing this country needs is for its film industries to unwittingly support off-screen bigotry……

 

Pakistan’s Perennial Crisis
Husain Haqqani

The Pakistani military does not realise that its meddling makes Pakistan more unstable, not less, as does its insistence on a narrow definition of the national interest, which civilians are not allowed to alter….

 

Al Qaeda Has Announced The Creation Of A South Asian Branch, Dubbed Al Qaeda In The Indian Subcontinent:  The Question Is Why Now?
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

Al Qaeda has barely been operational for the past few years, battered by the death of Bin Laden and US drone attacks that have wiped out many of its senior commanders. Zawahiri has been critical of the Islamic State’s anti-Shia stance – it is one of the reasons that the Islamic State ended its allegiance to al Qaeda. Worse, many of the al Qaeda affiliations in Afghanistan, the Arab world and West Africa have switched their loyalties from Zawahiri to the Islamic State…..

Related Article on this Page:

US Had Warned Delhi Of Qaeda's Designs In August

By Shishir Gupta

Asim Umar, Man Who Will Head South Asia Branch of Al Qaeda

23 Manipur-Based Youth Have Left Home To Join Al Qaeda Ranks

Send In the Clowns, The Pakistan Politicians
Irfan Husain

What this sorry episode has done is to confirm the image of politicians as jokers in the eyes of the military. As it is, the officer class is indoctrinated with an unflattering view of civilians. But when politicians engage in their periodic tussles for power, they only make themselves look ridiculous to the army, as well as to the people they represent. Small wonder opinion polls repeatedly show the low level of respect enjoyed by our ruling elites…..

 

Sharif Must Fight Imran For The Sake Of Democracy
Mehr F. Husain

How things change. But generally, there has been little realisation of the difference between expressing contention according to the situation, i.e. differentiating between whether the head of state is aggressively claiming sovereignty like Musharraf, or he/she is the result of a rotting system due to lack of political evolution, as in PM Sharif's case….

What Next: One Would Hope That All Stakeholders Draw Lessons from the Gruelling Episode
Imtiaz Gul

Rumours and unsubstantiated claims of tons of money flowing into coffers of certain media houses, anchors and analysts also added to the dismay of people at large, wondering how civilian and military agencies can dole out precious public money to individuals for narrow political objectives. Political parties as well as the religio-political group called Pakistan Awami Tehrik led by a maverick naturalized Canadian national also ostensibly dished out massive funds to favourites for running down rivals or eliciting favourable views.....

 

Operation Get Nawaz Sharif
Najam Sethi

The “conspiracy” to get rid of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been exposed. Although the circumstantial evidence was compelling, no one, not even the government and parliament, had hard-core facts to prove who was doing what and why…..

 

‘Pak Infiltrators Out There Somewhere In the Forest…Waiting, Just Like Us’
Praveen Swami

The survivors of the group, suspected to be from the Lashkar-e-Toiba, fled into the forests, abandoning their backpacks and radio sets. Intelligence sources have told The Indian Express that the dead, or one of the survivors, appears to be an important commander: a wireless station across the LoC has been calling out the code name “Charlie 2”……

 
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