Today, almost everybody here agrees that this is a superpower in decline, that it has neither the stomach nor the financial wherewithal to police the world that it is facing a rising arc of challenges from smaller regional powers that throw their weight around in their neighbourhood with an impunity that is becoming ever more emboldened. China and Russia top the list, but even in a region like Latin America, which the superpower once considered its backyard, it treads as if walking on eggshells……
Invisible in the House
Christophe Jaffrelot and Gilles Verniers
It is up to the new government to decide if it will take it up or not, signalling, in the process, if Heptulla’s presence in the cabinet is merely symbolic. But given the new balance of power in the Lok Sabha, it remains to be seen if anyone will lend their voice to a minority that is increasingly absent from public life at the national level......
People drift into their own little world and zone-out when they are engaged with their smart-phone — completely ignoring what is going on around them. Absorbed device users are oblivious to danger. In fact, it can even kill you, like it did to this young man……
Modi has pledged to seek better relations with Islamabad but only if it cracks down seriously on the deep state’s patron-ship of terror. He has significant potential economic carrots and sticks to use with Sharif who knows Pakistan needs to dramatically improve trade with India if it is to get its own economy moving. ... More than five years after Mumbai justice has yet to be served. The small fish have been brought to account for their role but the big fish are still free and dangerous. Modi and Sharif are smart to meet but the challenge will be for Pakistan to control its own hardliners. If not it is all but certain that LeT will stage another attack and force Modi to react forcefully after the outrage. That could put the entire subcontinent on the brink of catastrophe.....
Modi told his biographer Andy Marino that “the democratic values that I found” during the anti-Emergency struggle became “a part of my DNA”; he explained: “I became aware; I understood the Constitution, I understood the rights, because before that I was living in a different world. The Emergency became a university for me.”…..
But the dirt, racism, foul abuse, the lies and innuendo and slanders and bullying on the web, in blogs and text messages and chat rooms, has become a sickness. “Trolls”, we call these psychologically disturbed people, and even that is indicative of our craven addiction to technology. So awed are we – so “taken over” by the new science of communication – that we have to liken these poison-pen writers and abusers to creatures of Scandinavian mythology rather than to the fantasists and racial bullies whom they really are……
Narendra Modi, PM of India
"Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development,".......
Narendra Modi Is Sworn In As the 15th Prime Minister of India
PM Modi Announces List of Cabinet Ministers with Portfolios
Nawaz Sharif Says Will Pick up Threads of Ties from Vajpayee’s Rule
Just when the nation was preparing itself for Narendra Modi's swearing in ceremony on Monday, all Indian newspapers published a story the Prime Minister must find time to read. It is a story of Mohammad Saleem and five others set free, after 11 years in jail, by the Supreme Court for having been falsely implicated in the Akshardham temple attack case. In fact the police had earlier offered them a choice: would they like to be charged for the Godhra train burning, Haren Pandya's murder or the Akshardham attack? .....
Gunmen armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked the Indian Consulate in western Afghanistan's Herat province Friday, an assault that injured no diplomatic staff, police said. Indian officials said there had been a threat against its diplomats in Afghanistan, but gave no other details….
Mehr F. Husain
Mehr F. Husain
As the media barons battle it out, the Islamists are only happy to morph it into a sectarian issue targeting Shias. As religious intolerance shows no sign of slowing down, the government sticks to its plan of conducting peace talks with the TTP.....
Tariq A. Al-Maeena
‘We had a good simple life here in Thar. I don’t know who condemned us to death. Everyone here says it was God’s will. My mother used to say that God is kind. I am confused. I will ask Him when I meet Him. I don’t know when that will be. I just pray that my father remains alive.’…..
Cursing Modi in Pakistan is considered morally plausible because of what happened in 2002 to the Muslims of Gujarat. The world rounded on him, and America and some countries in Europe placed him under a visa ban. Hence, when you curse him in Pakistan, no one in the world will call it politically directed hyperbole. But if someone in Pakistan says he is pained by the plight of Muslims in India, he is leaning on double standards…..
He’d stood before the prayer congregation at the mosque in the village of Bairia one Friday afternoon in the summer of 2006, and called on the worshippers to prepare for war. The man responsible for the communal carnage in Gujarat, the slightly-built teenager warned, was growing in power. India’s Muslims, he went on, must prepare for an onslaught that would lead to their annihilation. Local elders, alarmed by the polemic, brought the speech to a quick end. For a few hours, local police records show, communal tension flared — and ebbed….
Over years, there is a rising opinion in and outside politics that the distorted meaning that secularism has acquired over decades needs to be debated and corrected. The mainline media has so far swept this other and the correct view under the carpet and perpetuated the distortion. Result, the Indian secularism is neither Indian in the sense of equal protection to all faiths nor Western in the sense of equal repugnance to all religions…..
The question of where Muslims stand after an election in which their vote has clearly not been relevant is an important one. One of six Indians is a Muslim; the community constitutes our largest religious minority. Everything that affects India’s Muslims must affect India and vice-versa; at least that is the ideal…..
As an India-friendly Pakistani currently living in exile in the US, I observed the Indian election through the media as well as the eyes of many Indian friends. That, admittedly, does not qualify me as an authority on Indian politics. But as Benazir Bhutto used to say “There is a bit of India in every Pakistani and there is an element of Pakistan in every Indian.” Pakistan’s democrats admire Indian democracy and have always done so, even at the risk of being accused of being pro-Indian…..
“Whatever we know about the Gujarat riots is because of Mukul,” Mr. Khanna said. “He was the only one willing to fight these cases and he forced the Gujarat government to face the facts. No one was willing to take on Narendra Modi like Mukul.” Several of those who spoke on Thursday said they lost all hope after 2002, but Mr. Sinha kept them believing in themselves......
Imran’s relationship with the “Angels” is another fascinating subject for research. He has unfailingly whipped up public sentiment in their favour whenever they have been cross with elected civilian governments: on Rehman Malik’s attempt to bring the political wing of the ISI under his boot; on the “objectionable” clauses in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid to Pakistan bill; on the May 2nd Osama bin Laden debacle; on Memogate; on the “state within the state”….
Marxists attributed great significance to imperial differences over Iraq. All along these years, certain influential Marxist theoreticians have been pointing out the possibility of inter-imperial rivalries translating into global conflicts. Should Ukraine be seen in this context? Is it the case that Russia and China, two rising imperial centres, will go in violent contradiction with Euro-US imperialisms?....
Coming as they do in quick succession, the two developments — the implementation of Sharia and the realisation of dwindling oil reserves — can be said to bear some connection. Indeed, Pakistan, which has (as per the Brunei definition) already seen some enforcement of Sharia, has experience in using large-scale legal reforms during times of crisis......
The Israelis say they must be strict because they are responsible for keeping the peace. In 1834 hundreds were killed in a stampede. This year’s Holy Fire flared without injury. But Catholic priests suggest that Israel is using extra security measures to change the Old City’s status, providing for unfettered access to Jews, while limiting the number of Christian worshippers......
This time not only does it feature Dr Qadri and his followers, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shiekh Rasheed and the Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) alliance as well. It’s a peculiar bunch but that is often what makes the carnival more appealing – one exuberant theatrical performance after another. Dr Qadri will now compete with Imran Khan’s egocentric diatribes and JI’s eulogies for terrorists.....
These questions lead to the scepticism over the method and timing of the protests. While the PTI cadres are all excited about another show of force in Islamabad, others are worried what this political instability means for the country. The civil and military pillars of the power matrix don’t appear to be comfortable with each other. Media freedoms are under attack. Pakistan is inching towards a pariah state....
Boko Haram’s rampage of indiscriminate violence and tyranny has been going on for over three years now in Nigeria, but the organization has never grabbed international headlines quite like this before. They’ve bombed churches, killed innocents and done just about everything else in their mad pursuit to establish “Sharia Law,” but the recent kidnapping and potential sale and enslavement of around 200 to 300 schoolgirls has really reverberated across the world......
Borno is frequently described as Boko Haram’s heartland and has long been under a state of emergency; with most schools shut down on account of frequent armed attacks by a militia whose Hausa nomenclature translates roughly as “western education is forbidden.” Scores of schoolchildren have previously been killed by Boko Haram in Borno and neighbouring states…..