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Modi’s approach to dealing with his critics is generally to see if they can be harassed in some way, often by swarming all over them with the law. Far more than any Indian prime minister previously, the candidate tilts toward the management of the news media through public relations and shies away from direct questioning by the media….

 

Media and Militarism in Pakistan
Najam Sethi

Hamid Mir had informed concerned people at home and abroad, by audio, video and email messaging, that the ISI was gunning for him because of his anti-military stance on Balochistan’s missing persons and General Musharraf’s treason case. This was credible information. Other journalists who have stepped on the toes of the military in the past have also recorded such charges. They were roughed up or harassed, learnt their lesson, desisted and were spared….

 

The Juhapura Model: Revisiting a Muslim Ghetto in a Gujarat City in Poll Time
Christophe Jaffrelot

But Juhapura may become the first new “Muslim city” of India anyway. It may also be influenced more by the Gulf countries than by India. While the new schools of Juhapura were all resolutely modern till now, the Tablighi Jama’at is currently building the first girls-only school, apparently with money coming from the Gulf and the UK. Only hardcore ideologues can ignore the implications of such changes for national cohesion and the need to help minorities in general to remain part of the mainstream....

 

Let Asia into the Game, Or It May Create Its Own
Fareed Zakaria

This is an important element of America’s role in the world but it is essentially reactive and tactical. The broader challenge is to lay down a longer-term strategy that endures after the crises of the moment. The Obama administration has tried to do this with its Asia policy – and the president’s trip there this week is part of it – but progress has been halting and incomplete……

 

Fatal Flaw in Communal Politics
M N Buch

One is not implying here that the Indian Muslim wants the creation of a theocracy in India.  In fact, huge numbers of Muslims opted with their feet for India by refusing to migrate to Pakistan, resulting in India having the largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Since 1947, outbreaks of sporadic communal riots notwithstanding, the Indian Muslim have stayed true to this country. So much so that even after the 1993 riots in Bombay and the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Muslims have not migrated away from either Maharashtra or Gujarat….

 

Of Secular Imams and Economists
Ram Jethmalani

Hindu Muslim riots were a legacy left behind by the Raj who saw great merit in them for effective control over India. British India, across its length and breadth, was riddled with gruesome Hindu Muslim riots, costing enormous human lives. In accordance with British tradition of justice and fair play….

 

Shun Politics of Separatism
Tufail Ahmad

Pune-based playwright Sameer Khan thinks Akbar’s move to BJP will have “no consequence to Indian Muslims” and indeed Imam Bukhari, Najma Heptullah and others previously took similar steps. Sameer Khan reminds: “Indian Muslims have always voted for secular Hindu parties and not for Muslim parties and that trend remains.” While the argument remains valid, it relies on secularism, which nourishes the historical separatism that prevents Muslims from breaking through their mass intellectual paradigm…..

 

Test of Democratic Values
Kuldip Nayar

BJP and its mentor RSS are misreading the people's response. They do not want to be divided into Hindus and Muslims. The society does not want a person whose politics is divisive and whose thinking may well be authoritarian. I believe that Modi would not be able to disturb pluralism whatever the RSS and the BJP may say......

 

Pakistanis have been watching the election scene in India with considerable trepidation. The intellectual elite and some sections of the media are aware that détente has progressed better whenever strong leadership has existed in both countries. However, an almost visceral dislike of Narendra Modi seems to blur perspectives, not only on account of the 2002 Gujarat riots but also in expectation of a turn towards ultra-nationalism, accompanied by chest-thumping, anti-Pakistani belligerence and a revival of Hindutva politics.....

 

Muslims In Search Of an Alternative to Congress
Shahid Siddiqui

Most of their leaders, the Muslim media and their Ulema criticise and denounce the Congress for four years and 364 days but on the day of the election they are told ‘there is no alternative, vote the Congress to stop India from becoming a non-secular Hindu State’.....

 

The American elites believed that Mr. Reagan was an unsophisticated simpleton who was too extreme to be President. Prior to his election, they issued dire warnings about the calamities that would ensue if Mr. Reagan came to power. The rest, as they say, is history, and the collapse of the Soviet empire left Mr. Reagan’s critics on the wrong side of it....

 

Non Vegetarian Majority with a Vegetarian Ruling Class
Saeed Naqvi

By flying the banner of vegetarianism, the Hindu has in fact joined the mainstream newspaper houses like the Times of India, Hindustan Times and the Indian Express. In these establishments even garlic and onion are taboo. These ingredients are also banned in the famous "langar" or mass feeding at the great Sufi shrine in Ajmer, but the argument is different. In establishments mentioned above, these are banned because "we don't like it". In Sufi shrines, these ingredients are prohibited so that the food is acceptable to the largest number. The Hindu management could have achieved the same effect employing a gentler argument…..

 

One of the good things that might come out of the communal polarisation in this year’s general elections is a serious examination of Indian secularism. When all parties target one man, and when communal rhetoric and innuendo – whether utilised by Amit Shah or Azam Khan – are par for the course, we have to see the Indian version of secularism for what it is: a sham.....

Being Muslim under Narendra Modi
Basharat Peer

Mr. Modi has not visited the camps of the Muslims displaced by the violence or apologized for his government’s failure to protect a minority. Instead, he has described the reprisal killings of Muslims that year as a simple “reaction” to an “action,” namely the deaths of the Hindu train passengers — and has said he felt as sad about them as would a passenger in a car that accidentally ran over a puppy….

An Unholy Alliance of Buddhist Terrorists
Tariq A. Al-Maeena

….the Ahsin Wirathu Alliance, operating out of Burma or Myanmar, is made up of bloodthirsty Buddhists who have been terrorizing and slaughtering thousands of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslims. Another equally vicious Buddhist group in Sri Lanka, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), has lately begun a fierce campaign against the Tamil, Muslim and Christian minorities on the island……

 
The Echoing Silence of Caste
Nissim Mannathukkaren

The Echoing Silence of Caste
Nissim Mannathukkaren

How is it a “Hindu problem” when Islam, Christianity and Sikhism in India are equally bedevilled by the monster of caste? What makes an “upper caste” Kerala Syrian Christian or a Goan Catholic revel in their supposed Brahmin origins, the Ashraf Muslims to refuse to interact with, or marry a Pasmanda Muslim, and caste divisions within Sikhs erupt in violence even outside the shores of India?....

Muslims Will Vote For Change
Aishwarya P. Sharma

Muslims Will Vote For Change
Aishwarya P. Sharma

The question we need to ask ourselves is how a religious and god-fearing Muslim is different from a religious Hindu. Why are we hell-bent on dividing the country? Have we not understood that this is only pushing us back by several decades while the world laughs at our inability to set our house in order? …..

 

How can the Uniform Civil Code surgically focus, as promised in the BJP manifesto, on gender equity without disturbing religious sentiments in a diverse country like ours?....

Dancing With the Nuclear Djinn
Praveen Swami

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto promises to review India’s nuclear doctrine. What does this portend? He saw the signs of the approaching doomsday all around him: in moral degradation, in casual sex, in the rise of western power, in space travel, in our high-tech age. God, wrote Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons guru Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood in Mechanics of the Doomsday..., had not privileged man to know when it would come, but “the promised Hour is not a far off event now.”....

The Other Taliban
Jawed Naqvi

The Other Taliban
Jawed Naqvi

Hindu fanatics have gained in strength exponentially from the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, which they plotted, to the bombing of the Samjhauta Express in 2007. Their link with the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 is well documented. The same people burned Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons alive in a jeep in 1999. He had apparently irked Hindutva fanatics with his Christian missionary activity in a remote village in Orissa.....

 

Pakistan Sleepwalking to Surrender
Khaled Ahmed

As Pakistan smokes the peace pipe with the Taliban after yielding 60,000 civilians and 5,000 troops dead to them, the media is measuring the impact. The clerics who never get votes and therefore don’t contest elections have become empowered and appear scary in their aggressive rhetoric......

 

Pakistan: Judges Must STAND UP
Mehr F.Husain

If the democratic process which consists of institutional development falls prey to individual whims as rumoured to be surrounding the treason case, which some say is a personal issue between Prime Minister Sharif and Musharraf, then it may also be said that judicial activism may be viewed as being hollow. This would be a shame considering that it is a brave Judiciary who has taken on the military for a legal matter and therefore should be allowed to conduct itself accordingly.....

 

An Open Letter to the People of India on the Kashmir Issue
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

India’s elections have begun and you are exercising your votes to choose your new political representatives. Whoever you end up electing will be momentously placed to exercise real leadership and take the difficult decisions that are needed to shape a better course for the future of India and for peace in South Asia.....

 

It is a historical irony indeed when it appears the only safe place for a Christian in the Middle East is Israel, a country in large part populated by Jews who themselves were forced to flee Islamic intolerance in the same lands from which Christians now feel impelled to flee....

 

The Secular Jiziyah Tax: Contemporary India Continues To Entrap Muslims in the Politics of Fear
Shahid Siddiqui

Since Independence this game has been played both covertly and overtly. Media and intellectuals have, knowingly or unknowingly, helped these parties in extracting this 'electoral Jiziyah' from insecure minorities. After partition, Muslims who remained in India were told both by Muslim and 'secular' leadership that if they wanted to survive in Hindu India it was their duty to protect secularism, which in real terms meant voting for one party, which in return would keep India secular…..

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