ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846


The Modi Raj

One of the images that circulated on social media the day the elections were declared under the title The impending dhokla takeover.

Religion before the Time of Hindutva

People are fond of saying, “may you live in interesting times”. After the 2014 election results, I must say I fervently wish I didn’t. Yet here we are, faced with a nightmare that many of us could scarcely have imagined possible, or envisaged the scale and enormity of.  And I am not sure I have anything to say at the moment regarding this debacle that would add to the many excellent commentaries on the subject that are doing the rounds.

Reflections on a River and its people

Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff visited India in 1950 and out of this visit came short films: Village Hindou (Hindu Village) about the lack of water in an Indian village, and Vinden och floden (The Wind and the River), about river life of Kashmir.

Presented in a quasi documentary manner with beautiful use of music, a blend Kashmir folk and Indian Classical (by Ravi Shankar), “Vinden och floden” can be summed up by its opening quote:

What is a mosque?

 “What is a mosque?”  This very simple and straightforward question introduces us to two very different perspectives, which actually shape and constitute the dominant discourse on Islamic built environment in postcolonial South Asia. There is a legal-technical perspective on mosques, which revolves around the architectural attributes, archaeological significance, historical values and/or legal status of mosques. More precisely, this perspective conceptualises mosques as architectural/historical/legal objects, and attempts to map out their placing in the wider secular discourses.

Indians in Trinidad and Tobago and the 'C' word again...

Recently a friend and I had a little tiff about demographics in Trinidad and Tobago (TnT). In her Sunday Gleaner column my friend Carolyn Cooper had a throwaway line to the effect that the majority of Trinidad and Tobago citizens are of Indian origin. This surprised me because as far as I knew Indo-Trinidadians constitute about half of the population unlike Guyana where they are a little over half the population.

Celebrating and Commiserating our 20 Years of Democracy in South Africa

I was part of that last generation of South Africans who had an experience of apartheid.   This years commemorations coincide with the divisive exaggerations of  an impending election on 7 May,  and have been both laconic and polarising.  What could have been a unifying moment of a past remembered and future reimagined has turned out rather differently. 20 years after that first election we are a country divided, between those who say we have to celebrate, and those who lament that we can only commiserate.

Son of Religion

B R Chopra's Dharmputra (1961) was the second film directed by Yash Raj. It was based on a novel by Acharya Chatursen Shastry (who died in 1960). The screen adaptation was by Akhtar-Ul-Iman. The story is set in Delhi during the time of partition.

Medha Patkar and the "Hunger strike doctor"

I have met and spoken to Medha Patkar on five or six occasions. As far as I can remember only on one of these occasions was she normal.  On all the other instances she was weak, exhausted, dehydrated & hungry. In stark contrast to her usual self she was barely able to talk. In case you have started wondering why I have been meeting her in these strange set of circumstances, let me explain.

Being Vegetarian, the Hindu Way

I write this apropos the notice issued by the prominent Indian daily newspaper, The Hindu (10th April 2014), forbidding its staff members from bringing in “non-veg” food into its canteen. The ground for this ban was that this caused “discomfort” to the majority of the staff that is vegetarian. In the last week this notice has ‘gone viral’, on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and has provoked a defensive response from many (presumably vegetarians) on what they see to be an unreasonable criticism of their “choice”.

The Burdens of Cooliedom

People always assume because I’m from India that my interest in the Caribbean must lie exclusively in the Indian components of the Caribbean. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


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