South Asia

February, 2014

  • 15 February

    Totalizing History, Silencing Dissent in India

    The agreement by Penguin Books India, a unit of Penguin Random House, to withdraw as well as destroy all existing copies of its 2009 book titled The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago, within six months, is both disturbing as well as foreboding.   The lawsuit filed against Penguin India by Dina …

  • 14 February

    The Paradoxes of Negotiating with Pakistani Taliban

    Writing in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History in their 2011 article titled “The Paradoxes of Negotiating with Terrorist and Insurgent Organizations”, Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Bart Schuurman maintain that such negotiations are neither as straightforward nor indeed as desirable a means of conflict resolution as they may seem.   Citing examples from various conflicts, the authors maintain that in …

  • 13 February

    Talk of Another Coup in the Maldives

    Former President and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supremo Mohamed Nasheed has given what may be seen by some as a timely warning to the nation and incumbent, Abdulla Yameen, about ‘another coup’. In doing so, he has implied that there is an urgent need for institutional reforms if such a course is to be averted. In an interview to …

  • 11 February

    Alliances Not Leaders Will Decide Indian Elections

    Political posturing in India has not changed since 1999, when there was a fascist party posing as a conservative one, and a royalist party posing as a liberal one. The posturing continues, but since then the Indian National Congress (INC) party has embraced coalition politics. And it may now be in a stronger position to attract allies than its rival, …

  • 9 February

    Inside the Pashtun Mindset

    Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Pashtun teenage women education campaigner, continues to receive honors since being attacked by the Taliban in her hometown of Swat last year. This week, Britain’s prominent contemporary portraitist Jonathan Yeo unveiled a portrait of Malala at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. Days before that she opened a 188 million pound library in Birmingham, a city where she …

  • 9 February

    Pakistan’s Dialogue of the Deaf

    Long awaited first round of talks with the (Pakistani government and) Taliban ended on somewhat of a positive note, albeit without breaking any new ground. After persistent delays and the government and the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the umbrella organization of several dozen terrorist groups) team playing hide and seek the very fact that the talks did take place seemed to …

  • 4 February

    Afghanistan’s Karzai Problem

    On January 25, 2014, President Hamid Karzai announced at two different events in Kabul that he would not sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States unless Washington meets his preconditions. Keeping up his anti American rhetoric, he declared that Bagram (the Afghan airbase used by the U.S.-lead forces) had become a production line of Taliban. He denounced …

  • 2 February

    Reporting from Hell: The Story of Pakistani Journalism

    Media in Pakistan entered 2014 under the old threat to journalists’ lives. Caught in bloody crossfire between blind state power and extremist terror, journalism has always been a tightrope walk in Pakistan. Media by default is part of this war for being the sole platform to showcase the bloody drama in newspaper columns and on the airwaves.   Last year …

  • 1 February

    Minorities Targeted in Bangladesh Violence

    Following attacks on religious minorities – mostly Hindus – activists in Bangladesh are calling for increased protection to forestall further violence in the majority Muslim country. On 5 January, as the country voted in parliamentary elections, armed men attacked Shyamal Kumar Biswas, 35, and other residents in Malopara, a fishing village of 80 families in Jessore district, southwestern Bangladesh. All …

January, 2014

  • 30 January

    Pakistan’s Anti-Terror War Challenge

    Our major problem is that we cannot seem to separate Counter-insurgency (CI) operations from Counter-terrorism (CT).  Terrorism is more urban-based, insurgency normally operates mainly in rural areas. With great sacrifice CI has been a resounding success, a CT policy does finally exist now but it is yet to be translated into reality.   Contrast the CI operations in the Al-Qaeda …