Opinions
The Hindu Right Sings The Blues Or How The Fear Of The Inconsequential Pervades The Soul Of The Righteous
The Hindu Right Sings The Blues Or How The Fear Of The Inconsequential Pervades The Soul Of The Righteous

A certain group of self appointed guardians of the faith are up in arms over an animated movie called Sita Sings The Blues in which graphic artist and animator Nina Paley weaves a dark moment of abandonment in her persona life into the story of Sita’s repeated abandonment by Ram, the man she is devoted […]

The Hindus Live In Small And Dark Houses Or Finding The Roots Of War In Textbooks – The Pakistan Episode
The Hindus Live In Small And Dark Houses Or Finding The Roots Of War In Textbooks - The Pakistan Episode

The minds of children are usually shut inside prison houses, so that they become incapable of understanding people who have different languages and customs. This causes us to grope after each other in darkness, to hurt each other in ignorance, to suffer from the worst form of blindness. Religious missionaries themselves have contributed to this […]

In Defense Of Doubt Or How Intellectual Walls Have A Terrible Way Of Leaking
In Defense Of Doubt Or How Intellectual Walls Have A Terrible Way Of Leaking

Someone threw an egg at historian Wendy Doniger during a lecture in London in November 2003. Seven years later Wendy Doniger threw a book back at them. But more about this scholarly debate in a bit. – Reading Raymond Schwab’s masterpiece The Oriental Renaissance: Europe’s Rediscovery of India and the East 1680 – 1880 one […]

Breathing Life And Death Into Gods And Men
Breathing Life And Death Into Gods And Men

   

Laying To Rest The Ghosts Of Ayodhya – The Liberhan Report Unveiled
Laying To Rest The Ghosts Of Ayodhya - The Liberhan Report Unveiled

The demolition of the Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid took place on sixth of December 1992 in the presence of national and local leadership. Cadres of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal (BD), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena (SS) along with their leaders were present at the spot. They […]

Making Medieval Histories Or How To Name Ballistic Missiles
Making Medieval Histories Or How To Name Ballistic Missiles

Pakistan has said it will not rename some of its missiles, despite objections from Kabul which says Afghan heroes’ names are being misused. Afghan Information Minister Sayed Makhdum Rahin had asked Islamabad not to link Afghan rulers’ names with “tools of destruction and killing”. The missiles are named after Muslim conquerors who defeated Hindu rulers. […]

On Samuel Huntington & The Use of History
On Samuel Huntington & The Use of History

Samuel Huntington, author of the book ‘The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order‘, died on December 28th 2008. In an obituary in the New York Times, in a typically fawning obituary, thought it ‘uncanny’ i.e. a reflection of his brilliance, that in that book he had written (predicted?) that ‘Somewhere in the […]

Unraveling Bitter Threads: Faiz & Seeing The World
Unraveling Bitter Threads: Faiz & Seeing The World

The only man I have ever felt envious of was a ‘celebrity’ documentary filmmaker who once told an interviewer that his success was a result of his complete lack of introspection! Introspection has been the bane of my existence. I heard Faiz Ahmed Faiz before I ever read him.  His poem ‘Don’t Ask Me for […]

Dialog Between Bigots (Part I of VI)
Dialog Between Bigots (Part I of VI)

A few months ago I was asked by an editor in Europe to speak about my work, in particular my work in the Arab world.  She had seen some of my photographs from Northern Iraq that focused on the struggle of Iraq’s Assyrian Christian community as it confronted a resurgent Kurdish nationalism and a raging […]

Dialog Between Bigots (Part II of VI)
Dialog Between Bigots (Part II of VI)

EDITOR: In your opinion, is it possible for Islamic states to adopt secular systems of government, and to allow non-Muslim minorities to integrate in Muslim dominated political structures? Put another way, given the history and tradition of these areas, Iraq in particular, did the Americans have any choice other than to work with sectarian structures? […]

Dialog Between Bigots (Part III of VI)
Dialog Between Bigots (Part III of VI)

EDITOR:  By Islamic states I mean the countries that are majority Muslim and whose power structures are in the hands of Muslims. Iraq is not an Islamic theocracy, but it is surely an Islamic state. It’s history, tradition and values are shaped by Islamic religion and culture. Let us narrow the discussion. Let’s focus on […]

Dialog Between Bigots (Part IV of VI)
Dialog Between Bigots (Part IV of VI)

EDITOR: Whereas I agree with you that there is nothing inherently ‘Islamic’ about laws in many nations i.e. your statement is prima facie true. However, the question is what is the source of the common law of the land in Pakistan, in Iran, In Saudi Arabia? You will, of course, find examples of secular law […]

Dialog Between Bigots (Part V of VI)
Dialog Between Bigots (Part V of VI)

AR: I think you are being very liberal in your belief that European law begins with the Bible and that Islamic law begins with the Koran. To claim that Europe takes from the Bible and Morocco from the Koran is to indulge in a terrible simplicity that can only be achieved by suspending genuine intellectual […]

Dialog Between Bigots (Part VI of VI)
Dialog Between Bigots (Part VI of VI)

EDITOR: Spanish, French Portuguese and Italian derive from Latin, yet can one argue that today these are the same language? They have diverged to the point where they are mutually unintelligible and hence different languages. All Indo-European languages derive from Sanskrit (including Farsi), yet can one claim they are the same as Sanskrit? Christianity, Judaism […]