A big idea for Modi: women’s empowerment

Chanted as a mantra by nearly all parties, but always preceded by other priorities, the issue has so far failed to translate into political reality.

India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking for a big idea, he might want to look no further than women’s empowerment.

Chanted like a mantra by nearly every political party in speeches, interviews and manifestos, women’s empowerment made for a neat television sound bite, but failed to translate into political reality. Continue reading “A big idea for Modi: women’s empowerment”

What sort of prime minister will Modi be?

If Narendra Modi’s ego is as large as his detractors claim, then he will want to be remembered as a great prime minister, better even than Atal Bihari Vajpayee. To do that he will have to focus on growth and development.

At the end of this interminably long election of fear and loathing, three questions:

First, if Narendra Modi does indeed become prime minister, as opinion polls indicate, what sort of prime minister will he be? Continue reading “What sort of prime minister will Modi be?”

Book Review | A Rebel And Her Cause

Physician, writer and avowed communist, Rashid Jahan was an inspiration for young Muslim women.

Woman of fire

In the winter of 1932, three men and a woman published a collection of short stories and sparked a literary storm. Sajjad ZaheerAhmad AliSahibzada Mahmuduzaffar and the woman, Rashid Jahan, were writing an angry book, Angarey (embers) that railed against social inequity, hypocritical maulvis and the exploitation of women in a deeply patriarchal society.

The book was publicly condemned at the central standing committee of the All-India Shia Conference at Lucknow as a “filthy pamphlet” that had “wounded the feelings of the entire Muslim community”. The Urdu press called for a ban. Clerics issued fatwas. Demonstrations were held outside book stores and the publisher had to issue a written apology and surrender unsold copies to the government. Within three months of its publication, the British had banned this “immoral” book. Today, apparently just five copies of the original version exist. Continue reading “Book Review | A Rebel And Her Cause”