Jawed Naqvi

The past in modern idiom

The past in modern idiom

LOOKING at the challenges women face at their place of work or even at home in India or Pakistan, among other venues, I wondered how Prof Kailas NathKaul would have analysed the phenomenon. The late raconteur believed that our languages harboured our ugly past, samples of which may still be lodged in our DNA waiting […]

 Jawed Naqvi

If democracy subverts itself

If democracy subverts itself

The implicit contrariness of democracies is more a respite from singular trouble than an agreeable pact.

AN old-fashioned Marxist sobriquet for democracy we pine for and are frustrated by in turn is ‘bourgeois democracy’. Another word for it, which suits the Western palate more readily since the fall of the Soviet Union, is ‘free markets democracy’. For most purposes both are one and the same thing in usage, not too different […]

 Jawed Naqvi

What one leaves behind

What one leaves behind

Why is there fanfare when some people pass away and not when their colleagues with equal merit go?

ATAL Behari Vajpayee’s ashes were immersed in the Ganga. Nehru had his scattered over the Himalayas from a plane. Theatre diva Zohra Sehgal desired no such fuss. She left a stark message for her followers to cremate her quietly and put her ashes in the flush. The electric furnace was malfunctioning as it often does, […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Can’t kill a good idea

Can’t kill a good idea

A monopoly on the popular medium of information (and disinformation) has seldom prevented the fall of unpopular regimes.

SUPPOSE Antony had a TV channel at his disposal and Brutus didn’t. Would that change the course of history? Difficult to say, but experience shows that TV is overrated for its prowess, more so in a democracy. People win elections without the support of TV and they lose them despite all the help they get […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Relief from ‘Mian’ Musharraf

Relief from ‘Mian’ Musharraf

Pro-Hindutva groups are campaigning to foment a Hindu-Muslim divide in Kerala — having failed, they look desperate.

IN my experience leftists and rightists are both good in relief work. Their motives, like their vision for the future, may differ entirely, but their methods are often similar, and derive from ideological passion. When they are in a duel, as they often are, it is a fight to the finish. Without the resolve and […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Questioning Nehru’s country

Questioning Nehru’s country

There have been brilliant movies about the Muslim quandary in a tentatively free India.

ALMOST all my friends have praised Mulk (country) as a bold movie. I am still debating its purpose. The youngest nephew of Muslim patriarch Murad Ali Mohammed of a Benares neighbourhood gets involved in a bomb blast massacre. Friendly Hindu neighbours turn against the family, which has to prove they are not anti-nationals. Deep-seated communalism […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Promising tryst gone awry

Promising tryst gone awry

Both claim to be independent but Pakistan and India have missed the point about being a free people.

ON the 71st anniversary of Britain’s hasty departure this week, most of South Asia remains a seriously troubled region. We have experimented with various forms of governments and ideologies — from monarchies to communist rule, from anaemic democracies to civilian and military dictatorships. The experiments are still on, and that is a source of mortal […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Babu Mistri and Westphalia

Babu Mistri and Westphalia

People were migratory birds, not legal or illegal immigrants.

BABU Mistri may have never travelled to Assam but his story is emblematic of the tragedy of four million people who have been rendered homeless through an officially sponsored land grab. I use the term ‘land grab’ because Nehru had described it as an integral feature of majoritarian communalism, which I believe would be equally […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Holding his feet to the fire

Holding his feet to the fire

Will Imran Khan’s pursuit of the dream turn out to be any different? He deserves a chance to triumph or lose the plot, hopefully the former.

A PHOTOSHOPPED picture of Imran Khan has adorned my Facebook page for the last few weeks, which I am planning to remove. The frame is an election-time caricature shared by an irate friend. It shows Imran’s beaming face donning a general’s cap, which is placed over a judge’s wig. The message endorses the claim by […]

 Jawed Naqvi

Dream team for Gibran

Dream team for Gibran

There’s little time to waste. But reflect we must on Gibran’s worst fears about a nation’s fall.

GENERAL elections due on Wednesday have already taken a frightful toll on innocent Pakistani lives. And those who fear that democracy is being hollowed out in favour of an illiberal polity are watching the journey with trepidation at home. A concerned friend, the wife of a former diplomat posted in India, expressed her hope for […]

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