Economy becoming important in deciding electoral fortunes

By Sushma Ramachandran, IANS,

The state of the economy is increasingly being considered a crucial element in elections as voters now tend to give greater priority to ground realities of price rise and job opportunities, though caste and regional considerations continue to remain important. The situation of course differs from state to state.

Stemming the Taliban tide in Afghanistan and Pakistan

By Harold A. Gould, IANS,

There yet seems inadequate understanding of the complexities and the challenges confronting the Pakistan-Afghanistan region as the mainstream leadership in all camps, including the US, gropes to develop a strategic formula for keeping the jihadi wolves from the door - before they inundate Islamabad and Kabul, and indeed plunge the entire region, including India, into political chaos.

It's not a festive season for the BJP

By Amulya Ganguli, IANS,

The traditional gaiety associated with Holi is unlikely to have lifted the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) spirits because of the election-eve rupture with its coalition partner in Orissa, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

It isn't only the end of a decade-old relationship which hurt the BJP. After all, the party has never been averse to ending an alliance if it feels it can gain from the split or if the partnership has become politically meaningless.

Indian Muslims need constitutional support not promises

By S G Haque,

Socially-engaged Islam: A view from Kerala

By Yoginder Sikand,

Unlike much of the rest of India, Islamic organizations in Kerala are heavily involved in various forms of social activism, not limiting themselves simply to religious education and preaching or to petitioning the government for sops. This is one of the major reasons for the remarkable social, economic and educational progress that Kerala’s Muslims, who account for around a fourth of the state’s population, have witnessed in recent decades.

Madhyamam: A Muslim Media Success Story

By Yoginder Sikand,

Immigrants less likely to find jobs because of racial prejudices


Sydney : Recruitment consultants are likely to nix prospects of immigrants on account of their skin colour, accents, ethnicity and qualifications, much less find them jobs, according to a new study.

Researchers found that only a small number had found jobs that matched their qualifications and many remained jobless or had accepted unskilled work.

The barriers to finding employment were language skills, accent, ethnicity, skin colour, prejudice, lack of cultural understanding and a lack of helpful support from recruitment and government agencies.

Holi - a shared colourful heritage of Hindus, Muslims

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed, IANS,

Though I never see people as Hindus and Muslims, yet I would like to share that Tilak Raj Rustagi, a Hindu friend and colleague of mine, has since 1983 been coming to my place on Holi to smear the red gulal on my forehead as a mark of the festival's inter-faith harmonious spirit.

Once a relative of mine, on seeing the colour smeared on my forehead, remarked, "It is irreligious to play Holi." I told him that such things only reiterate my faith in my religion, as friendly acts like putting gulal or lighting a candle on Diwali cannot take away my religion.

J&K Gujjar women most neglected in the country: survey

By Manzar Bilal,,

The empowerment of a woman leads to empowerment of entire family. But unfortunately women have always been neglected lot in every field of life. They have been generally kept out of development in the country. A survey reveals Gujjar women in Jammu and Kashmir are among the most backward and discriminated women in the country.

Youth refuse to be 'targetted' by the tobacco industry

By Bobby Ramakant, CNS,

More than 80% of the tobacco use begins before the age of 18 years. The tobacco industry loses more than 5.4 million of its best customers every year as they die of causes attributed to tobacco use. Documents recovered from the tobacco industry reveal that the tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship campaigns are targetted to encourage young people and women to begin tobacco use.