Presence of Western fighters in ISIS raises serious questions

By Soroor Ahmed,,

It remains a mystery as to why, and how, thousands of Muslims––some of them women too––from the West, have covered such a long distance to join ISIS to fight war in Syria and Iraq, when we hardly find any example of community members from the US, UK, France etc. joining any war against Israel, or against NATO-led forces. For Muslims––cutting across sectarian lines––a war against the Jewish state should have been much more holier than taking up arms against Assad and al-Maliki, as it had occupied Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, the third holiest place after Mecca and Medina. This is so in spite of the fact that attacks by Israel on Arabs always evoke a lot of anger and street protests in Paris, London, New York etc.

Emerging issues in competitiveness

By Amit Kapoor,

An emerging theme in the area of competitiveness is the importance of regional competitiveness as the right unit of analysis. It includes not just the endowments one has like natural resources but also how one is able to utilize endowments and build infrastructure that is a critical enabler in gaining competitiveness.

Afghanistan sees first democratic transition amidst ‘sigh of relief,’ hope from the new government, and nostalgia for Karzai era

By M Reyaz,,

Afghanistan is all gear up for the first peaceful transition in over four decades – and in fact first democratic transition in its history - with a “sigh of relief” after months of impasse due to electoral related fraud allegations, and optimism for future amidst mixed reactions for the democratic strides in last 13 years.

By elections outcome: Wake-up call for secular forces to re-work their strategy

By Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam,

Results of the by elections for 36 seats across 10 states have exploded the myth of the BJP riding high on the promise of development and good governance by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. BJP lost 13 of the 23 seats it held in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Modi-Obama summit: A new way of doing things?

By Saroj Mohanty,

Personal relations between leaders have a long tradition in international diplomacy. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi readies to take part in his first summit with US President Barack Obama, pundits and the media have focused a good deal of attention on their encounter, billed as one that would seek to detangle the relationship and reenergize the strategic partnership.

धर्मनिरपेक्ष ‘महागठबंधन’ और साम्प्रदायिक गुत्थियां

By राजीव यादव,

बिहार उपचुनाव में नीतीश-लालू के महागठबंधन को ६ सीटें और राजग को ४ सीटें मिलने के बाद पूरे देश में इस किस्म के गठबंधन बनने-बनाने के गुणा-गणित शुरु हो गए है. महागठबंधन को मिली सफलता से उत्साहित शरद यादव ने कहा कि “भाजपा को रोकने के लिए अगले चुनाव में अब देश भर में महागठबंधन करेंगे.” सांप्रदायिक ताकतों को शिकस्त देने वाले इस महागठबंधन के मद्देनज़र इस बात को जेहन में रखना चाहिए कि इस महागठबंधन के दोनों मुस्लिम प्रत्याशियों - नरकटिया गंज से कांग्रेस के फखरुद्दीन और बांका से राजद के इकबाल हुसैन अंसारी - की हार हुई है. बांका में कड़ी टक्कर देते हुए इकबाल मात्र ७११ मतों से हारे हैं पर इससे यह भी साफ़ है कि जातीय समीकरणों से ऊपर उठकर भाजपा को हिंदू वोट मिले हैं. महागठबंधन ने मुस्लिम वोटों को तो समेट लिया पर हिंदू वोटों को अब भी समेट नहीं पाया, जो एक जेहनियत है, जिससे लड़ने का वायदा महागठबंधन कर रहा है.

Modi should speak out more on sports in India

By Veturi Srivatsa,

One wonders how Narendra Modi could draw a parallel between India winning a cricket match and the Mars achievement of space scientists when he himself and his alter ego Amit Shah controlled Gujarat cricket till the two shifted to Delhi.

अस्मानामा : मैं तो चार से निक़ाह करूंगा, लेकिन तुम्हारा क्या?

By अस्मा अंजुम खान,,

(अंग्रेज़ी पढ़ाती हैं और ढेर सारी बातें करती हैं.)

शनिवार का दिन मेरे लिए एक मशक्क़त से भरे हफ़्ते के अंत का सूचक होता है. पिछले छः दिनों के भीतर किए गए कामों के बाद मिलने वाला आराम मुझे अपने आगोश में लेने लगता है. इसी बीच एक शनिवार को एक बहन आती है और मुझे गले से लगाकर फूट-फूटकर रोने लगती है. उसने बताया कि आयशा और अन्य उम्माहतुल मोमिनीन के बारे में मेरी बातों ने उसके दिल को छू लिया. लेकिन अपनी उस रुलाई के बारे में पूछे जाने पर उसने जो बताया, उससे मैं न सिर्फ़ चकित हुई बल्कि अगले कुछ हफ़्तों तक मेरे भीतर डर बैठ गया था.

Magic, heroism and redemption: C.S. Lewis' Narnia tales

By Vikas Datta,

Fantastic beings and worlds have always been key elements of literature and works containing them have always relished by readers across ages and cultures. But while these motifs are present in a broad gamut of cross-cultural myths, fables, and epics both sacred and profane, fantasy as a literary genre in itself emerged much more recently than we think. Not even a century has elapsed since the appearance of two of its most famous, path-breaking works - which further burnished their credentials by the standards of our spectacle-oriented society by successfully making the transition to the big screen - as well as inspiring a host of other writers like J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan Philip Pullman, Lev Grossman and Neil Gaiman. These are the chronicles of the Middle Earth and of Narnia.

A new Modi doctrine for Indian foreign policy?

By Arul Louis,

Marking a decisive break from the slowly eroding traditional underpinnings of Indian foreign policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his United Nations speech set out a new framework marked by two elements: replacing the polemics of a bipolar era with a policy centred on dialogue and engagement and the vestiges of anti-colonialism with a focus on democratisation.