From spiritual harmony to the women’s movement, new narratives will emerge in 2018

by Rashmee

Posted on December 26, 2017 / The National


“Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,” wrote TS Eliot in the final poem of the set called Four Quartets. “And next year’s words await another voice.” The new year will, as it always does, bring out other voices. But will they be heard over the loud, angry cries of 2017? Is 2018 going … Continue reading “From spiritual harmony to the women’s movement, new narratives will emerge in 2018”

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India’s patchy record on pollution has led the country to crisis

by Rashmee

Posted on December 20, 2017 / The National


Until Monday, when the Gujarat elections results came in, the air over Delhi was thick with speculation. The Indian capital, always a political cauldron, hissed and bubbled. Was Narendra Modi on the point of that ultimate indignity, losing face in his home state? Would Mr Modi’s BJP cede ground after 22 years in its stronghold? … Continue reading “India’s patchy record on pollution has led the country to crisis”

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The #Delhi #slum – before and after India’s economic liberalisation

by Rashmee

Posted on December 19, 2017


I first spent a considerable amount of time in a Delhi slum in 1986. The slum, known as Yamuna Pushta, started at ITO in Delhi and extended far into the east, along the river Yamuna. It was around the ITO part of the slum that my journalism class spent a few days and nights. The … Continue reading “The #Delhi #slum – before and after India’s economic liberalisation”

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Meerut’s mini metro E-rickshaw is a sign of changing times and not before time

by Rashmee

Posted on December 16, 2017


  The mini metro or E-rickshaw rushes around the traffic-clogged streets of Meerut, an interesting development for a north Indian city where planning is in short supply. I noticed the E-rickshaws rightaway – they were painted in individual and striking colours and were to be seen everywhere in the city. They’ve been around for two … Continue reading “Meerut’s mini metro E-rickshaw is a sign of changing times and not before time”

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Tom Friedman is writing about India again. Oh dear

by Rashmee

Posted on November 30, 2017


What I’m about to say has nothing to do with my being Indian. It does have to do with my being in India in 2009, when The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman visited and wrote a piece on renewable energy and its sunshine possibilities. (There’s a link to the article in the previous sentence, … Continue reading “Tom Friedman is writing about India again. Oh dear”

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Good actions can be bad politics as Germany shows

by Rashmee

Posted on November 26, 2017 / The Arab Weekly


Until late on No­vember 19, no one really thought that being a Good Samaritan would make for bad poli­tics. Would a leader who acted humanely be unjustly rewarded with political perdition? Then, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s seven-week attempts to cobble together a governing coalition fell apart. And the unspoken truth became clear: Good actions are … Continue reading “Good actions can be bad politics as Germany shows”

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#Catalonia: This has to have been the most reluctant, foot-dragging bid for freedom ever

by Rashmee

Posted on October 28, 2017


Think about it. The Catalan president would neither declare independence nor back away from it after the October 1 referendum. Even when Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s government explicitly asked Barcelona this question some 10 days later – “have you or have you not declared independence” – the Catalan leadership hemmed and hawed. Every week … Continue reading “#Catalonia: This has to have been the most reluctant, foot-dragging bid for freedom ever”

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People of the night: Why many western cities want mayors for the graveyard shift

by Rashmee

Posted on October 27, 2017


  A half-dozen European cities and one in Colombia in South America have night mayors. Many more are thinking of taking them on. New York, indeed. There, the functionary will be called “nightlife mayor” Why, one might wonder, when most people are (or should be) peacefully abed at night, resting from the labours of the … Continue reading “People of the night: Why many western cities want mayors for the graveyard shift”

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Bjorn Lomborg and the Crown of Resolute Optimism about human progress

by Rashmee

Posted on October 23, 2017


  After years of relentless optimism, Bjorn Lomborg is allowing himself to be disappointed. This matters. For many seasons, the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center has pushed a human “scorecard” that shows remarkable progress spanning 150 years. Poverty had fallen, Professor Lomborg declared brightly in his book ‘How Much have Global Problems Cost the … Continue reading “Bjorn Lomborg and the Crown of Resolute Optimism about human progress”

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In the battle against fake news, we can learn from the war on drugs

by Rashmee

Posted on October 18, 2017 / The National


There are reports that Google, Facebook and Twitter are working overtime to stamp out the scourge of  fake news . Unfortunately, these reports may turn out to be as flawed as the content they are supposedly trying to banish. This is not to cast doubt on the sincerity of the tech giants’ intentions. But can they realistically … Continue reading “In the battle against fake news, we can learn from the war on drugs”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US