Indians abroad & foreign-returned: South Africa’s Guptas; Nirav Modi in US

by Rashmee

Posted on February 19, 2018


Once upon a time, Indians thought it prestigious to be “foreign-returned”. And England, the old colonial master, symbolized everywhere foreign, until “Amreeka” took its place. Now, the Gupta family of South Africa-via-Saharanpur is setting a whole new standard for “foreign-returned” Indians. Ajay Gupta, one of the three businessmen brothers who relocated from Saharanpur in north … Continue reading “Indians abroad & foreign-returned: South Africa’s Guptas; Nirav Modi in US”

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India’s plan for the world’s largest public healthcare system is a big idea, but is it doomed to failure?

by Rashmee

Posted on February 6, 2018 / The National


India has one of the largest railway networks in the world and now it wants to put in place the largest public healthcare system. It’s a worthy aspiration but so far, the February 1 announcement goes no further than that. No one knows how the grandly named  National Health Protection Scheme will be funded, structured, managed or … Continue reading “India’s plan for the world’s largest public healthcare system is a big idea, but is it doomed to failure?”

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Could bamboo literally be the green replacement for plastics?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 24, 2018


  The search for eminently biodegradeable products and materials to serve food, provide packaging and basically serve as an alternative to plastics has thrown up the following, so far: kulhar, the traditional unglazed clay cup from India bamboo a new plastics-free paperboard from southeast Finland, which would be suitable for disposable coffee cups and food … Continue reading “Could bamboo literally be the green replacement for plastics?”

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Plastic pollution is already a big problem. This year it just got bigger

by Rashmee

Posted on January 23, 2018 / The National


Here’s what the small Alpine town of Davos could be discussing today, but won’t. The use of traditional materials to replace plastic waste. More specifically, the annual meeting of global political and business elites could consider tangibles. For instance, the kulhar, the unglazed earthenware pots South Asians have been using as food containers for hundreds … Continue reading “Plastic pollution is already a big problem. This year it just got bigger”

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First Rajinikanth, now Oprah: name-recognition alone should not prepare you for public office

by Rashmee

Posted on January 16, 2018 / The National


In India, popular Tamil film star Rajinikanth announces his political debut “in the name of democracy,” which he says “has been corrupted and needs to be cleansed.” In the US, fevered speculation surrounds the political prospects of much-loved television talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Nearly 15,000 kilometres apart, the developments in Chennai and Los Angeles … Continue reading “First Rajinikanth, now Oprah: name-recognition alone should not prepare you for public office”

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How Trump set the stage for more gripping drama in the US-Pakistan relationship

by Rashmee

Posted on January 10, 2018 / The National


Donald Trump’s first tweet of the year bashed Pakistani perfidy and had Indians cheering his perspicacity but it should really only be read for what it is: a snarling America First salute to 2018 and meaningless beyond a few weeks. Only the naïve would expect Mr Trump’s tweet — and Pakistan’s response of injured innocence — to have lasting … Continue reading “How Trump set the stage for more gripping drama in the US-Pakistan relationship”

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Reading a bowl of youpo noodles in #Tunis for evidence of China’s rise

by Rashmee

Posted on January 9, 2018


Does it say something about the new year that in the closing hours of 2017, one of the most comforting (and relatively cheap) meals in the Tunisian capital was offered by a Chinese restaurant? It is not a fancy place (in fact, it rejoices in the simple, clear name of “Chinese Restaurant”) but it offers … Continue reading “Reading a bowl of youpo noodles in #Tunis for evidence of China’s rise”

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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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Congress Needs a Makeover Like UK’s New Labour. Here’s a 3-point Cheat Sheet for Rahul Gandhi

by Rashmee

Posted on December 19, 2017 / CNN News18


The people of Gujarat have spoken, basically to say they’ll stick with the BJP, for now. So, can Congress re-make itself enough to change the voters’ mind sometime in the future? Yes, going by the example of Britain’s Labour Party. Twenty years ago, Labour managed one of the most remarkable instances of an electorally successful … Continue reading “Congress Needs a Makeover Like UK’s New Labour. Here’s a 3-point Cheat Sheet for Rahul Gandhi”

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