How to pandemic-proof a Hindu (or any other) pilgrimage

by Rashmee

Posted on April 24, 2021


/ FAITH, HOPE… One of my grandmothers died after contracting small pox at the Kumbh Mela less than a hundred years ago. Her husband, my grandfather, had already passed, so my father was left an orphan. He went on to become a doctor, both his profession and his personal story making him sceptical of large … Continue reading “How to pandemic-proof a Hindu (or any other) pilgrimage”

Read More

India, Hungary, Turkey, Trump’s America

by Rashmee

Posted on October 29, 2020


In the way of television quizzes, here’s your starter for ten: What unites India, Hungary, Turkey and the United States? They’re governed by nationalist parties, all of which are increasingly promoting a faux democracy. The BJP, Fidesz, AKP and the Republican Party are a common thread that runs through the body politic of all four … Continue reading “India, Hungary, Turkey, Trump’s America”

Read More

Making sense of Modi’s India: An ‘aam’ NRI’s view once again

by Rashmee

Posted on August 5, 2020


Now that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for a Hindu temple in Ayodhya, I couldn’t help but think of the chapter I contributed to the HarperCollins India book ‘Making Sense of Modi’s India’. The book, published in 2016, two years after Mr Modi’s first magnificent national election victory, was a … Continue reading “Making sense of Modi’s India: An ‘aam’ NRI’s view once again”

Read More

Several recent stories paint a patchy portrait of India

by Rashmee

Posted on November 12, 2019 / The National


Some sense of what is happening in India can be gleaned from four news stories. On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court decides on whether it should be bound, like other public agencies, by the Right to Information Act; the Indian rupee last week fell by 0.5 per cent after ratings agency Moody’s lowered the country’s … Continue reading “Several recent stories paint a patchy portrait of India”

Read More

What state elections in India have in common with Istanbul and Budapest

by Rashmee

Posted on October 29, 2019 / The National


The results of recent elections in two Indian states — Haryana and Maharashtra — have come as a surprise to prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party as well as its opponents. The BJP’s vote share in Haryana, which borders the Indian capital Delhi, fell by 22 per cent, in contrast to its triumphal performance in the national election … Continue reading “What state elections in India have in common with Istanbul and Budapest”

Read More

The Trump effect was underway long before Trump. But now, it is empowered

by Rashmee

Posted on October 4, 2019


Israel, India, Britain…The grim rollcall of countries where long-standing norms of political behaviour are increasingly disregarded, and where elected leaders attack the tools that keep democracy vibrant and true. Stanford political scientist Larry Diamond has described some of these tools as follows: judicial independence, a free media, a deeply engaged civil society, universities, the civil service, … Continue reading “The Trump effect was underway long before Trump. But now, it is empowered”

Read More

Why politicians around the world are getting on the radical love train

by Rashmee

Posted on July 3, 2019 / The National


Populism of the most hateful sort has had a baleful presence in the headlines for the past two years, but now a very different political perspective is challenging it, without animus. It’s called “radical love” and had its first electoral win on June 23, when Ekrem Imamoglu was elected mayor of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. … Continue reading “Why politicians around the world are getting on the radical love train”

Read More

A manifesto for lost liberals?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 15, 2019


Every lost liberal, defeated by the Indian election result and the Hindu nationalists’ emphatic win, should read sociology professor Avijit Pathak’s piece in The Wire. (Click here or just read the blog below. It has the highlights of Professor Pathak’s argument). Professor Pathak makes an important concession: “In contemporary India, no concept has created more … Continue reading “A manifesto for lost liberals?”

Read More

For India, it wasn’t the economy

by Rashmee

Posted on May 29, 2019


Shashi Tharoor, an MP of India’s Congress Party, asked a pertinent question the other day: wasn’t it right for Congress and the rest of the Indian opposition to assume people would vote in their own economic interest? Mr Tharoor meant Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s controversial economic decisions – demonetisation, for instance, when nearly 90 … Continue reading “For India, it wasn’t the economy”

Read More

If the exit polls are to be believed, there’s no way out for Modi’s opponents

by Rashmee

Posted on May 21, 2019 / The National


The results of India’s general election — a massive, seven-phase exercise that ran from April 11 to May 19 — will be announced late on Thursday, but until then, the chatter is all about the exit polls. They came thick and fast after the last votes were cast, triggering paroxysms of delight in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata … Continue reading “If the exit polls are to be believed, there’s no way out for Modi’s opponents”

Read More

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