Sreeram Chaulia

Sreeram Chaulia.JPG

Nato: Axis of drift

The just-concluded summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) in Chicago leaves gaping questions about the viability and direction of the world’s largest military alliance.

Osama’s shadow falls Eastward

The first anniversary of the assassination of the former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan is an opportune moment to assess the future of militant Islam, which first burst on to the global political stage during the Afghan war of the 1980s. Is violent ultra-radical Islamism less influential today? Has the jihadist juggernaut been rolled back? Are we in a new post-Islamist phase of world history where conflict has returned to revolving around traditional axes of geopolitics, alliances and rivalries among nation states, rather than around
clashes among religious bigots?

Good nukes, bad nukes

The starkly divergent international reactions to North Korea’s abortive launch of the Unha-3 missile (disguised as a rocket to place a “satellite” into orbit), and to India’s successful test of the Ag

The spy who sold his cause

The sentencing of the flamboyant Kashmiri-American lobbyist, Ghulam Nabi Fai, by a district court in Virginia, US, to two years of imprisonment and three additional years of monitored release, is a victory for India. It is also a slap in the face for those who had been propagating a “third way” of independence, as opposed to remaining in India or joining Pakistan, for the Muslims of Kashmir. Fai’s fall from the status of a high-flying Washington broker, who mobilised many American lawmakers and Kashmiri Muslim diaspora members to support “self-determination” in Kashmir, to a convicted criminal as an unregistered agent of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is a big blow to the azaadi brigade.

Kony games

The viral popularity of an online documentary, Kony 2012, which has garnered a whopping 76 million views within a few days of its release on YouTube, has raised a host of uncomfortable questions about the misuse of social media by sensationalists and the politics of misrepresenting Africa. The 30-minute video, produced by an American advocacy group, Invisible Children Inc, graphically depicts child conscription and atrocities of the Ugandan rebel outfit, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and calls for ending its extended run of impunity.

To women, with love, from Africa

Maputo, Mozambique

On International Women’s Day, one cannot but help ponder over the dismal state of gender justice in India and how entrenched the patriarchal order is in our country. By most reliable rankings of gender equality, India is one of the laggards which has made minimal to even negative progress on empowering the fairer half of its population and on bridging the power gap between male and female. Take, for instance, the widely respected gender equity index compiled by the consortium of international civil society networks, Social Watch.

The New Left of the Internet era

In 2003, amidst fervent anti-Iraq war protests across the planet, author and journalist Patrick Tyler wrote in the New York Times that there were two superpowers in the world — the United States and world public opinion. In the intervening years, the relentless accumulation of power by China has ensured that a second nation-state has joined the US at the pinnacle of world rankings. And simultaneous to the ascent of China, global public opinion is climbing higher on the shoulders of “web 2.0” technologies.

The politics of charity

Foreign aid is both a sop to the liberal conscience of the donor state’s domestic society as well as an instrument of indirect control over recipient states. The motivations and effects of aid are frequently ulterior and detrimental, notwithstanding the altruistic rhetoric. These ugly realities were reified recently by two prominent cases, one in post-revolutionary Egypt and the other in economically growing India.

Tibet & Xi who must be obeyed

This week, China’s heir apparent to succeed Hu Jintao as President, Xi Jinping, is on a “coming out” diplomatic visit to the United States where he’ll hold wide-ranging discussions on bilateral ties between the world’s two greatest powers. In light of the transition at the top of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), this visit is being monitored for the kind of first impressions that Mr Xi will leave on the international stage.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.