Begum Akhtar: The Tormented Soul Who Rose to be the Ghazal Queen

Begum Akhtar was no ordinary singer. Sarojini Naidu praised her that she was brilliant; the legendary Gauhar Jaan predicted she would be a great ghazal singer. And much later, as she became a household name with her sublime voice and mellifluous singing, she remained humble, though moody and unpredictable.

The Coup in Bombay House

Like the UP drama, the Bombay House drama, is essentially about an aging patriarch unwilling to fully let go the reins to a chosen successor. Mulayam Singh Yadav who anointed his son Akhilesh as the Chief Minister of India’s largest state and putative inheritor of the clan’s pelf and thralldom, now finds in him a young man seeking to find his wings and get away from the restrictive influence and ways of the patriarch.

The Supreme Court throws down the gauntlet.

The Court has overreacted by holding the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act and the NJAC Act 2014 “unconstitutional and void”; and by doing so the Court has ignored the unanimous will of the Parliament, most of the state legislatures and the desire of the people for transparency in judicial appointments. It has perpetuated a system that has not proven to be in anyway superior to what it superseded. On the other hand it has flung down a gauntlet at that most fundamental notion of a democracy that the people speak through their Parliament. It is now for the people to pick up the gauntlet.

Mughal-e-Azam Redux

All you need is love, he cried and the troops ardently responded ‘She loves you; yeah yeah and with a love like that you know it can’t be bad’. However the tremendous motivation of love was no match for the might of the Mughal army and ultimately it came down to a one on one match up between the father and the son.

Raag and Roll : Meet Afghan Robab-Slinger, Qais Essar

Qais Essar doesn’t play in a rock and roll band, nor does he want to; he’s too cool for that. He’d rather stick to his guns and play the twangy lute he was born to strum: the robab, which, like he himself, hails from beautiful Afghanistan.

Compiling Rekha’s story

You get to read all that you want to read. But only a little more than what you already knew about the actor. If you were born in 70’s you already know most of the documented stories.

Mallikarjun Mansur: The humble perfectionist, who strode the Hindustani music firmament like a colossus

Mallikarjun always led a simple life and humble life. He worshipped music and wanted to share its purity and joy with all his listeners. Worldly success meant little to him. Even in the semi-coma condition he was in, before he bid adieu to the mortal world in September 1992, he would ask his son Rajasekhar to sing and guide him as to what he should improve.

Uganda: A brilliant genocide

From 1986 to 2006, President Museveni’s troops drove nearly two million Acholis, 90% of the population, into concentration camps. In all that time, the Ugandan military machine continued to be financed by the US.

Conflict between freedom of expression and religion intolerance in India

Historian Romila Thaper and prominent advocate Rajiv Dhwan also have expressed their deep concern over politicians supporting and propagating extreme religious nationalism. Increasing fundamentalism in Indian society is active in suppressing dissenting opinion and quite often refer liberal voices as an anti-national.

Open letter to SAARC leaders on Human Rights Instruments

In order to make SAARC more effective as a regional mechanism to combat impunity, promote basic rights of the peoples of the region, SAARC should reform from within to create a new mechanism. This body should be based on legal framework, a charter to guide whole body. The new mechanism should develop its identity as a part of the region by forging links with various institutions in the region dealing with issues of human rights and justice.

Shyam Benegal: The Pioneer of Parallel Cinema

Shyam Benegal is rated as a trend setter in so far as parallel cinema in India is concerned. It can be said that no director since Satyajit Ray has done more for Indian cinema than Benegal, endearingly addressed as Shyam babu by his friends and admirers. Benegal provides an alternative history of cinema in India, away from willing suspension of disbelief and which the mainstream cinema specialises and he has consistently drawn attention to myriad inequalities and disparities which scar Indian society, polity and economy. These basic, grim and stern realities of life were conveniently airbrushed by the popular cinema to create an artificial make-belief world.