Articles by: Aijaz Zaka Syed

Indian Media’s open war on Muslims

Indian Media’s open war on Muslims

Some newspapers are fit only to line the bottom of bird cages, said Spiro Agnew. I wonder what the late US vice president would have thought of Indian media, especially the cacophonic television channels forever obsessing over the long vilified Indian Muslim. As if being Muslims in Modi’s ‘new India’ was not challenging enough, they now have to suffer the[Read More…]

April 24, 2020 India
This too Shall Pass

This too Shall Pass

We cannot allow a little, invisible virus to defeat or define us as humanity Amid this deepening darkness of all-round doom and gloom, there is a ray of hope at last.  The raging global pandemic of Coronavirus has killed all chances of US President Donald Trump being re-elected, exults Swaminathan A Aiyer.  No matter how well he handles the virus,[Read More…]

March 31, 2020 World
Jabeda Begum

Orwellian Nightmare in India

The sale of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, has reportedly surged 10,000 times since a New York property developer was elected to the world’s most powerful office.  It would be interesting to know how the groundbreaking book has fared in India since the man from Gujarat moved to Delhi. For more than the land of the free or the Western[Read More…]

February 26, 2020 India
AAP’s Success belongs to Shaheen Bagh

AAP’s Success belongs to Shaheen Bagh

If anyone truly deserves the credit for Kerjiwal’s extraordinary victory, it is the women of Shaheen Bagh So the aam aadmi’s ‘jhadu’ (broom) has swept away the toxic rubbish that the BJP had flooded the national capital of Delhi with. The credit for the spectacular performance by Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is being attributed to his brand of development politics[Read More…]

February 16, 2020 India
Indian Courts Have Let Down Democracy

Indian Courts Have Let Down Democracy

Justice Markandey Katju is a former judge of Supreme Court of India. Long before he retired in 2011, he had been known for both his outspoken views and his brilliant, scholarly lectures and speeches, especially on Indian history, Urdu literature and shared Hindu-Muslim civilizational heritage. After retiring from the highest court in the land, Justice Katju seems to have become[Read More…]

February 8, 2020 India
 People Power Humbles Modi, Shah

 People Power Humbles Modi, Shah

Modi and Amit Shah would ignore the lessons of history at their own peril Narendra Modi is in a league of his own.  He swept back into power in May 2019, defying disasters like demonetisation, GST, unemployment and agrarian distress.  His is the first government in the last 30 years to return to power with full majority and a massive[Read More…]

January 30, 2020 India
Modi Has Awakened a Sleeping Giant

Modi Has Awakened a Sleeping Giant

Indians are marching in millions to assert that they remain a united nation and are not prepared to be divided all over again as Hindus and Muslims I have never felt so proud of my country in a long, long time. Led mostly by students and youth, Indians are marching in their millions across the length and breadth of the[Read More…]

December 26, 2019 India
No time to hide for India’s Muslims

No time to hide for India’s Muslims

“Where do we go from here?” asked a US-based Indian Muslim friend the morning after India lurched further to the right with the smooth passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Yet another ostensibly wild and crazy idea on the Parivar’s agenda has been ticked off and with such ease. Who would have thought that it would take less than 72[Read More…]

December 15, 2019 India
Citizenship Amendment Bill: No country for Muslims

Citizenship Amendment Bill: No country for Muslims

Can a leopard change its spots? Can the saffron clan led by the RSS and BJP ever give up its core philosophy and agenda that is founded on a pathological hatred of all things Muslim? During the second tenure of the Manmohan Singh government when an elaborate exercise was launched collectively by the Sangh Parivar, India Inc and the media[Read More…]

December 11, 2019 India
Ayodhya: Adding insult to injury

Ayodhya: Adding insult to injury

If the bizarre Ayodhya verdict of India’s Supreme Court is a classic case of adding insult to injury, on the one hand, it marks the final and total surrender of the country’s democratic institutions to Hindutva, on the other. But this had long been coming and should have been apparent to all those watching the meltdown of the republic under[Read More…]

November 25, 2019 India
The Age of Savarkar in Gandhi’s India

The Age of Savarkar in Gandhi’s India

During the month and year of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, the BJP has the audacity to celebrate Savarkar, the plotter of Mahatma’s assassination Whatever you may think of the BJP and its extended Parivar, they have a sordid sense of humour. At a time when India and the world are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the governing party[Read More…]

October 28, 2019 India
Rahul Gandhi (C), President of India's main opposition Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) display copies of their party's election manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi, India, April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Salman Khurshid is Right: Congress’ Problem is its Leadership

“Congress party’s biggest problem is our leader Rahul Gandhi has walked away,” Khurshid told the Associated Press. “We need to know why we are in the state in which we are. Unfortunately despite our earnest pleading Rahul Gandhi decided to step down and resign from the president post. We wanted him to continue but it was his decision and we[Read More…]

October 14, 2019 India
No Place for Gandhi in Modi’s India 

No Place for Gandhi in Modi’s India 

Nothing is so prized in politics as a short public memory.  As India and the world mark the 150thbirth anniversary of Gandhi and world leaders ply us with the usual platitudes about the greatness of the Mahatma and his teachings, it’s extraordinary how anachronistic the man deified as the ‘Father of the nation’ has become in today’s India. And those[Read More…]

October 5, 2019 India
India’s courts letting down its most vulnerable sections

India’s courts letting down its most vulnerable sections

Indian judiciary, once known for its independence and integrity, had been the last hope of the dispossessed. Where do they turn for justice if this last resort is snatched from them? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves, as Roman poet Juvenal would ask. Following the stunning UK Supreme Court ruling this week, rebuking Prime Minister Boris[Read More…]

September 29, 2019 India
Ayodhya: India’s Judiciary on Trial

Ayodhya: India’s Judiciary on Trial

  IT has been nearly 27 years since the destruction of the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. And it still feels like yesterday that the tragedy that changed India forever struck. Most of us remember where we were or what we were doing that fateful day. It is as if time has stood still all these years. It indeed has[Read More…]

September 8, 2019 India
Kashmir – The Invisible and the Damned

Kashmir – The Invisible and the Damned

You can look away now The Vale of tears has dried up And a deathly silence stalks the Dal Deserted towns, burnt orchards and shadows everywhere. Paradise will ne’er be the same again Nothing will ever be the same again We, the invisible and the damned, the rejected and the reviled, have long ceased to exist for a world gone[Read More…]

August 31, 2019 Arts/Literature
Indian media’s sellout on Kashmir

Indian media’s sellout on Kashmir

Recalling the stellar role of the Indian media during the infamous internal Emergency imposed by the late Indira Gandhi, Lal Krishna Advani, the BJP patriarch now forcibly retired, famously noted: “You were asked to bend but you began to crawl.” Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well known for his love of the fourth estate right from his Gujarat days, the[Read More…]

August 30, 2019 India
How Modi, Shah Brought Kashmir to Global Centre-Stage

How Modi, Shah Brought Kashmir to Global Centre-Stage

Kudos to Narendra Modi and his hefty henchman, Amit Shah. They have managed to transform India’s image overnight from that of being the world’s largest democracy into a highhanded occupation power. Something that Pakistan couldn’t quite accomplish over the past 73 years despite its best efforts. The much feted democracy is today being compared to the Apartheid states of Israel[Read More…]

August 25, 2019 India
Indianising Kashmir, at Gunpoint

Indianising Kashmir, at Gunpoint

“Maine aisa Hindustan kabhi nahin dekha!” In six words, Farooq Abdullah may have captured the trauma and acute sense of betrayal of his people. The three-time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir broke down like a child during a media interaction at his Srinagar residence. The National Conference leader and son of the late Sheikh Abdullah, the Lion of Kashmir,[Read More…]

August 10, 2019 India
Darkness Grows, from America to India

Darkness Grows, from America to India

If Donald Trump’s shock election for the world’s most powerful office had been seen as an accident and as a recipe for disaster by many, he has done everything to justify those fears over the past three and half years. Not a day passes without the President casually throwing away all the love and respect that the United States has[Read More…]

July 23, 2019 World
Will Modi have the last laugh?

Will Modi have the last laugh?

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. You do not have to be a psephologist to predict the outcome of the critical General Election that India will hold two weeks from now if the opposition does not get its act together. On the one hand, you have the ruling BJP and Narendra Modi, ably aided[Read More…]

April 4, 2019 India
Why Congress Can’t Win by Trying to be More Like BJP

Why Congress Can’t Win by Trying to be More Like BJP

It’s about time Rahul Gandhi impressed upon his flock, including his chief ministers, that the Congress cannot return to power by trying to be the ‘B’ team of the BJP The more things change in India, the more they seem to remain the same. How else would one explain the slapping of draconian National Security Act against three Muslims in[Read More…]

February 10, 2019 India
The Agony of Being Naseeruddin Shah 

The Agony of Being Naseeruddin Shah 

  The storm of abuse and sheer vitriol that greeted Naseeruddin Shah’s lament over the alarming state of the nation only proves his point. The actor wasn’t even referring to the routine attacks and abuse that India’s Muslims have been facing on a daily basis since the country ushered in the good times under the current order.  His comment that[Read More…]

January 2, 2019 Communal Harmony
End of India’s long, dark night?

End of India’s long, dark night?

The spring of hope has arrived at last. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its powerful propaganda machine had pitched this as a contest between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi — Namdar versus Kamdar (the entitled one vs someone who has worked his way up). And the voters have spoken what they think of the performance of Kamdar! The Indians have[Read More…]

December 19, 2018 India
From Bombay to Bulandshahr

From Bombay to Bulandshahr

Hindutva has emerged as the clear and present danger to Hinduism and silence is not an option for the sane majority Aijaz Zaka Syed So this is how the cookie crumbles. Who would have thought India would find itself at this dangerous crossroads so early in its democratic journey after all those historic sacrifices offered by the founding fathers for[Read More…]

December 12, 2018 Communal Harmony
Go ahead, rename India itself

Go ahead, rename India itself

Can you change the past by changing the present? Would Hinduising Faizabad, Allahabad, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Hyderabad and so many other great Indian cities help wipe out the country’s rich Islamic past? After all, every inch of the land carries the unmistakable imprint of the rich Muslim contribution to the great Indian civilization. Ironically, this ire against India’s former rulers pointedly[Read More…]

November 24, 2018 Communal Harmony
Reality of Israeli outreach to Arabs

Reality of Israeli outreach to Arabs

  There are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends, theorised William Clay, only permanent interests. The principle perhaps best applies to the current geopolitical situation of the Middle East. Having lived in the region for so long, one has seen one’s fair share of upheavals — coups and revolutions and wars and conflicts. One has had a ringside view of[Read More…]

November 13, 2018 World
Stealing Indian Icons RSS Style

Stealing Indian Icons RSS Style

What’s with this obsession of powerful men with grand monuments? The biggest, largest and tallest…the more insecure a leader, the more grandiloquent is his vision of his legacy. Perhaps Freud could explain the psychological causes behind these magnificent obsessions and preoccupation with size. So Egypt’s pyramids had been more than mere last abodes of pharaohs and other members of the[Read More…]

November 11, 2018 India
From Holy Cow To Human Shield, A New India Rises

From Holy Cow To Human Shield, A New India Rises

Unlike their Western neighbour, Indians have managed to keep the Army strictly away from politics — and vice versa. Indeed, if the country has been a vibrant, multicultural democracy, the credit goes to the nation’s early leadership as well as the Army and the stability it has provided all these years by remain strictly apolitical and neutral. That seems to[Read More…]

June 20, 2017 India