I felt unease, despair and concern as the news about Mainak Sarkar flared on social media. With growing alarm, I watched the racist tweets roll in. Sarkar was called a Muslim, a terrorist and his actions were proof positive that "third worlders shouldn't be allowed in advanced societies." Some people demanded that Indians issue an apology.
On Monday, attorneys for Purvi Patel -- a 33-year-old Indian-American who made history by becoming the first woman in the US to be charged, convicted and sentenced for both foeticide and child neglect -- asked an appeals court to overturn the convictions that led to her 20-year prison sentence. And while I find it empowering and reassuring that at least two dozen women's advocacy groups, advocates and feminists are siding with Patel, I am deeply sceptical of the motives of some...
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
With her extremely powerful public platform, Twinkle Khanna had an opportunity to do a hard-hitting piece on Malala and why it is so wrong for a "holy man" to go after a young teen. She could have brought readers to tears, she could have made people think and, maybe, it would have made Sri Sri apologize. Instead, she was the one who had to apologize for a silly tweet.
Tai Power Seeff via Getty Images
All this interviewing, all this fact-checking, all this daily drama of ethics with editors, really yaar, it's not what De is about. And after the Shiv Sena hassle, she has decided, it's much safer to throw White people under the bus. Leslee Udwin who made <em>India's Daughter</em> was one target of a De-brand diatribe. And then, of course, was the veteran journalist's latest and perhaps lowest exercise yet: her body-shaming and sartorial picking-apart of the Royal Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Paper Boat Creative via Getty Images
India has the largest population is the world without access to clean water. Water Aid, an international charity, says that 76 million Indians don't have access to safe water. When will the BJP chant the slogan "Clean Water for All"? According to a study, a woman is raped every 30 minutes in India. Every two minutes, a woman is a victim of a crime. When will the BJP chant the slogan "Safety for All Women and Children"?
The government, the lawyers and the police have stood together and proved that they have no pride and no respect for their positions. They can flaunt the law, they can bring in anarchy and they can get away with it. Who is really damaging the integrity, the sovereignty and the respect of the nation? Who is shaming India? The students who want to convey their feelings in a protest? The journalists who are doing their job? Or the protectors of the people? The guardians of the law?
Sharbari Ahmed, a Bangladeshi American writer is part of the multicultural team of <em>Quantico</em> writers, with her first solo TV credit, episode 13, "Clear", set to air on 13 March. Here she talks about writing for the hit show and what it's like to be a Muslim in the US today.
Andrew Burton via Getty Images
Six years and 358 days into his two-term run at the White House, President Barack Obama delivered his last State of the Union address on 12 January. This was perhaps the most powerful speech that Obama has made and I believe this will be the speech that, in the annals of history, will define him both as a President and as an American.
At the last Democratic debate held on 19 December, Hillary Clinton confidently stated that Donald Trump had appeared in recruitment videos for ISIS. Trump then demanded an apology from Clinton, whose staff replied with an emphatic "hell no". And then, a terrorist group Al-Shabaab released a new recruitment video featuring Trump.
In 2015, Anger boiled over. Hate screeched. But the shouting and the cacophony shouldn't drown out the decent and the caring and the logical. Tragedies and violent incidents shrouded the goodness and the decency but they were there. I go into 2016 filled with the memories of goodness, kindness and compassion.
This December, the 16th, marked the third anniversary of the Delhi gang-rape that horrified the world. I am sharing my story to tell the world a few facts: That, even today in Indian cities, in public transportation, we are all Jyoti Singh and that whatever happened to her could have happened to any of us. We must not forget her. We must say her name and in her honour, we must empower all girls.
On 24 November, people took to the streets in two cities in two countries to protest against two different issues. Yet there is a world of difference between the protest in Mumbai and the one that took place in Chicago. The Chicago protestors took to the streets to demand justice for a Black teen killed by a White policeman, while the Mumbai agitators were intent on intimidating an actor, Aamir Khan, for daring to voice his opinions.
Rob Stothard via Getty Images
Sanjay Patel spent his childhood at the Lido Motel, run by his Gujarati family, in San Bernardino back in the 1980s. Here the Pixar Animation Studios artist and star animator talks about growing up as a brown boy in America, the place of religion in his life and his inspiration for creating the critically acclaimed short film that depicts Hanuman, Durga and Vishnu as superheroes who triumph over evil.
If the national anthem really means something to you, instead of being angry at the people who didn't stand, you should direct that rage towards yourselves. Do you even know what standing up for something means? When do you stand for unity? For one nation? For equality for all? For freedom for all?
I believe that it's pointless to blame race or religion for mass shootings. Guns are an equaliser, they all use them. It's simple: if there were stricter gun control laws, there would be fewer mass shootings. Meanwhile, and my heart sinks as I say this, we are not safe in America. All we can do is hope that the next shooting, and there's no doubt that it will happen, won't strike too close to home.
UNHCR Photo Download/Flickr
In India, the media's soft target and the people's favourite punching bag is Rahul Gandhi, who been mocked and scorned for years now. But fortune's tide is fickle. Days ago, a student Elixir Nahar, who was at the infamous visit by Gandhi to Mount Carmel College wrote a Facebook post that went viral. In it, the she bluntly showcased the unfairness of the media portrayal of Gandhi, taking the press to task for its colossal failure in accurately reporting the event.
This is a country built by immigrants and even after 25 years here, I still idealise the famous inscription on The Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." But since the 13 November terror attacks in Paris by Islamist extremists, which killed some 130 people, a majority of people in America have rejected the idea of admitting refugees from Syria, a national poll by Bloomberg Politics shows.
In the beginning, the generously expressed emotional tributes on social media were as bright as the lights of the monuments that lit up around the world in the colours of the French flag. But within a few hours, the unpleasant, cutting comments began to fly all over social media. The sadness and shock gave way to ugly accusations of racism and insinuations of indifference. The judgmental finger-pointing and tongue-lashing was directed at people who had not expressed emotion for the victims of the suicide bombings in Beirut.
I watched in horror and shock with the rest of the world, as television and social media captured the terrorist attacks that struck Paris. For me, the tragedy was personal because I am among the lucky people who actually lived in Paris, a city of revelry, beauty, style, fashion, magic, life, lights and pleasure.
US-based Indians who swore by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and gave him rock star welcomes during his visits here are now being forced to re-evaluate his performance. They are finally asking themselves the hard-hitting questions. What is India becoming under Modi? Why are these ministers talking like this? Why doesn't Modi ever condemn their remarks? Does he agree with them?