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When Facts Get A Beating: A Geo-Political Review Of ‘Dishoom’

Films like ‘Dishoom’ are mere entertainers, and perhaps not much should be expected of them to begin with. But Bollywood’s soft power in representing not just India, but what India is about -- politically, socially and economically -- is a very uncelebrated branch of both policy and diplomacy. Unfortunately, more often than not, our films prefer to overlook basic fact-checking and logic to pursue the over-the-top entertainment that sells so well.
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Our Reactions To Terror Are A Litany Of Hypocrisies

Social media reactions to terrorism or acts of terror make for very interesting case studies. Never before have the masses been able to opine with such freedom on platforms that allow millions of others to read and share their views. News channels, newspapers and so on today are being challenged by people directly as the internet, often via smartphones and tablets, offers unprecedented, and often alternative and raw access to information. However, such access and fluidity in information flow comes with certain shortcomings.
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Paying Our Debt To The Forgotten Overseas Indian

Though the Middle East provides ample room for every overseas worker to make his fair share of wealth, it is often at the cost of said worker's self-esteem, and in certain cases -- human rights. Unlike their compatriots living "the dream", overseas Indians in the Gulf are not treated at par with the locals and Westerners despite their loyalty, years (often decades) of service, stake in national development (of their host country) and permanent residency cards.
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Why The OIC's Plea For Muslim Solidarity Is A Pipe Dream

Pan-Islamic unity, the kind preached by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the recent Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul, is not a bridge too far if all parties check their egos at the door. Unfortunately, that does not seem likely anytime soon. To rework J K Rowling's prose, the problem with the Middle East today is there are no heroes or villains. There is only power, and those too self-absorbed to see past it.

The Canard Of The Shia-Sunni War In The Middle East

Ever since the execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia, the retaliatory attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the subsequent diplomatic and trade cut off between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the media has reported widely on the Shia-Sunni divide. But how relevant is this? Are we really witnessing a Shia-Sunni division in Middle East?

How 'Manageable Chaos' Spawned ISIS In The Middle East

Nevertheless, neither Britain nor France were naive in their carving up of old Ottoman territory. They required a stable Middle-East for trade, not a strong one. Both were fine with the natives squabbling amongst themselves and needing their protection. They would happily maintain the status quo. Even if this sectarian soup ever spilled over, it would still be "manageable chaos."
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The Middle East's Secret Religion

We've been in the Middle East for less than a year but one of our first impressions, confirming the illusory nature of this region, has lasted: the lopsided emphasis that people place on materialism and designer labels. Rigid judgments are formed about people based on the luxury items they do or do not have, discussions bordering on intellectual discourse are held on the merits of various brands at social and workplace events.
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The "Salman Doctrine" Could Singe Pakistan

The Saudi royal reshuffle is bad news for Pakistan. King Salman bin Abdulaziz's appointment of his nephew and son as monarchs-in-waiting is more than a simple break with tradition. Beyond ensuring his Sudairi clan's foreseeable hold on power, this move provides continuity to the "Salman Doctrine." This doctrine discards the Kingdom's American security blanket, and reinforces what Anwar Gargash, the UAE Foreign Minister, believes: "Arab security... is the responsibility of none but Arab countries."