Protests and television debates on the apex court’s decision to OK the publication of a book on Maratha ruler Shivaji, banned in 2004 by the Maharashtra government, has put India back in the spotlight on the question of freedom of expression.
India is secular and a democracy but a country with a billon-plus population — consisting of hundreds of tribes, clans and castes following myriad beliefs — can be pretty fickle when it comes to defining ‘sensitive’ topics and easily susceptible to parochial politics.
Almost a year and a half since the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman captured during the three-day rampage, has been sentenced to death by a special court.
“He shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead,” Judge M.L. Tahilyani said at a special court as Kasab sat with his head bowed, occasionally wiping his eyes with the back of his hand and then covering his ears with his fingers.
A Mumbai court on Thursday sentenced to death Pakistani citizen Mohammad Ajmal Kasab over the 2008 attacks that killed 166 people.
Does he deserve the death penalty?
Should India now train its guns on Kasab’s alleged handlers in Pakistan, even at the cost of derailing the peace process with its neighbour?
Just days after 76 security personnel were killed by Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh, a long-pending bill to prevent torture has been cleared by the cabinet for introduction in parliament, which aims to align Indian law with the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
Activists have for years demanded ratification of the 1984 U.N. convention, which India signed 13 years ago, to curb alleged brutalities by state agencies especially in disturbed areas like Jammu and Kashmir, the North East and the “red corridor” where Maoists operate.
Love and marriage have always been subjected to societal norms in most communities and this is especially true in India with its myriad structures of caste, class and a historical rich-poor divide.
The recent media glare on honour killings in northern India put the spotlight on the traditional system of local “khap” councils, who do not allow persons from the same sub-caste or lineage to marry.
Fashion consciousness has grown in a big way in the last 3-4 years, a fashion analyst told me. And judging by the crowds that throng the week-long Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, it would seem that most middle class citizens, given a chance (or a day pass) want to have a piece of the fashion fraternity tag on their chest, whether they have any clue about couture or not.
The question of affordability or even wearability of the sometimes outlandish designs for the common man on Indian streets is another question.
Twelve contemporary artists including Dilip Sharma, Farad Hussain, Satish Gupta and Nitin Bal Chauhan lent their creative touch to a charity initiative by handpainting ten autorickshaws which will be auctioned at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.
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