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Showing posts from 2014

I want my stories to remain with my readers for a long time

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“I want my stories to remain with my readers for a long time”, says Heena Jadav Sunil; a Karachi based Pakistani author who has just published her debut novel by the title of Equinox. In conversation with Nidhi Shendurnikar-Tere, she speaks her heart out on life in both India & Pakistan; her love for writing ‘fantasy romance’ and the individual transformation that she seeks through it.

Heena ji, your journey spans from India to Pakistan. Tell us something about this journey, your life in India then and now in Pakistan. How does it feel having lived in two countries that have been engaged in conflict since long? My life in India was very adventurous; I went to an ‘all girls’ convent school. I was into lots of sports like skating, horse-riding, cycling, dancing (classical, garba), singing, harmonium classes, stage dramas, annual tours, learned how to ride a bike … you name it and I did it as a typical teenager. Here, in Pakistan I have my own family which keeps me busy. I feel my hea…

Mary Kom - What an Indian man can do!

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The real-life story of Mary Kom, champion boxer from India is now on the silver screen where Priyanka Chopra has played the role of real-life Mary Kom. It is always exciting to see how stories of sporting legends are translated to the bigger screen. Case in example is Milkha Singh which was a good movie despite the fact that it focused more on his losses than his victories. It is always heartening to see that sports other than cricket are also gaining ground in the country and one way of popularizing other sports can be to draw audiences to stories of sporting legends through movies based on their life. This is one reason why Mary Kom was always meant to be a success (Here, I do not talk of success in the parameters of box office collections, but in the sense of the critical acclaim and the widespread appreciation that the movie has garnered). The real life story of a boxing champion from a small town in Manipur, her hard work, her struggles and her eventual success are all ingredien…

Where is the real working woman in our TV soaps?

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By:

Nalanda Tambe & Nidhi Shendurnikar-Tere

The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

Over the years, female characters in popular soaps on Indian television have been portrayed regressively; as housewives engaged in domestic chores, as scheming experts playing kitchen politics or as sacrificial goddesses wanting to please their husband and family. The absence of dignified, real and ambitious working women in these soap operas successfully creates and reinforces misleading images of Indian women. It also deepens existing gender stereotypes that prevail in Indian society. Even as traditional realities are glamourized, the distortion of the working woman‟s image is apparent. The article examines popular serials and the portrayal of working women professionals in the light of television as a mass medium thriving on "infotainment". 
Keywords: working women, television, gender stereotypes, Indian society, distortion, portrayal  
Television soaps go Traditional  
The advent o…

Invasion – Humanity Triumphs

Got this amazing chance to review Heena Jadav Sunil's short story "Invasion". She is a Pakistani novelist whose debut novel Equinox is breaking grounds in the arena of fantasy and fiction writing in Pakistan.
Heena Jadav Sunil’s short story titled ‘Invasion’ is an extremely bold yet sensitive attempt to unearth a largely ignored issue in our society. To a naive reader, it may come across as disturbing, yet it conveys a message that draws our attention to a problem to which society has turned deaf ears. We have been trained to think of religion as sacrosanct, a practice that can never go wrong and something that we must abide by unfailingly. It is these assumptions that ‘Invasion’ deftly critiques and questions through the story of Shiv and Gauri. While Gauri is the protagonist who has undergone a life-destroying event, Shiv is a character whose relationship with Gauri is not specified. Despite this lack of clarity, Shiv and Gauri’s relationship comes across as endearing…

India and Pakistan: Back to Square One?

Published on South Asia Monitor
August 24, 2014


Prime Minister Modi’s invitation to Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif along with leaders of SAARC nations to his oath-taking ceremony on May 26 this year infused enthusiasm and hope for the prospects of better India-Pakistan relations. This was followed by a ‘Sari-Shawl’ diplomacy and exchange of letters reassuring people of the sub-continent that dialogue would continue. Attempts for reconciliation on part of both Modi and Sharif had come in for much praise in both countries. People on both sides expressed hope for a paradigm shift in the course of ties. Despite his anti-Pakistan rhetoric during the election campaign and his evident hardline views, even critics of Narendra Modi heaped praise and termed his invite to Sharif as a bold initiative – a diplomatic master-step.
In this context the Indian government’s decision to cancel foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan to be held on August 25 is no good news. India is upset with the Pakistan Hig…

India and the conflict in Gaza: Moralistic concerns or National interest?

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India’s studied silence over the killings in Gaza last month has come under severe criticism. While the Indian government has termed its stand as ‘neutral’, many see this as plain indifference driven by strategic interests. By not passing a parliamentary resolution condemning the massacre of innocent women and children in Gaza, the Indian government’s response to the conflict is being viewed through an ideological prism. With its right-wing and majoritarian leanings, the government has been accused of overlooking the human tragedy unleashed by Israeli forces. Questions like – Is the Indian response driven by a real-politik realization of deep strategic ties with Israel or Is India looking to forsake its long-standing relations with Palestine, surround the debate on this issue. A larger question that needs to be addressed is whether international relations leave any scope for human and moralistic considerations, even as national interest continues to play an important role in determini…

‘Fandry’ – A love story that spells caste as it exists in India

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Nagraj Manjule’s lesser known debut Marathi film shot to fame after it bagged the Indira Gandhi award for the best debut film of a director at the 61st National film awards in 2014. It addresses intricate issues related to caste, love, power and emotions. Nidhi Shendurnikar-Tere on what makes Fandry a must watch.
What happens when a boy from a lower caste falls in love with a girl from a higher caste? Usual Bollywood fare tends to treat caste and caste based discrimination in a non-serious manner by projecting important societal issues as trivial love stories of the “rich girl, poor boy/rich boy, poor girl” types. What follows is parental opposition amidst which the romance blossoms eventually culminating into drama, violence, parental acceptance, marriage and a happy ending. Very few films have attempted to address caste based discrimination in a serious but subtle manner. Fandry is one film that stands out for its deft and subtle handling of an issue that has plagued the fabric of In…

Cross-border friendships: A Dreamer’s Recipe for Peace

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Chintan Girish Modi is a young Mumbai based peacebuilder striving for friendly relations between India and Pakistan Nidhi Shendurnikar Tere spoke to him about Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein, his initiative to transform the hostility between the two countries by building on the power of cross-border friendships through social media, supported by on-the-ground interactions and workshops with schools and colleges. 
What inspired you to be a peacebuilder? Any reasons for specifically choosing to work on India-Pakistan issues? I am not sure if there is a special category of person called ‘peacebuilder’. I feel personally perturbed by the animosity that India and Pakistan have built towards each other for decades, and I want this to change. People in both countries have many stereotypes about each other, thanks to how we learn about the other side from history books, and more so from the media. Politicians, of course, know how to whip up nationalist sentiments at the drop of a …

India’s election discourse disappoints: Confessions of a Voter

As I got my finger inked on April 30th in what is termed as the greatest celebration of democracy, I reflected upon the nature of the political discourse amidst mind-boggling campaigning that has been on for months together. As a voter, one is left completely disillusioned with the kind of discourse that dominated India’s general elections. Two defining characteristics were – the overdose of a ‘secular vs communal’ frame and the highly irresponsible and outrageous statements dished by political contenders across party lines. Is this what people of the world’s largest democracy should expect from their political class? If this were to continue (and this is more than likely) to where is our democratic discourse headed?
Surprising enough that even after six decades of independence, the election discourse continues to digress from people’s issues and in fact has turned out to be more regressive than ever before. To say that the nature of the current discourse is rhetorical and vitriolic …

Moral Undertones in Mandate 2014

For me, the very first lesson of politics (way back in 2004) was that politics is a dirty, corrupt, shrewd and notorious game of power. All possible negative connotations were attached to politics and rightly so. Thinking about politics as a lay woman, I obviously understood it to be negative and undesirable - all about selfish interests of those occupying power positions. Politics is something all of us detest - not just the politics that is practiced in the form of "5 yearly" elections, but politics at the workplace, in the family (yes the personal is political too!) or politics of any kind, any where. We do not identify ourselves as 'political' despite the fact that all of us strive for some kind of interests or goals to be achieved. We desire to be seen as 'apolitical', and thereby 'moral'. Thus, you cannot be moral if you are into politics. This clear-cut and evident dichotomy between 'politics' and 'morality' is what makes polit…