articles by Praveen Swami

World

Coronavirus Outbreak: Donald Trump's case against the WHO relies on half-truths and misrepresentations

President Donald Trump's decision, this week, to cut off funding to the WHO, has come on the back of his weeks-long campaign blaming the global heath body for the catastrophic mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: Hatred unleashed by debate around Tablighi Jamaat could prove pandemic’s most toxic legacy

The host of the religious congregation that has proved the largest single source of coronavirus infections in India, the Tablighi Jamaat, is being cast by propagandists as the vanguard of an Islamic conspiracy to inflict mass death

India

Follies of the madmen: What's the suicidal thinking that prompted religious gatherings during a pandemic?

India is grappling with the fallout of the neo-fundamentalist Tablighi Jamaat’s decision to hold a giant public gathering despite the coronavirus pandemic.

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: From hunting bats to tearing into live chicken for pious reasons, Indians aren’t exactly new to animal pathogens

Even as India battles the Wuhan virus, it’s time to introspect on the path ahead: what happened there could happen here, too.

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: Lessons from plague during British rule show enforcing lockdown is difficult; India needs to plan for worst-case scenario

The management of the great plague of 1896-1921, during which over ten million Indians died, helps understand the gargantuan challenge ahead.

World

From medieval Black Death, a warning: Pandemics can unleash the ugliest in human nature

The Europe of the Renaissance, founded on reason and scepticism of religious belief, was in many ways birthed by the Black Death. But the murderous impulses that marked its course — genocide, the brutal suppression of heresy, the insistence that disease is divine retribution — are still with us.

India

Communal riots in India are playing into the hands of Islamic State's jihadists and realising their dystopic dreams

There is little doubt Indian communal politics is reaching a crossroads — but there are many paths from here, and all but one leads to perdition

India

Delhi's Seelampur: Metaphor for new kind of India where Hindu-Muslim divisions are cast in steel and concrete, and political conflict mediated by the bomb

Each galli in Seelampur is, among other things, a border between faiths and social classes. For prospect-less young people in this part of Delhi, a cohort that grew ever-faster as the economy began to splutter, the gangster and god became the only sources of agency and self-worth. The temple or the mosque offered at least a simulacrum of social respectability.

Politics

Delhi communal violence: City's past shows Hindu-Muslim enmity predates Hindutva, political parties and even Partition

This week, as Delhi struggles with the fallout from weekend violence which ended in a temple in the city's Chawri Bazaar area being vandalised, the 1974 riots — one of the deadliest Hindu-Muslim clashes in post-Independence Delhi — are a useful prism to inspect what happened, and wh

World

Donald Trump is likely to bring up Kashmir with Narendra Modi but history tells us path US president is advocating is doomed

There's little doubt Kashmir is high on Trump's mind. Last summer, Trump outraged India's foreign policy establishment by asserting Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir conflict-and then brushed off New Delhi's denial, to repeat his claim

India

Kashmir's Islamic State seeks to cash in on Delhi communal violence through new online call to arms

The Islamic State's subcontinental branch has called on Indian Muslims angered by the Citizenship Amendment Act to abandon political protest, and instead turn to jihadist violence

World

Donald Trump's India visit: Time for world leaders to get over pomp and pageantry of summit meets

Trump’s 2018 summit with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, only won him uniformly negative coverage at home. And Prime Minister Modi’s surprise summit with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2015 led, in short order, to the Pakistani leader being deposed by his own army brass.

India

From Air Force One to the Beast, keeping US president Donald Trump safe comes at a 'bigly' price

Keeping President Donald Trump safe is the job of the United States Secret Service, the agency responsible for protecting him and his immediate family no matter where they are in the world.

India

Donald Trump's India visit: US peace deal with Afghan Taliban hands Islamabad leverage, leaves New Delhi vulnerable on Kashmir

Ever since 1999, Indian policies in Kashmir have been predicated on the assumption that New Delhi and Washington’s regional interests converge: reining in Pakistan’s jihadist proxies, it seemed, was a common interest. President Trump’s Afghan deal makes that not necessarily true.

India

Modi-Trump Summit in Ahmedabad: From defence to economy, biggest takeaways from US president's first visit to India

In January, Trump set alarm bells ringing in New Delhi's strategic establishment when he said he was negotiating borders, and a future course of action on Kashmir, with Pakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan.

India

Delhi elections: Liberals are hailing AAP's triumph, but Indian democracy's foundations have already crumbled

What passes for democracy in India is a colourless simulacrum of the thing itself: an argument over the possession of a power that has been gutted of all pretence that there ought to be some kind of equality amongst all those who participate in it.

India

PSA dossiers used to incarcerate Jammu and Kashmir’s politicians: Their sepia text comes through in Technicolor absurdity

Among the reasons given for detaining former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under the stringent PSA are Abdullah's "considerable influence" over "gullible" masses, including the ability to attract voters to polling booths despite calls for boycott and Mufti's image among people as a "daddy's girl".

India

PSA has been used over the decades in Kashmir as a quick-fix, but longterm damage on the republic will be serious

As Indians debate the incarceration of three former chief ministers under the PSA — Sheikh Abdullah's son, Farooq Abdullah; grandson, Omar Abdullah; their dogged opponent, Mehbooba Mufti— it's critical to understand the PSA isn't significant just for its constitutional perversions

India

The paradise India is constructing in Kashmir looks a lot like a prison, seems to be a throwback to 1951

Kashmir's long and tragic history as a site for experiments in utopianism ought to inform our understanding of the bizarre spectacle of two former chief ministers being arrested under the Public Safety Act

India

Jamia and Shaheen Bagh shootings: It's deeply worrying that the word 'terrorist' is absent from popular discourse

The absence of the word 'terrorist' in the Jamia shooter's story isn't because there ought to be any confusion about the term