South Asia Live (Issue 1)

A Peace Pipeline

Will China and the US butt heads in South Asia? It could be so as China has officially started building a $2 billion dollar natural gas pipeline in Pakistan, part of which also goes through Iran. Pakistan has put off accepting China’s proposal to the pipeline due to fear of US sanctions for dealing with Iran, but changed its mind in light of the June nuclear negotiations. The pipeline has bright prospects for bringing peace to the region as it will warm Pakistan’s relations with Iran and solidify their friendship with China. Not to mention it will make the daily lives of Pakistanis far more peaceful as it will eliminate the very frequent losses of electricity.

Colonial Keyboards

The hegemony of the Roman alphabet, and technology companies’ failure to provide adequate means for other writing systems, illustrate a form of ethnolinguistic discrimination. While seven of the world’s ten most spoken languages (of which four belong to South Asia) do not use the Roman alphabet, our iPhones continue to suggest that we are spelling our names incorrectly, and generously offer to domesticate our native languages for the sake of convenience. 

Modi Tackles Pollution

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched a new air quality index for New Delhi, India’s seat of power and the world’s most polluted capital. In an effort to combat Delhi’s public health emergency, Modi has turned to “age-old traditions,” alongside policymaker’s suggestions of private vehicle restrictions, higher pollution taxes, and stricter enforcement of urban planning laws. Last Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Delhi recorded a rating of more than three times that of Beijing.

Monitoring Madrassas

 As a part of Pakistan’s greater counter radicalization efforts, much has been done to regulate the madrassa system. This includes the arrests of over 1,500 clerics, required provincial registration of madrassas, and curriculum reform. A recent success is the arrest of an Afghan trying to smuggle 10 young madrassa students to be trained as militants Afghanistan. A step forward in the battle against terrorism? As always we’ll have to wait and see.

#ShouldIDriveThisUber? 

A South Asian Uber driver was the victim of angry xenophobic abuse from NYPD officer Patrick Cherry. After the driver apparently drove too close to the police cruiser while the officer was parallel parking,  Cherry continued to shout over him, yelling abuse such as “How many years have you been in this country?” and “You’re not important enough for me.” The Uber passengers recorded the incident on video, which can also be seen here.  

MBA? How about NBA! 

Sim Bhullar has received a flood of attention for recently making the NBA. A Sikh Indian Canadian, Bhullar has made Indians all over the world proud. But below the celebratory surface lies a much deeper, uglier phenomenon: the relationship between India and the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) community abroad. While Indians rushed to claim Bhullar as their own, they overlooked the stigma attached to non-celebrity NRIs, whose foreign upbringing in nonuniform societies is sometimes challenged.

Bipartisan Efforts

India and Pakistan working together? You better believe it! As the situation in Yemen worsens, rescue missions are well underway, and South Asia is no exception. Both Pakistan and India have pulled out majority of their nationals, but what’s especially groundbreaking is the fact that they are doing so together. The Pakistani Navy pulled has evacuated several Indian nationals to Karachi and India picked up a few Pakistanis as well during its most recent operation.

-Natasha and Hershel