The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan three times – in 1997, 2001, and 2009 – and there are calls for his return. Since his first visit, Tibetan Buddhism in Taiwan has grown significantly. The total number of Tibetan Buddhist centers has increased from 82 in 1996 to 473 in 2018, while the community of Tibetan Buddhists soared to approximately half a million. From this perspective, the Dalai Lama’s visits to Taiwan have achieved their goal of disseminating Tibetan Buddhism, making his potential return to Taiwan of paramount religious significance. But there is also a political significance to his visits.
  • Hurriyah 30 April 2024
    After losing four elections, former general and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto won 58 percent of the vote on February 14, 2024. He and his running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka, President Jokowi’s eldest son, are expected to be inaugurated as president and vice president in the coming months. In what may have been the worst elections since Indonesia’s post-1998 democratization, Prabowo’s current victory is the result of Machiavellian tactics – unethical cunning to attain personal ambitions – and reflects the fundamental threat to Indonesia’s nascent democracy
  • Maria Tavernini 19 April 2024
    India, a country that loves to be defined as the world’s largest democracy, or the “mother of democracy” – using the words of its Prime Minister Narendra Modi – has just started its 18th general election. The massive democratic exercise is going to take place from today through June 1, with 970 million people heading to the polls in seven phases, with results expected to be announced on June 4. However, many have pointed out that it is not only simply the fact of holding elections that makes a country a democracy. According to V-Dem Institute’s Democracy Report, India dropped down to an “electoral autocracy” in 2018 and stayed in this category up to now.
  • “While India has rapidly climbed the ladder of economic growth rates, it has fallen relatively behind on the scale of social indicators of living standards, even compared to many countries that India has overtaken in terms of economic growth.” So wrote Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Belgian economist Jean Drèze in An Uncertain Glory. India and Its Contradictions, a key text that in 2013 analyzed and exposed the failures of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, then at 6 percent. More than a decade later, India’s “uncertain glory” is perhaps even more uncertain, despite Narendra Modi’s aspirations to make it a great power.
  • Ashaz Mohammed 28 March 2024
    The 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, upon which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ram temple was built, is seen by Hindu nationalists as a “historical retaliation” against India’s so-called “dark ages”. Several right-wing news outlets, such as Republic TV, have celebrated the inauguration of the new temple as a “500-year wait coming to an end.” This “dark” period, which lies 500 years in India’s past, is popularly characterized by the rise of the Mughals, an empire of Muslim rulers from what is now Uzbekistan. According to Hindu nationalists, the Babri Masjid is believed to have been built by the first Mughal emperor, Babur, as a result of the destruction of the “original” Ram temple that once stood on the site. Although there is no concrete historical and archaeological evidence of the destruction of this temple, there have been attempts by archaeologists and historians leaning towards the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) to suggest otherwise.
  • Maria Tavernini 25 March 2024
    The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has canceled more than 100 Overseas Citizen of India cards in the past 10 years, according to Article 14, which has filed a Right to Information (RTI) query with the Ministry of Home Affairs. When someone’s OCI status is canceled, they have to leave the country and apply for a regular visa, but many former OCI holders have been “blacklisted” as the Narendra Modi-led government is increasingly trying to silence critics in the diaspora.
  • Maria Tavernini 14 March 2024
    As India gears up for the general elections next month, where over 900 million people are expected to go to the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term in office, reaffirming the country’s global ambitions. In the past decade, under his tenure, India’s historic pluralism has increasingly been jeopardized by the ruling party’s majoritarian agenda
  • Ali Kosha 26 February 2024
    According to a 2022 Gallup survey, Afghanistan is the only country in the world where the vast majority of the population, a staggering 92 percent of men and 96 percent of women, say they face hardships that make their lives sheer suffering. In this realm of agony, the Hazaras bear a disproportionate burden of suffering. And for Hazara women, the burden intensifies further.
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