Posts tagged ‘History’

September 30, 2015

Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years

AS Dulat Kashmir The Vajpayee Years Launch LondonThe truth can be elastic as it sometimes depends upon the perspective and knowledge of the person making the claim, however, Mr A S Dulat, formerly the head of India’s intelligence agency (Research & Analysis Wing) can perhaps claim to know the truth more than most of us. Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years by A S Dulat was launched in London last week at a lovely event at the Taj St James’ Court with guest of honour, Dr Farooq Abdullah (former Chief Minister of Kashmir, the Indian side).

It was a packed event with people standing at the back of the room. I had encouraged Mr Dulat to launch his book in London and as adorably humble as ever, he said ‘who would want to come to that?’ Loads of people was my reply! A couple of months later and there we were celebrating.

Kashmir is a well known and forever difficult subject for Indians and Pakistanis and often the

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August 20, 2015

Why Did Europe Conquer The World?

Why did Europe conquer the world

In 1914, 84% of the world was under colonial rule from a European nation. Quite an achievement considering that Europe makes approximately 8% of the world’s land mass. These were some of the attention-grabbing opening lines of economic historian, Philip T Hoffman’s event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

How did that happen?

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August 18, 2015

Mecca, The Sacred City?

Mecca the Sacred City by Ziauddin Sardar

Ziauddin Sardar at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015

I arrived at the Edinburgh International Book Festival today for my first book event of this year’s packed programme, brolly in hand and wearing two layers of cashmere. Yes, it is August, welcome to Summer in Scotland.

Ziauddin Sardar’s new book, Mecca The Sacred City was the topic of discussion and the charismatic author was full of hilarious anecdotes and opinions of Saudi Arabia that mirror my own. Of course, unlike him, I’m not a respected scholar nor have I spent time living there.

It is in the direction of Mecca and the Ka’aba that all Muslims turn to when (or if) they pray. Mecca is the birth place of the Prophet and pilgrimage to the Ka’aba is one of the five pillars of Islam, a duty for all Muslims. So why do the guardians of the holiest sites in the Islamic behave like ‘cultural terrorrists’? Ziauddin Sardar is no fan of

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April 12, 2015

Indian Summers Addiction

Indian-Summers 1

There a few ingredients on TV that rock my boat: period drama, excellent fashion and style, architecture and politics. Mix all of these ingredients together and the outcome is INDIAN SUMMERS on Channel 4.

From the opening scenes of a sprawling villa in the Indian hills with indulgent hanging flowers and vines, you could almost inhale the heat and fragrance from the screen. After making me sickeningly envious of this property, we are slowing introduced to the characters who will keep us company at 9pm on Sunday evenings. 

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August 27, 2014

Cafe Below

cafe below london

God, I love living in London.

Where else can you eat lunch in a crypt made by Sir Christopher Wren? Cafe Below is an exquisite cafe under St Mary-Le-Bow Church on Cheapside. A hop and a skip away from Bank tube station.

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September 24, 2013

Dream A Little Dream

dreams

On a good night we might get eight hours sleep a night.  Whatever your pattern, we spend an awful lot of time sleeping and dreaming, however, little undisputed knowledge exists about dreams.  Not all of us have regular dreams although I’d be willing to bet that none of us have escaped the dreaded pre-exam anxiety dream.

Do you dream? Do they convey messages? Do you take them seriously?  Some of my family seem to receive messages

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March 1, 2013

Rosa Parks Honoured

rosa parks

Earlier this week Rosa Parks became the first black woman to be honoured with a life-size statue in Washington.  The first statue commissioned in 140 years in the USA, President Obama said it was because of civil rights activists like Rosa Park that he is President.

In 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested

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May 28, 2012

Roots: The Great British Story

There is a wonderful TV series showing on the BBC called The Great British Story: A People’s History I just watched the first programme over a cuppa last week.

It was insightful learning about how important and beautiful some towns and cities used to be, particularly as one suburb of Glasgow, Govan, once loved by the Romans is now junkie heaven and infamoulsy connected to its fictional comedy resident, Rab C Nesbitt.

As the programme moved across Britain 

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March 6, 2012

Key Dates In British History

Professor David Abulafia from Cambridge University suggests there are 31 key dates that every pupil should know to be able to join up British history. How many dates do you know?

See timeline below.

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January 18, 2012

Criticising the Critic’s Choice

On this day today, one hundred years ago film criticism was born and hasn’t the influence of critics reduced dramatically since? 

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January 3, 2012

Double Jeopardy Justice

18 years following the death of Stephen Lawrence, Gary Dobson and David Norris, have been sentenced for his murder.

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September 29, 2011

Traders: The East India Company & Asia

A new gallery launched this week at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  Traders: The East India Company & Asia is a splendid display of artefacts from our history and the history of the world’s first ruthless capitalist power.

The Museum organisers got together with members of the Indian community

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September 27, 2011

Nelson Who?

Having just watched celebrity “Come Dine With Me” I am sitting here in shock as Zola Budd, South African athlete, has revealed that she didn’t know who Nelson Mandela was when she ran the 1984 Olympic 5000 metres at the age of 17.

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September 20, 2011

Indian Food Comes Second to Chinese

A survey carried out by Waitrose Kitchen claimed that Chinese food has finally taken over Indian food as the most popular choice of take away.

  

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August 24, 2011

Bury The Chains

Amazing Grace is lovely Christian hymn that we all know and can probably recite the first two lines no problem.  Interesting that the man who penned the hymn was a wealthy British slave trader who found God, wrote the hymn and then joined the anti-slavery cause.

Bury The Chains by Adam Hochschild is a wonderful book about the small number of brave people in Britain who fought to abolish slavery at a time when Britain was wealthy and powerful in the world because of it. 

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August 19, 2011

Operation Modelhut

Sounds like a plot for a spoof but this was the name of the peace settlement that COCO CHANEL thought she was helping to broker during World War 2.  Did someone check her temperature?  She was a fashion designer with powerful friends, including Winston Churchill, but a peace broker – what a laugh.

Unfortunately some of the other revelations

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August 16, 2011

The Poppadom Posse

It’s summer and my mum is waiting for the hot days to arrive so that she can make her year’s supply of poppadoms. This dying tradition that my mother so duly carries out reminds me so much of youth.

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August 11, 2011

Queen Victoria and Prince Abdul?

As you all know, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made a fine couple and named a thousand pubs along the way, but did you know she had a strong “friendship” with an Indian man 40 years her junior and who was her servant called Abdul Karim?  Queen Vic took a liking to her cute servant

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August 4, 2011

The Human Book of Skin

If you are looking for a good summer read, try The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric.  I have just finished reading it and it is fabulous.

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June 20, 2011

Strawberries And Cream

Wimbledon has started, the debate continues of why England cannot produce a Wimbledon champion and the nation tucks into a fortnight of strawberries and cream.

Such is the association of strawberries and cream with this event, that every year, supermarkets report a considerable rise in the sale of strawberries and cream. Once Wimbledon is over, sales go back down to normal levels.

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June 8, 2011

Miro At The Tate Modern

Spanish surrealist artist, Juan Miro, took my breath away 4 years ago when I went to see his work at the MIro Foundation in Barcelona and I am delighted to see the first display of his work in Britain since 1964, at the Tate Modern.

Amidst the fairytale Gaudi architecture of Barcelona, Miro’s playful and colourful style represented the Mediterranean vibrancy and humour through a political kaleidoscope. The Ladder of Escape captures his life’s work over 70 years including his first masterpieces dating back to 1921.

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May 12, 2011

No Hair Washing: You’re Pregnant!

There are customs that are fun, customs that are respectful and customs that should have been left in the times they served such as the Gujarati custom in certain castes of not washing your hair during your pregnancy. It still amazes me that women adhere to this custom here in Britain.

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April 2, 2011

Victorian Glam

That is how good it looks and this is what it is: the cafe at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. 

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March 19, 2011

Bring it Back

I would like to continue a list started in twitter, here on this forum.

The tweet asked if I could, I would bring back…..

This really made me think if there is anything I would bring back. Here is my list of ten things in no particular order.

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March 17, 2011

Indian Summer

This wonderful book by Alex Von Tunzelmann documents the end of the British Empire and the creation of an independent India and Pakistan from the perspectives of the key figures who changed our history

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