India minister wages war on street food momos

A legislator from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has declared war on a popular street snack, to general public bewilderment.Momos, steamed meat or vegetable dumplings, are often associated with Tibetan and Nepali cuisine.

Ramesh Arora, from Indian-administered Kashmir, wants them banned for causing “life-threatening diseases”.

Reaction to Mr Arora’s campaign has ranged from amusement to outrage


What Pakistan’s film industry lost in 1971

December 16 marks the 45th anniversary of the secession of the eastern wing of Jinnah’s Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh. Much has been written about the traumatic events of the time and the political repercussions of the country being cleaved into two.

But the loss of East Pakistan was not just devastating on a psychological, economic or political level. In very real terms, it also affected Pakistan culturally and socially. One of the things lost in the discourse is how the events of 1971 affected Pakistan’s film industry.


Asif Noorani, the editor of Pakistan’s most widely circulated English language film magazine Eastern Film from 1963 to 1970, re-visits the golden age of Pakistani cinema.

Why Ramadan sparked a fruit protest

Social media activists in Pakistan have ended a three-day boycott of fruit aimed at forcing down soaring prices during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

The results were mixed – but the tactic is a new one.

It is thought to be the first time consumers had used social media to highlight food costs in Pakistan in this way.

The female journalists defying taboos and braving death threats in Afghanistan

When Radio Shaista goes silent, you know the Taliban are close. The female-run radio station was looted and wrecked when the group captured Kunduz, Afghanistan’s embattled northern city, in 2015, sending journalists fleeing. Even after the Taliban were routed, female journalists have been on guard, if they ever returned, that is.

Zarghoona Hassan, Radio Shaista’s director, fled after armed militants knocked on her door at home. They accused her of converting listeners to Christianity and announced a date for her execution.

Sune Engel Rasmussen reports from Kabul

Nepal election: The women who want to bring change

The first local elections in nearly 20 years are taking place in Nepal. Under the new constitution, local bodies have substantial clout – they will draft laws, collect certain taxes and even have some judicial powers.

Nearly 20,000 women are standing for election in the first phase on 14 May. Women must fill certain positions in the local administrations and this has driven strong female engagement across Nepal, especially among women under 30.

The BBC spoke to three young female candidates who want to end the dominance of older men. A second phase is expected on 14 June.

How the East India Company became a weapon to challenge UK’s colonial past

When he left his native India to set up a business in London in the 1980s, Sanjiv Mehta never dreamed of returning home one day with the East India Company in his pocket. By 2005 he had bought the entire company, which gave him the rights to trade using its name, and its coat of arms as a trademark. Now he has set out to redefine the legacy of the company that once ruled the country of his birth and enslaved his people.

‘People think we’re sex workers but we can be doctors’

‘Sex,” Kami Sid declares, “is between your legs. Gender is in your head.” Sid wants to get this into everyone’s head in Pakistan. A 26-year-old transgender activist, she is currently enjoying a breakthrough turn as a model who can carry off a sari while calling out Pakistanis for transphobia.

Saba Imtiaz met with Kami Sid, Pakistan’s first trans model and an ardent activist for her country’s marginalised transgender community.

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