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‘84,000 riddles’: The story of Asia’s largest cemetery of unknowns

Nadeem Baloch, 40, pulls out a bucket full of water from the well and fills a utensil for the birds to quench their thirst in the scorching midday heat. His gaze falls upon a deserted view. As... More

How Chenab, the river of love, flows seamlessly from one legend to...

The ghara or earthen pot acquires particular significance in the love story of Sohni and Mahiwal. In the climax of this Punjabi folk story, as Sohni crosses the Chenab river to meet Mahiwal, who is waiting for... More

Kolkata wields its midnight magic

It is midnight in the courtyard of Kolkata’s iconic Sir Stuart Hogg Market. A spot that brims with hawkers and haggling customers in the morning is being transformed into a giant communal bedroom. Locals, many of them... More

Traditional grass mats of South Asia

The Sylhet-born Gurusaday Dutta, a noted civil servant of yesteryears, a famous folklorist and writer, was renowned for his contribution to the preservation of the folk arts and crafts of Bengal. Writing on the importance of handicrafts of... More

Heritage walks in India that go beyond food

From exploring typography in Paharganj to watching the making of Pashmina in Kashmir, these experiences in India will make dull heritage walks a thing of the past. Although it’s arguable that there’s more to life beyond food, there’s... More

Sri Lanka’s Tea Museum, giving life to a legacy

Bridging the island’s colonial past with the present is Sri Lanka’s museum dedicated to the Lankan heritage of tea. Standing atop the scenic mountains of Hantana, four kilometers from the historic Kandy city, the museum is based... More

The dysfunctional megacity: why Dhaka is bursting at the sewers

After decades cleaning the sewers of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s crowded capital, Sujon Lal Routh has seen plenty of misery. But the tragedy of 2008 was the worst. After a day of heavy rainfall left the streets flooded –... More

Bangladesh’s abiding love for the Taj Mahal should be a lesson for...

Towards the end of 2008, news spread all over Bangladesh that a life-size replica of the Taj Mahal was being erected at the outskirts of Dhaka. While officials of the Indian High Commission reacted with shock and... More

TEA PORTRAITS: The human landscape of Lanka’s tea

In July 2018 Sri Lanka will mark 151 years of tea being introduced to the country by the British pioneer James Taylor, after the country’s first cash crop experiment, coffee, failed due to a leaf disease. Tea... More

The people who know no war: Afghanistan’s most isolated corner

"Taliban -- what's that?" asks Sultan Begium shyly from her freezing home in Afghanistan's mountainous Wakhan Corridor, a region so remote that its residents are untouched by the decades of conflict that have devastated their country. The frail-looking... More

Where Are the Bengalis in London’s Banglatown?

A small group of foreign tourists are standing in a street corner at London, carefully listening as their guide describes the area. One of the tourists stops the guide and asks, “Why are Bengalis not widely visible... More

How deceased organ donation is saving lives in Pakistan

Syed Sulaiman Akhtar, 43, was born with a defective bladder. He had to go through three surgeries when he was only three months old. Even after the surgeries, his health did not fully improve. His kidneys started... More

From Iraq to Burma: These recipes show that Bengalis aren’t alone in...

Bengali’s beloved Ilish is all set to earn its Geographical Indication tag as a product unique to Bangladesh. According to reports and data from World Fish, an international, nonprofit research organisation that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture,... More

Tevel b’Tzedek of Israel offers a helping hand in Nepal

The rugged jeep snakes, shakes and jostles 6,500 feet up the dusty, one-lane, rock-pitted road toward the remote Nepali village of Hiledevi in the region of Ramechhap. As the driver fearlessly negotiates the road, I focus on... More

Valley of death: Being young and restless in Kashmir

It’s 5:45 am. Thousands of people walk towards a ground. Some of them are carrying a dead body draped in a woolen blanket. Others are throwing rose petals on it. The crowd is taking Burhan Muzaffar Wani... More

Understanding the demand for self-rule in the Darjeeling Hills

The aspiration for self-rule of the hill people in Darjeeling is more than a century old. To be precise, such aspiration for autonomous rule can be traced back to 1907. The complicated narrative of such aspirations is... More

All aboard India’s new affordable luxury train

India's passenger trains are notorious for being rickety and spartan, but the government is hoping to change all that with a new "luxury" service. The popular image of rail travel in the country of 1.2 billion people is... More

Google Doodle Honors Bangladeshi Engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan

THE GENIUS engineer behind the Sears Tower and Chicago's John Hancock Centre has been celebrated with a Google Doodle.  Pioneering architect Fazlur Rahman Khan would have marked his 88th birthday on April 3. Khan is best known as the creator... More

Iconic Ambassador on modern roads!

The iconic image of yesteryear; the Ambassador car, seen as the four wheel lord of the roads of India for more than 50 years much upto recent times, particularly in Kolkata, seemingly received a new gear in... More

Abdul Sattar Edhi: Why Google honours him today

Abdul Sattar Edhi founded the world's largest volunteer ambulance network in Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation. Unlike wealthy individuals that fund charities in their names, Edhi dedicated his life to the poor from the age of 20, when he... More

Mehboob Khan, Pakistan’s Chef with a mission

En route to the Pakistani food festival in Colombo last month, a Tamil Brahmin friend tags along unwillingly, vowing that he will starve.  He visualizes chunks of meat in virtually every dish. He also fears that the... More


Despite controversy, Afghanistan Peace Process makes major strides

Despite Kabul’s publicly made allegations on the US about ‘selling Afghanistan to the Taliban’ in the peace talks, there is little gainsaying that the Afghan-US war has never been so close to ending through settlement than it is now. While Kabul continues to express its anger over being excluded, there is little, given the legitimacy crisis Kabul is itself facing, that even the principal Afghan actors can do to... More

Regulators and conflict of interest

A governmental body created by a legislature to implement and enforce specific laws, a "Regulatory Agency" or a "Regulator" would usually have quasi-legislative functions, executive functions, and judicial functions. Many laws govern social and economic matters, such as income tax, environmental laws, occupational health and safety laws, real estate law, employment laws, etc. A regulatory agency serves two primary functions in govt: implement the laws and enforce the same. Regulations... More

Is Bangladesh an online state?

Bangladesh is an online state with an incredibly high number of virtual citizens. Few can match them in enthusiasm, participation and enjoyment of what the online world offers, good or bad. Much great stuff happens on the net but so does nasty stuff. It’s also a great producer of cultural and otherwise, not to mention, political ones. The recent spate of actions against online content considered “harmful” have spiked, which,... More

How China might undo Saudi plans for Iran?

The recent Saudi bid to increase its economic and political influence in South Asia (Pakistan and India) is, as I pointed out in my previous stories for SAM, largely informed not just by the imperative of a Saudi economic expansion across Asia and avoid economic doom, but also by the objective of snatching Iran’s share of oil market in this part of the world. This is partly one reason... More

Pakistan receives warning from Iran not to join Saudi proxy war

Pakistan has received a stern warning from Iran's Major-General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force and other senior in the aftermath of the February 13, 2019 attack on their forces by Iranian Baluch militants in the country's restive Sistan and Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan. The new tone from Tehran is a response to Pakistan's recent tilt back toward Saudi Arabia since Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran... More



The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31, was “not fruitful” because of the inherent “weakness” of the regional inter-state institution,... More