Recently, I attended an Iftar party at a luxury hotel in Baghdad. After I finished the food, I would a nice, sweet dessert there — a simple concoction: puff pastry is combined with raisins, pistachios, coconut and almonds, then drenched in sweetened milk. It’s not the story of a royal chef preparing an innovative dish at the behest of a discerning king, but of a murder and a rather cruel one! 

Humour is the foundation of a cartoon and it is its limitation. Attempts to rationalise humour in terms of today’s utilitarian social structure probably explain why political cartooning, and the genre of cartooning as a whole is a dying art. In a fast-paced environment such as the internet, memes emerged as a one-dimensional satirical illustration; they don’t engage with the issue and, therefore, their moral message and practical impact are limited. 

In 1227 CE, the thirty-seventh Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir Billah (reigned 1226-1242 CE) commissioned the construction of Al-Mustansiriyya madrasa in the capital city of Baghdad named in his honour. Construction lasted for six years and the school opened in 1234 CE. It was one of the oldest madrasas in the world. Al-Mustansiriyah Madrassa stands as a testament to Iraq’s resilience and endurance over the centuries and demonstrates that barbarism and terrorism of any kind, at any period, cannot prevail over culture and knowledge.

While I was posted at Jharkhand zonal office, I used to travel sometimes to Lohardaga, Latehar, Palamau, and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand from Ranchi and a small town named Kuru (कूड़ु), around 60 km from Ranchi, used to be my regular stop. There is a T-junction at Kuru. The road goes straight to the bauxite city of Lohardaga, while the right one heads towards Betla, Latehar, and Daltonganj. There are a few sweet shops selling famous chhena toast and dhushka.

Among the snowy peaks of Nepal and Tibet, stories tell of a mysterious ape-like creature called the Yeti. Purported to be a towering human-like figure covered in shaggy fur, the Yeti continues to excite dedicated believers still hoping for evidence that the mythical creature is real. The lack of hard evidence despite decades of searches doesn’t deter true believers; the fact that these mysterious creatures haven’t been found is not taken as evidence that they don’t exist, but instead how rare, reclusive, and elusive they are.

India is endowed with the beauty of diversity in languages, geography, features, habits, cultures, religions, ethnicity and origins. It now seems that the great pot is broken. It’s the time again for rebuilding the social cohesion. We are living through a period of global transition. Technology is connecting us ever more closely, and cross-cultural exchanges are deepening every day — but this does not mean there is more understanding. We must teach our children the history of India, cultures of India, festivals of India and accepting the diversity. Tolerance is our strength and not weakness. Tolerance is not passive.