Is the Bihar coalition government in trouble? Are Lalu’s clan members seriously enmeshed in corruption scandals with him? Is Narendra Modi, the head of the federal government, wrecking political vendetta on his arch opponent? Is the BJP salivating to come to power even if it means embracing a betrayer?

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Ramazan is a month-long period of day-time fasting and prayer for the Muslims worldwide that commemorates the first revelation of the holy Quran to their prophet Muhammad. This annual observance is regarded by the practicing Muslims as one of the five pillars of Islam. During this period Muslims are obligated to be kind, generous and truthful. They must refrain from hurting others (except in self-defence), emancipate themselves spiritually and reflect on the sufferings of others.

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The groundswell of support for the BJP was unmistakable in the state elections held in February, 2017 that secured 325 of the total 403 seats in the U.P. Vidhan Sabha. In the neighboring Uttarakhand, the BJP captured an astounding 57 of the 70 assembly constituencies. This phenomenon could certainly be read as an extension of the support the BJP enjoyed during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it bagged 73 of 80 seats in U.P.

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I have personal recollections of Shri Syed Shahabuddin (SS) who passed away on 4 March 2017. As a curious M.Phil. student of International Studies on the JNU (New Delhi) campus, I had a few occasions to engage with him. The year was 1979; the Janata Party was basking in the glory of its victory in 1977; Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the foreign minister and had reportedly persuaded SS to give up his lucrative Foreign Service for politics.

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On October 3, 2013, a special CBI court verdict, after 17 years of protracted legal procedures, slapped Lalu Yadav with a five-year jail sentence and a hefty fine of Rs. 25 lakhs. The CBI Judge Pravas Kumar Singh had also pronounced the quantum of sentence for 37 of the 45 convicts in what was known as the Animal Husbandry Department (fodder scam) that amounted to Rs. 930 crore.

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The year 2017 started in Bihar on a good note. The cities of Patna and Gaya were hosts to the Sikh and the Buddhist festivities. The Sikh pilgrims representing all over the world congregated at the Gandhi Maidan to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh; the Buddhists had their Kalachakra (Time-Cycle) celebration in the august presence of the world class religious leader, the Dalai Lama.

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