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The New Crisis of Democracy
Capitalism and Inequality
What the Right and the Left Get Wrong
Why a Founding Father of Postwar Capitalism Spied for the Soviets
A Conversation With Stanley McChrystal
The Rise of Big Data
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The Road to D-Day
Behind the Battle That Won the War
How Jewish Extremism Threatens Zionism
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The Worldview of Iran’s Supreme Leader
Biology's Brave New World
The Promise and Perils of the Synbio Revolution
Google's Original X-Man
A Conversation With Sebastian Thrun
Making Sense of Mali
The Real Stakes of the War Rocking West Africa
Saving the Euro, Dividing the Union
Could Europe's Deeper Integration Push the United Kingdom Out?
The Real Reason Putin Supports Assad
Mistaking Syria for Chechnya
How Iran Won the War on Drugs
Lessons for Fighting the Afghan Narcotics Trade
The Egyptian State Unravels
Meet the Gangs and Vigilantes Who Thrive Under Morsi
Even Good Coups Are Bad
Lessons for Egypt from the Philippines, Venezuela, and Beyond
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
The Arab Sunset
The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
Where Have All the Workers Gone?
China's Labor Shortage and the End of the Panda Boom
Love in the Time of Bollywood
India's Strained Romance Revolution
At nine every morning, Sana dons her burqa and rides pillion on her father’s scooter. He drops her off at the all-women’s college in Bhopal where she is completing a Master’s degree in English literature. On most days, though, Sana does not attend classes. Once inside the college gates, she throws off her burqa, changes into her “Westerns” (typically low-rise jeans and a fitted t-shirt), and leaves. Her boyfriend of two years, Aftab, picks her up on his motorbike, and they zoom off to spend the day together.
Sana’s hometown is the sleepy capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Situated on the banks of a glorious lake, Bhopal is beautiful. But it is known around the world for something else: an industrial disaster in 1984 that killed 2,259 people. Today however, Bhopal seems much like any other bustling Indian city. Next to sepia Mughal-era ruins are the familiar signs of urban development: glitzy new shopping malls, McDonald's, and bright new coffee shops, such as Bake-n-Shake and Cafe Coffee Day. These are the kinds of places that one can take a boyfriend when cutting class, and they are filled with young couples in love.
Despite the new additions to Bhopal’s landscape, though, it still is not easy to carry on an illicit romance. “I can never let my family find out,” Sana says. “If they do, they will drag me out of college and marry me off.” In fact, she has been betrothed to her cousin, a customary practice in her Muslim family, since she was 16. At the time of her engagement, Sana says, she was too young to understand what was happening. She was still in school and had, until then, led a rather sheltered life. She only realized the implications of her engagement after she began college. But by then, she had “adjusted” to the idea of marrying her cousin. In all these years, she has met him only twice. She is still expected
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