Julie McCarthy

The subject of religious intolerance is emerging as an irritant in U.S.-India relations.

Senior Indian government officials pounced on remarks by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday. Referencing India, he evoked religious discrimination.

He said: "In past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs— acts that would have shocked Gandhi-ji," meaning Mahatma Gandhi.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Pope Francis gave majority Buddhist Sri Lanka its first Catholic saint today during a seaside ceremony before thousands of people who packed the oceanfront of the capital, Colombo.

Francis is in Asia on a six-day tour intended to build the Roman Catholic Church's following on a continent that holds 60 percent of the world's population but only 12 percent of Catholics.

As church bells rang, the pope canonized Joseph Vaz, a priest who worked against the persecution of Catholics by the island's 17th-century Protestant Dutch rulers.

Heart surgery is a spectacle to behold. Even more so to see it on a mass scale, which is what happens at the Narayana Health, a state-of-the-art medical center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

I am invited to scrub up and witness renowned surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty at work. The operating room is a symphony of all things medical: monitors beeping out a metronome-like rhythm, forceps and scissors clanging onto metal tables, a heart-lung machine gurgling as it does the work of the patient's stopped heart, and, curiously, pop music drifting though the room.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In India, the law has caught up with one of the country's most powerful political figures. A court has sentenced the popular J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, to four years in prison and a record $1.5 million fine.

Her crime: accumulating vast wealth for which the 66-year-old veteran politician could not account.

It is India's highest-profile corruption case addressing illegally amassed wealth; the ruling has stunned an Indian political class that is widely seen as permeated with graft.

Saying his country is prepared to resume peace talks with Pakistan, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the U.N. General Assembly Saturday that the discussion must take place "without the shadow of terrorism."

India achieved a major scientific milestone this week by placing a space probe into orbit around Mars. But there is another fascination with the celestial bodies that is much older than India's space program.

Astrology plays a role in the day-to-day lives of millions of Indians. And how does a leading Indian practitioner see this study of human destiny — as superstition or science?

Anticipation is building in India over its rendezvous with Mars.

NASA erupted into cheers after confirmation Sunday night that its space probe MAVEN injected into the Martian orbit. NASA's success came two days ahead of a critical engine burn designed to place an Indian spacecraft around the Red Planet, in a project dubbed MOM, Mars Orbiter Mission.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said al-Qaida will fail to attract recruits among his country's Muslims.

Earlier this month, al-Qaida said it had created a new branch to bring Islamic rule to the entire Indian subcontinent.

Deepika Padukone, 28, is one of the biggest stars in Bollywood, and her many fans came rushing to her support after she slammed the country's leading newspaper, The Times Of India, over comments and a photo on its website about her cleavage.

The ensuing storm on social media has revealed how many women are no longer accepting entrenched sexist attitudes in India.

After a year of silence, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has exhorted his "Muslim brothers" to join a newly established South Asia faction that would "defend the vulnerable in the Indian subcontinent."

A new film projects a decidedly different perspective about one of the most convulsive episodes in India's modern age.

Kaum De Heere, or Diamonds of the Community, looks at the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — through the lens of her assassins.

Producer Satish Katyal rejects the criticism that the film eulogizes Gandhi's killers. "It has a human angle," he says. "It's about their personal lives. Why did they suddenly commit this act?"

There are signs of rising tensions between India's Hindu and Muslim communities since Narendra Modi, a self-avowed Hindu nationalist, took power as prime minister in May. Most of the small skirmishes have played out in India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh, or UP.

There, Hindu nationalists from Modi's BJP Party have seized on charges of an alleged forced religious conversion to say that Hindu India is under siege.

District party leader Sanjay Prajapati says the Muslim community has harmed the Hindu community, India's largest.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In the elegant neighborhoods of central New Delhi, monkeys perch on water tanks, prance on the balustrades of the manicured homes of government VIPs and sift through garbage bins.

The horde seems only momentarily disturbed by the ear-piercing screech of Mahendra Nath.

His quick succession of "ah, ah, ah's" followed by a staccato of "oo, oo, oo's," punctuates the air, mimicking the gray-colored langur monkey that can scare off the nettlesome Rhesus monkeys that swing in the trees of this leafy glade.

Aiming for a fresh start in troubled U.S.-India relations, U.S. Sen. John McCain met with newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in New Delhi. But McCain's two-day visit was overshadowed by reports that the U.S. National Security Agency was granted permission in 2010 to spy on Modi's political party.

India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, says he has been denied the "honeymoon" period that new governments traditionally enjoy. Just one month after taking office, he has also asserted that he has defied expectations and secured a firm grip on India's sprawling government.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The kidnapping of 40 Indian construction workers in Iraq by suspected militants has rapidly become the first foreign policy test for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, barely a month after he assumed office.

The workers are believed to have been captured by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) when the jihadist group overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul this past week.

Members of India's transgender community, known as hijras, are now the stars of an entertaining advocacy campaign aimed at persuading India's motorists to buckle up.

A young girl sweeps fallen debris from a tempest that blew through her village of Katra Sahadatganj one recent evening. This remote spot in Uttar Pradesh — India's largest state — has become the center of another gathering storm.

It was here two weeks ago where two young girls were audaciously attacked: raped and hanged from a tree. Inter-caste violence and patriarchal attitudes combined to make a chilling spectacle in this impoverished place of mud-caked children and hand-pumped water.

As U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took notice of the global assault against women and girls, another brutal attack in India has highlighted once more the prevalence of gender-based crime in the world's largest democracy.

Police say a mother of five was shot dead by militants in a remote village in the northeast of the country after she resisted attempts to molest her.

A mother and grandmother's wailing rises in the garden of their cement-and-thatched home in the impoverished village of Katra Sahadatganj in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. They mourn two young girls who were raped and murdered a week ago.

The fresh scent of mint from nearby fields competes with the smell of cow dung baking in the sun.

Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, officially takes office as India's new prime minister in a ceremony in New Delhi that broke with the past. More than 3,000 guests witnessed the most elaborate oath-taking India has ever staged.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Pages