The tepid reactions to the floods in Assam and Bihar, especially when contrasted with Chennai, may have something to do with how common such occurrences are in these regions. We seem to have somehow accepted our incapacity to mitigate the effects of climate change in these areas, stubbornly refusing to admit that our countervailing efforts are simply insufficient.
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Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's move to ban liquor in Bihar was not well accepted initially, with several critics averring that it would not result in a reduction of violence. However, within a month of the ban we have seen a drastic change in the state that wouldn't have been achieved just by increasing the taxes on alcoholic products.
04/07/2016 8:28 AM IST
The media narrative about Bhutan remains centred on it being a peaceful Himalayan utopia with a green economy. Most of that might be true. But perhaps what many people don't know is that Bhutan is home to some of the most draconian and dictatorial laws, coupled with a dark history of xenophobia and ethnic hatred.
22/06/2016 8:30 AM IST
Despite the facelift that the city has received of late, no amount of facades can hide this particular dark side of Kolkata. In the "posh" residential complex of Diamond City West (DCW) in South Kolkata, the upper middle-class residents have been lynching and slaughtering street dogs -- at least 16 of them. The civilized residents were, perhaps, just keeping their complex free of street dogs, all for the sake of "development" and "aesthetic beauty".
16/06/2016 8:27 AM IST
At a time when people across Assam are celebrating the BJP's electoral victory, people in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) area are witnessing a tense situation following an episode of mob violence. On the early morning of 30 May, around 4am, a young tribal student, Sansuma Ramchiary, was brutally tortured by a gang of locals who suspected him of stealing.
11/06/2016 8:41 AM IST
Conversion therapy, which aims to "convert" a queer person into a heterosexual, is sought not only by parents but also by LGBTQ individuals who see it as an escape from the social stigma that surrounds their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This, more than anything, speaks volumes about the discriminatory environment in our society, and how damagingly this is internalized.
01/06/2016 8:28 AM IST
Assam is today the largest tea manufacturer in India, but this vast empire has been built on the sorrow, sweat and blood of millions of tea labourers through the ages. This is their story.
23/05/2016 8:13 AM IST
Why is the youth suddenly out of cash? One half of the explanation is the growing and unprecedented mobility of the youth for education and jobs. This is partially related to the decision of a section of the middle-class youth to live outside the guardianship of their parents and family members. This social freedom is not entirely synchronized with a financial one, and therefore the problems. The other half of the explanation is the ideological structure(s) we are under, in general.
17/05/2016 8:22 AM IST
I want to question this mystifying line of thought I've seen through in numerous comments on news websites: "Why does it matter that Jisha was Dalit?" Some of this is cloaked in faux concern by people who think we live in a post-caste society. It's a story about every woman in India! Other times, their virulent bigotry comes out. What if she was murdered by a Dalit man? It's time to make this clear. Jisha's caste is absolutely imperative to her life and death.
14/05/2016 8:26 AM IST
Ask anyone to name five Indian sportswomen in action today--after the inevitable Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza, there's a bound to be a lot of awkward clearing of the throat. Some will mention Mary Kom (after all, Priyanka Chopra starred in a movie about her) or reach further into the past till PT Usha. On the other hand, ask about male athletes and the answers come flying. The question arises: do we not have enough Indian female athletes or are they simply ignored?
09/05/2016 8:05 AM IST
With the denial of rights of workers becoming daily headlines these days, a protest demonstration demanding the payment of minimum wage for garment factory workers in Udyog Vihar, a textile hub, was held on Thursday, 28 April, in Gurugram, Haryana. Journalists were informed the night before, but police and factory management were kept in the dark.
04/05/2016 8:17 AM IST
Where governing bodies have failed to help, women who until now had been the primary transporters of water, have gone a step further to solve the problem. A group of 20 women in Kalikavu village near the Malappuram district of Kerala, in an enthralling display of women power, have proved what it means to take matters into their own hands.
28/04/2016 8:11 AM IST
For some, the elections mean nothing other than an opportunity to disseminate propaganda in order to gain power and continue the exploitation of the poor and the marginalized. For another section, this election is crucial for the future of the people of Assam. Given recent developments, many believe that the political scenario in Assam is at a crossroads.
15/04/2016 8:19 AM IST
As an under-construction bridge in Kolkata's busiest part collapsed on 31 March 2016, burying dozens under it, the Chief Minister's first reaction was that it was the previous government's fault. And with this one statement, something snapped in the complacent Bengali's mind. We have been turning a blind eye to the misfortune we had brought to our homes in the name of change. We realised we had sold ourselves to the devil, caught up as we were in the frenzied chant for <em>poriborton</em>.
08/04/2016 8:16 AM IST
It might be instructive to devote some time to studying two acts of terror--the 2011 massacre at the hands of Anders Breivik in Norway and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing perpetrated by two Chechen Muslims--which have occurred in the not-so-distant past and the reactions that they engendered. More specifically, let us see how these two acts were analyzed and reported by prominent Western writers in major publications.
31/03/2016 8:26 AM IST
Amid the torrent of jokes that followed the RSS's uniform-change announcement on 13 March, few paid attention to what Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi said about the makeover. "We are not a rigid people, we keep changing with the times... No grassroots organisation can make progress without that." Early this January, I took a train from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Nagpur in Maharashtra where the RSS has its headquarters.
30/03/2016 8:15 AM IST
It hasn't earned front page coverage or prime time focus, but the struggle of 3000 workers of HMSI's (Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India) Tapukara plant in Alwar reveals a tale of brutal repression at the hands of the company's management as well as the joint police forces of Rajasthan and Haryana.
16/03/2016 8:15 AM IST
The biggest challenge was to remain true to the story--to maintain the character's dignity in the film and not reduce him to a caricature. I wanted to show the human side of Professor Siras, and to do that, the biggest challenge was conveying his loneliness and isolation. It's easy to write about isolation and loneliness, but cinematically it's not so easy to show on screen.
10/03/2016 8:14 AM IST
"<em>Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes 'unnatural' sex acts. This includes homosexuality,</em>" a message on the screen reminds you, before the movie even begins. On the surface, it seems like an obvious reminder--something nearly everyone knows by now--but once you're there, sitting in the darkness with only the above words blinking at you and then watch Professor Siras's story slowly unfold before you, you realise how real this reminder is, and how utterly terrifying.
02/03/2016 8:14 AM IST
Mir Suhail Qadiri, a 26-year-old cartoonist with the Srinagar-based publication <em>Rising Kashmir</em> is disturbed over Facebook's removal of his cartoon on the hanging of alleged militant Afzal Guru. This, he says, is a blatant attempt to put an end to the debate over the controversial execution. Although wary of making any overt political statement, Qadiri adds that Guru was a militant for some and a martyr for others. "Through my cartoon, I wanted to take the debate to the world. It was a question I asked through my art."
28/02/2016 8:24 AM IST
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