The Likely Exclusion of a Crucial Amendment to India’s Abortion Law Highlights Official Apathy Towards Women’s Reproductive Rights

ANJU WAS ONLY 14 when she ran away from her employer’s home where she worked as a domestic help. She was disgusted with what a male cook at the ‘kothi’ had done to her. Not once, but multiple times. She stayed for a few days with her elder cousin who worked as a stay-at-home cook in … Continue reading The Likely Exclusion of a Crucial Amendment to India’s Abortion Law Highlights Official Apathy Towards Women’s Reproductive Rights

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Tridip Suhrud: ‘Did Gandhi fear a violent death? No. He feared a purposeless death’

Tridip Suhrud, 52, is a multilingual scholar and translator renowned as an authority on Gandhi and his intellectual tradition. While he was director of Sabarmati Ashram, he had helped create the Gandhi Heritage Portal, a free digital archive running into over 1.4 million pages. Armed with knowledge of all three languages in which Gandhi wrote, … Continue reading Tridip Suhrud: ‘Did Gandhi fear a violent death? No. He feared a purposeless death’

How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

They say Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the right man in the wrong party. He wasn’t. Academics and independent political analysts such as Robin Jeffrey and Vajpayee’s contemporaries in politics remember him in the 1960s as a young, firebrand leader of the Hindutva cause, someone capable of the most offensive of anti-Muslim statements. A man groomed in the … Continue reading How Vajpayee Straddled Two Worlds and Made Hindutva Palatable to the Masses

Assertions of Religious Identity Versus Sectarian Politics in Aligarh Muslim University

IN THE SCORCHING afternoon of May 7th, speakers at what students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) now call the ‘protest site’ close to Baab-e-Syed, the imposing gateway to its 450-acre campus, hold a crowd rapt with couplets, snappy one-liners and fiery protest speeches. The punishing sun does nothing to deter the eloquence and humour of … Continue reading Assertions of Religious Identity Versus Sectarian Politics in Aligarh Muslim University

Can the Indian Left Reinvent Itself?

Outside AKG Bhavan, the CPM’s headquarters in Delhi’s Gole Market area, barricades are in place with armed policemen on duty. India’s biggest Communist party in mainstream politics has been at the receiving end of violent protests in the past few years by rival political parties, especially Hindu nationalists, some of whom had barged in, fulminated … Continue reading Can the Indian Left Reinvent Itself?

How Modi Tapped the Wrath of ‘Lower’ OBCs for Political Mileage

INSIDE UTTAR PRADESH’S Jaunpur town, not far from its landmark 16th century Shahi Bridge on the river Gomti, RK Maurya runs a teashop that sells hot samosas and excessively sweetened tea. He does brisk business, assisted by two young adults, and saves enough money to send his son to an English-medium school with the hope that the … Continue reading How Modi Tapped the Wrath of ‘Lower’ OBCs for Political Mileage

The Cult and Crime of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan

ON MAY 30TH, 2002, Ramchandra Chhatrapati published an article in his Sirsa-based Hindi daily Poora Sach, a front-page story headlined ‘Dharm ke naam par kiye jaa rahe hain saadhviyon ke jeevan barbaad’ (In the name of religion, the lives of women ascetics are being ruined). It was an exposé on the rape of two female members … Continue reading The Cult and Crime of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan

The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Triple Talaq Verdict on Indian Politics and Muslim Society

In the afternoon of August 23rd, Shayara Bano, 36, is back at her father’s quarters in Remount Training School & Depot, a defence training centre in Hempur Daya, Uttarakhand, resting after an overnight trip from Delhi. Within a few days she will resume travelling daily to Moradabad’s Teerthanker Mahaveer University, almost two hours one-way by … Continue reading The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Triple Talaq Verdict on Indian Politics and Muslim Society

Arcot: The Prototype of Divide-And-Rule

WHEN THE CURRENT prince of Arcot, Mohammed Abdul Ali, called on Pranab Mukherjee soon after he became President in mid-2012, the Congress veteran and former Union minister welcomed him to Rashtrapati Bhavan with a gleeful remark: “It is because of you people that British ruled India.” Ali didn’t say a word but grinned because he … Continue reading Arcot: The Prototype of Divide-And-Rule