Inside the Mind of the Indian Muslim Voter

KHALEED RASHEED FARANGI MAHLI, one of Lucknow’s prominent clerics, has a message for the people of his community this election: go out and vote in large numbers. Self-confessedly averse to interfering in politics, Farangi Mahli, a religious scholar of Farangi Mahal, an area near Chowk in Uttar Pradesh’s capital city that had in the past … Continue reading Inside the Mind of the Indian Muslim Voter

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Rahul Gandhi: The Angry Debunker

ON APRIL 2ND, JUST BEFORE noon at 24 Akbar Road, headquarters of the Congress party in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi looked like a well-rested runner ready for an ultra-marathon. Except, he was not in sports gear, but a set of white, spotless kurta-pyjamas. But then, two years ago on a poll trail in Chotila, a temple-town … Continue reading Rahul Gandhi: The Angry Debunker

Will its Hindu revivalist past haunt West Bengal’s future?

DAILY-WAGE LABOURER Kinker Chandra Das from Kaikala village of Hooghly district in West Bengal is tight-lipped about his political affinities. The middle-aged man treats the question of whom he would vote for in the 2019 election as though it is a brutal assault on his privacy. He raises his eyebrows in disbelief. He isn’t ready … Continue reading Will its Hindu revivalist past haunt West Bengal’s future?

‘Pulwama Attack and India’s Response Not Indefinite Substitute for All Other Issues Voters Care About’

Gilles Verniers, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University and co-director at its Trivedi Centre for Political Data, spoke to Open's Executive Editor Ullekh NP on dominant ideas in India's 2019 election campaign. How attractive do you think is national security as a slogan (like corruption, dictatorial tendencies, etc) in an Indian election? National … Continue reading ‘Pulwama Attack and India’s Response Not Indefinite Substitute for All Other Issues Voters Care About’

Future of Jobs: Employment in India Is Set for an Overhaul

FROM KERALA’S MUNAMBAM harbour in the north of Vypeen, a fishing island near Kochi, several families from Delhi’s poor neighbourhood of Madangir are believed to have embarked on a treacherous boat trip that covers some of the most turbulent sea routes in the world: to New Zealand, in search of jobs. Driven into extreme poverty … Continue reading Future of Jobs: Employment in India Is Set for an Overhaul

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

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?