‘They treat us like stray dogs’: Migrant workers flee India’s cities

Along the Barabanki highway outside Lucknow—the capital of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh—a spring morning finds two men asleep under a tree, limbs askew. One of them lies on a worn-out black throw with colorful stripes; the other sleeps on a discarded white gunny sack, near bicycles with duffel bags attached. Another three men sleep…

50 Days and Counting…

In August, India stripped Kashmir’s autonomy, cutting off internet amidst mass arrests. Will the UN intervene? JOURNALISM IN VERSE My mother’s tears have not fallenbut her face grows harder and harder.I scrunch my eyespretending I can seethe semblance of a smile,that I can hear the main door creak,that my brother is home.My mother doesn’t,her days…

A Numbers Game

India has one of the largest populations of illiterate people in the world at 266 million, amounting to 35 per cent of the global total. This is a huge concern for a developing country, which is expected to become the world’s second-largest economy by the year 2050 and which will have the youngest population in…

What’s Next for Indians Living Under Modi?

Modi’s individual popularity had seen a surge despite declining support for his lawmakers and policies. His ‘earthliness’, a carefully crafted image that contrasts with the elite, English-speaking opposition in the centre-left Congress Party, continued to make him a favourite of the aspiring middle classes, who identify with his rags-to-riches story to the extent that it…

May 23 Will Not Be a Defining Moment in the History of Secular India

Exit polls on Sunday evening predicted a second landslide win for the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, renewing a question that was asked repeatedly over the past few weeks: whether India can handle another five years of Modi. Here’s the short answer. Yes, it can. There’s a long answer…

Will downtrodden farmers decide Modi’s fate?

On the outskirts of the village of Deora, in the drought-affected Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state with a population of over 200 million, lies a large excavation, covered with drying, overgrown vegetation. ‘This is a pond. Can you see any water? This was dug to benefit us during droughts. But it has…

When viral hashtags promote religious extremism

In our hyper-connected world, hashtags are often a state of mind. A recent popular hashtag campaign made it clear to me that polarization and the religious divide are firmly entrenched in India. On 17 July, #TalkToAMuslim trended at #1 on Twitter. Over 500 Twitterati picked it up, followed by hundreds of thousands of ‘impressions’. Of…