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The Myth of the Meritorious Doctor

Caste privilege in the medical profession

Issue Articles

‘Dear Mr. Gandhi’

Letters from a Mailbag in History
The first two volumes of 'Letters to Gandhi', covering 1889-1910, trace a fine-grained texture of Gandhi’s life in the initial decades of public life. They offer vignettes of a rapid rise in the public sphere and dogged work in the face of overwhelming odds.

A ‘Licence’ to Kill in the Sundarbans

A regime of fishing licences in the Sundarbans, unchanged since colonial times, might be the single biggest everyday hazard to the lives of the fishers: on par with tigers, cyclones, and rising seas.

Why do Opinion Polls make Wrong Predictions?

Polling is based on sound statistical theory, but pollsters seldom divulge their polling methodologies for us to assess quality. There is enough room to question the study designs, possible selection biases, and randomness in selection of samples.

India’s Fertility Transition and Differences between Religious Groups

‘Overpopulation’ can no longer be a concern in India, as across states and across religious groups fertility has been falling in recent decades and approaching replacement level. Fears about a demographic shift between religious groups are not based on fact.

Plane Tales: Air India’s Return to the Tatas

The Tatas' acquisition of Air India is hailed as a triumph for private enterprise in its battle with the remnants of the Nehruvian state. The history of Indian aviation, however, is of the Indian state offering crucial support to the Tatas over the decades.

Producing the Migrant Myth

Ecology, migration, and politics in Assam
Assam's development discourse is embedded in wilful ignorance of history, ecology, and migration patterns. This ignorance feeds narratives of land-hungry migrants usurping land and seeking to make the Assamese a minority in the state.

How Should We Remember the Violence and Suffering of Partition?

"What does it mean then to remember the ‘horror’ of partition at a time when identities are so polarised. Do we remember only what was done to us, leaving out all that we did to others and to our own?"

Distress and Danger in Kashmir

Until the recent killings of minorities, there was an unusual silence in Kashmir valley. Kashmir’s situation reveals the tell-tale signs of a region pushed into a vortex of irrecoverable misery, thanks to monumental official blunders.

Digital ID: A Single Source of Truth

The push worldwide to give everyone a legal identity was to allow people better access to financial and public services. But this endeavour has quickly morphed into promoting Digital IDs that are increasingly used for surveillance and control.

The Banality of India's Islamophobia

Islamophobia in India erases Muslims even as it hyper-visiblises them: disempowering them and diminishing their worth. Ironically, even secular-minded people diminish its seriousness by asking Muslims to ignore the hate campaigns and focus on 'real issues'.

The Kashmiri Women Demanding Answers

Zia’s ethnography of Kashmiri women activists seeking redressal for the enforced disappearance of their relatives resonates with the struggles faced by many across India's conflict zones.

Disinformation: A New Type of State-Sponsored Violence

While attempts by the ruling party to control the media and the messaging are not new in India, what we see now is the use of new technology to ‘curate’ and exercise ‘centralised control’ to spread disinformation in order to harass and intimidate critics.

The Crisis of Citizenship in Assam

Autonomy and social justice are often in a tense relationship in Assam. While the demands for autonomy reflect the desire for territorial control over land, demands for social justice reflect an insistence on citizenship and equality under constitutional law.

The Cycles of History

The US departure from Kabul has drawn inevitable comparisons with the exit from Saigon in 1975, but ‘history’s eternal shadow, namely, the future, will always throw up surprises no matter how carefully we curate the past to tell us what we want to believe’.

Another Chapter in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is not the exhausted, impoverished, war-weary country the Taliban took over in 1996. Nor are the Taliban the same cohesive force. New aspirations, and pressures from the ground and foreign backers will shape the new regime's governance style.

Twenty Years of the ‘Global War on Terror’

Matters have come full circle in Afghanistan, the main theatre of the ‘war on terror’. Chaos is festering in Syria, Libya, Yemen & Iraq. The failure of U.S. justice presages an unravelling of the international order. An alternative could emerge in war or peace

Seven Medallists at Tokyo, Seven Hundred Crowd the Podium

The Indian athletes at Tokyo gave it all they could but a familiar ugliness has surfaced after the event. Officials, politicians, and sponsors are jumping on to the bandwagon of the medallists, while some who failed face the wrath of officials.

India: From the World’s Largest Democracy to an Ethnocracy

The principle that Hindus can rule and marginalise others has firmly established itself beyond the BJP and the RSS. This emerging ethnocracy in India draws on electoral victories and legislative majorities, making formal suspension of democracy unnecessary.

Blockchain vs Public Bulletin Board for Integrity of Elections and Electoral Rolls

When the Election Commission is the sole decider of a public ledger, the use of Blockchain to conduct polls & maintain voter lists may result in an unverifiable & highly insecure solution. A simpler cryptographic-secured public bulletin board will suffice.

Why the Pegasus Snooping is a Hacking of India’s Democracy

The widespread use of the Pegasus spyware in India suggests a disrespect for the institutions of democracy at the highest levels of government. What could be worse for the future of India’s democracy?

The Pegasus Case Must be Used to Press for Change in Surveillance Laws

To ensure comprehensive privacy for all Indians, we need to generate public pressure to make the Government of India reform the existing framework for surveillance and introduce a data protection bill in Parliament that is much tighter than the current draft.

5 July 2021

The day Fr. Stan Swamy died marked a collective national failure; we are all guilty of his death, either by omission or by commission. We now need symbolic as well as bold gestures to reclaim the moral ground we ceded on 5 July 2021.

The Nation State and Modern Sport

'National feeling is not something that has been injected into sport by swaggering players, corrupt politicians, and a scheming media looking to boost ratings; it is native to modern sport, something that is built into its historical evolution.'
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