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Issue Articles

Women and Contraceptive Decision-Making in Kerala

Kerala's below-replacement fertility figures obscure the poor awareness of contraceptive methods amongst women, pointing to the unfinished task of promoting independent and informed reproductive choices.

Women Bring a Spring of Hope to the Farm Movement

Women have been reinforcing the farmers’ protests on Delhi’s borders, right from the beginning. Their experiences of the agrarian crisis are broadening the demands of the movement beyond defending minimum support prices for crops.

Band-Aids for Bullet Wounds

Why has the second wave devastated India and what lies ahead?
The brutal advent of Covid-19’s second wave in India was not unforeseen. But claims of an ‘Indian exceptionalism’ lulled politician, policymakers, and the public into complacency.

Dr Pradip Bijalwan: An Unsung Journey for an Equal World

Many health workers have given their lives working tirelessly for the Covid-19 ill; Dr. Pradip Bijalwan was one of them. His journey was different: he had given his life caring for the under-privileged and he died caring for the homeless of Delhi.

Subverting Reservations in Karnataka

The unusual sight of Karnataka's influential swamis at the forefront of protests to tweak reservation quotas portends the end of reservations as a constitutional means for social justice, and a reassertion by the dominant castes.

The Fault Lines in Tamil Nadu that the DMK Now Has to Confront

The DMK faces new challenges in expanding social justice alongside economic modernisation: internal fault lines have emerged in the form of cracks in the Dravidian coalition of lower castes and there are external ones such as reduced autonomy for states.

India’s Biggest Challenge: The Future of Farming

India has enough food; does it have too many people working in agriculture? The pressure on land is an outcome of policy, which condemns most people to marginal farming. India needs a different set of solutions for agriculture and for those working the land.

Misreading the Past

The UGC’s New Framework for Indian History
A new undergraduate history curriculum reduces the complexity of the past to simplistic ideas of religious difference. The official promotion of such ahistorical thinking adds weight to the project of misreading the past to fuel divisive passions.

Silences of Jiddu Krishnamurti

'Krishnamurti forced us to excavate the hubris buried in our body and soul but refused to share his own ambiguities ... he shut the door on himself, probably as much for self-preservation, as for keeping us away.' An essay on the questions JK did not ask.

Vaccine Conundrums

The government lost an opportunity to dampen the second wave but it should at least protect us from the third wave. For that it needs to revise its ‘liberalised’ vaccine policy, which with its array of complicated procedures will not aid rapid vaccination.

The Implications of the Left Victory in Kerala

The LDF’s return to power in Kerala was on the back of its creditable response to emergencies and its quality of governance. The unprecedented second term signals the emergence of a new kind of electorate, with implications for both the Left and its rivals.

Vulnerabilities in the EVM-VVPAT Process

The Potential Threat to the Integrity of Elections
The 'jugaad'-like manner in which the VVPAT-machine has been inserted into India's electronic voting process has endangered security; the process safeguards that were earlier designed to protect EVMs are now of little value.

Understanding the Downslide of India’s Democracy

There is crisis today in Indian democracy but the long-term context is a growth of ‘sub-democratic’ politics. This has made democracy vulnerable to erosion and capture as in the current regime. Can citizens make the re-investment needed to rescue the Republic?

The Burden of Conflict that Women of Kashmir Bear

Women face an unequal burden from the conflict in Kashmir. As state and society turn against them, circumstances force them to renegotiate their positions and even their consciousness.

Historical Roots of the Rise of Hindutva in West Bengal

For a century, Hindu organisations have worked amongst Dalits in Bengal to incorporate them into the religious community, while the Left excised the question of caste from its discourse. These legacies have come to the fore as the BJP rises in the state.

What has Gone Wrong with India’s Vaccination Programme?

In the middle of a virulent second wave, India finds itself staring at shortages that will delay vaccinating its 45+ population well beyond August. If only the government had not thought it was infallible and had been less complacent in its planning.

Brand India and the Making of a New Citizenry

Branding projects to make India appear open for global business has entailed the production of an exclusionary image of the nation and a rewriting of the contract between citizens and state.

Planning the Family, Planning the Nation

India’s family planning programme advertised the small middle-class family as a means to develop the nation. But its top-down approach meant that sterilisations became the default contraceptive option for poor and working class women. This legacy persists.

Jat Power and the Spread of the Farm Protests in Northern India

The combination of caste & farmer identity amongst the Jats in western UP uniquely strengthens the resistance to the farm laws, but also creates barriers to creating lasting solidarities with marginalised groups that the farm movement is trying to incorporate.

Casting Away Misogyny

An important memoir discusses how patriarchy and misogyny in Hindu society are sustained by caste.

The Right to Rest: Women at Leisure

The idea of women at leisure is redolent with derogatory connotations. Yet, snatched between mundane responsibilities, leisure is a space for women to express themselves in personal ways. A photo essay.

The Life and Art of M.S. Subbulakshmi

A new biography gives us a sense of the many personalities that made up “MS”, the extraordinary exponent of Carnatic music, during her life-journey.

India and the Pandemic

The First Year
A collection of 24 essays on how India dealt with Covid-19 in 2020, published by Orient BlackSwan. The essays, with a detailed Introduction, cover the history of pandemics, the early stages, the lockdown, the law, impact on economy & society, and the future.
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