Society

Society

Issue Articles

Broad and Shallow AI

The promise and perils of competence without comprehension
Trained on our mega digital footprint, Large Language Models ‘imitate’ human behaviour and can provide ‘plausible’ completion of any text prompt. Some are optimistic about AI reaching general human intelligence; others are terrified by the potential misuses.

TIF Talkies: Aditya Pillai discusses the importance of building robust climate institutions in India

Welcome to TIF Talkies, a new audio initiative of The India Forum, where we hope to disengage from the ever-flowing torrent of the newscycle and follow up on contemporary events with a whole lot of...

Omicron: What Happens Now?

The long-term trajectory of COVID-19 will see the disease becoming endemic with the occasional flare up and frequent booster shots having to be given. We must understand the consequences of this path and reach a consensus on the level of risk we can live with.

Beyond the BCCI

If we want to know how the country is being run, we only need to look at how the Board of Control for Cricket in India is managed.

Covid-19 and the Informalisation of India’s Salaried Workers

The pandemic forced a fraction of India's salaried workers to fall back on self-employment or casual work, or to withdraw from the workforce entirely. It was only the salaried who held secure and regular positions who were able to hold on to their jobs.

India’s Anti-Conversion Laws: The Death of Secularism

The Karnataka bill on conversions goes much further than the laws enacted in other states in its infraction of liberty and it contains a raft of illegitimate provisions. Its intentions have been laid bare by the belligerence that has accompanied its advocacy.

The Legal and the Lethal

AFSPA and the incarceration of justice in Nagaland
AFSPA keeps apart ideas of law and justice; a separation that makes the Nagas 'killable', as in Oting. The law incorporates them into the Indian nation-state as rights-deprived subjects — and, in the process, reveals the dark side of Indian democracy.

Grief, Rage, Hope and now to A Place of Kindness

We must grieve for the millions who died in 2021 from Covid-19; we must also feel rage that the State was not responsive to their suffering. Groups of citizens stepped in to care for each other; that gives us hope we can move to a new place of kindness.

From Lucknow to Delhi

The stakes in UP’s assembly elections
The BJP may well return to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2022. But if a rejuvenated opposition manages to limit the incumbent's victory tally, that could reshape the contours of the 2024 national elections.

India's Linguistic Diversity

How the Census obscures it
The Indian census' classificatory practices obscures the full extent of language diversity in the country. Including what the census calls "mother tongues" presents a fuller picture.

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.

An Indian Liberal in the Empire

The dilemmas of Srinivasa Sastri
A biography of Srinivasa Sastri, long considered an irrelevant figure in colonial India, highlights his contribution to the making of the modern liberal international order and to putting Indian diplomacy on the world stage.

Can India’s Flagship Public Health Insurance Scheme Do What it Promises?

PMJAY promised to fix India's patchy heathcare coverage and reduce hospitalisation costs for the poor. Four years into its existence, the scheme needs to pause expansion, learn, and consolidate.

Chakravarthi Raghavan: Journalist-Champion of the Global South

Tributes to Chakravarthi Raghavan (1925–2021) a journalist who made his mark on the global scene and who died in late September.

A Window to the World from an Economist-Philosopher

The breadth of Amartya Sen's memoir makes it in part a work of history. To read about his interaction with some of the great minds in the world is to read history in the making.

Pitting People against Nature

India’s conservation laws, based on pseudoscience, have criminalised people’s defence against marauding wildlife. Democratically-constituted local bodies empowered to protect nature will be a more just way of nursing our heritage to a healthy state.

The Myth of the Meritorious Doctor

Caste privilege in the medical profession
Reservations are — wrongly — blamed for encouraging mediocrity in the medical profession. The historical record shows that the floundering foundations of the profession were laid by doctors who came 'purely through merit'.

Do We Know Enough to Vaccinate Children against Covid-19 Now?

We need more information on the safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness of vaccines among children to be able to formulate a proper evidence-based policy; and we do not as yet know enough about the Omicron variant to change considerations of risk and benefit.

Violating Freedoms and Criminalising Labour in Proposed Law on Trafficking

A new law on trafficking is to be enacted in the winter session of Parliament, but the July 2021 version of the bill fails to recognise Indian realities where trafficking is a problem of extreme socio-economic inequality, requiring a multi-faceted approach.

Digital Currency: Fog Beyond the Hype

What are digital and cryptocurrencies? Why is there so much hype about this new form of digital money? Will it threaten the hegemony of paper money? A detailed explainer in the context of recent policy explorations in India on a Central Bank Digital Currency.

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.
No more articles!
Back to Top