On the Ground, It’s Business As Usual: Jashodhara Dasgupta On One Year Since the Supreme Court Banned Sterilisation Camps

By Shaifali Agrawal | 2 November 2017
In mid September 2016, the Supreme Court of India pronounced a judgment in the case of Devika Biswas vs Union of India. Biswas, an activist, had approached the courts following an incident in January 2012, when, over the course of a few hours, a surgeon sterilised over 50 women in a mass camp Bihar’s Araria district. During the procedure, one woman suffered a miscarriage, and three others lost significant amounts of blood. Biswas’s petition highlighted the cruelty of such procedures. It also condemned the use of sterilisation as a measure of population control—a practice that has been ongoing since the 1980s. (India has a dark history of coercion when it comes to reproductive rights, underpinned by the Malthusian ideology that population growth is stunting development. After thousands of men died in sterilisation procedures during the Emergency, in the 1980s, female sterilisation began to be promoted. The state has adopted a targeted approach to it since.)

“The Institution is Pachauri”: Why Women At TERI Felt Unable to Speak Up About Sexual Harassment

By NIKITA SAXENA | 1 November 2017
In February 2015, a 29-year-old researcher formerly employed with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) filed a first information report against RK Pachauri, the former director general of the organisation. She alleged that Pachauri had subjected her to “repeated and constant requests to have a romantic and physical relationship,” and that despite having repeatedly told him that she was not interested, “he refused to give up.” She alleged that he had also physically harassed her, and had forcibly touched and grabbed her. When she confronted Pachauri about her objection to his actions, she said, he had threatened that he would “not give me any more work in his office and that I should leave TERI or he will transfer me to some other division.” The case made global headlines, owing to Pachauri’s reputation as a world leader in drawing attention to climate change. After news of the first complaint broke, two other women, both former employees of TERI, came forward and released public statements about having been subjected to sexual harassment by Pachauri.

After an STF Raid, A Musahar Village is Burnt, Allegedly by Yadavs; IG Claims the Villagers Set Their Own Houses on Fire Because They are “Mahadalits”

By Sagar | 30 October 2017
On the overcast morning of 22 October, 60-year-old Kailo Sada sat wistfully beside the ashes of his burnt house. Kailo resides in the Chhamasia village in Bihar’s Khagaria district. Like most others in the village, he is a member of the Musahar community—a Dalit sub-caste that is one of the lowest castes in the traditional hierarchy, and the members of which are identified as Mahadalits in Bihar. In the midst of open marshlands, paddy fields and river streams, the village of Chhamasia appeared out of place—black tarpaulin sheets covered destroyed homes, household belongings lay scattered in the open, and the residents wore similar looks of helplessness and despair. Kailo, a father to four children, was one among several villagers sitting and mourning amid the rubble that remained of their homes.

Despite A Damning External Audit Report, The Reform of the DDCA Is A Long Way Away

By Sagar | 26 October 2017
This is the final part of a series on an external audit report that examines the books of the Delhi & District Cricket Association, between the years 2012 and 2015. The first part, on the report’s failure to mention Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, formerly the president of the DDCA, is here. The second story, which details the findings of the audit report—these include embezzlement, fraud and gross mismanagement—is here.

Embezzlement, Fraud, And Gross Mismanagement: What an External Audit of Just Three Years of the DDCA’s Books Reveals

By Sagar | 25 October 2017
This is the second part of a series on an external audit report that examines the books of the Delhi & District Cricket Association, between the years 2012 and 2015. The first part, on the report’s failure to mention Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, formerly the president of the DDCA, is here. The final part of the series, which discusses why, despite the audit’s findings and court orders, reform within the DDCA is a long way away, is here.

The Sound of Silence: External Special Audit of DDCA Reveals Gross Irregularities Of Over Rs 14 Crore; Jaitley Left Unnamed

By Sagar | 24 October 2017
This is the first part of a series on an external audit report that examines the books of the Delhi & District Cricket Association, between the years 2012 and 2015. The second part, which details the findings of the audit report—these include embezzlement, fraud and gross mismanagement—is here. The final part of the series, which discusses why, despite the audit's findings and court orders, reform within the DDCA is a long way away, is here.

The Sino-Indian War Was “A Masterstroke That Placed China as the Leader of the Third World”

By Bertil Lintner | 22 October 2017
More than 55 years ago, on 20 October 1962, China launched a series of attacks on Indian positions in the former North Eastern Frontier Agency—present-day Arunachal Pradesh—in the eastern front, and in the Aksai Chin region on the western front. Both regions formed part of the disputed territories along the border between the two countries. The attacks marked the beginning of the Sino-Indian War, which ended unexpectedly a few weeks later. On 21 November, China declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew to a position 20 kilometres north of the Line of Actual Control—the disputed border between the two nations.

How the Ordnance Factories, Defence Ministry and Bureaucrats Have Created A Crisis of Ammunition Shortage in India

By Sagar | 20 October 2017
Within three weeks into the Siachen conflict during the Kargil war in 1999, India ran low on ammunition, and approached South Africa to help replenish its stocks. That year, the news website India Today reported that the army was short of at least 300 battle tanks and approximately one thousand 155 mm artillery guns. In 2016, in an article published in the India Defence Review—a quarterly journal and web publcation run by retired army officers—Gurmeet Kanwal, a retired brigadier of the Indian Army, wrote that India had to import 50,000 rounds of artillery ammunition during the conflict. Kanwal is presently a distinguished fellow at the autonomous think-tank the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. In the article, he wrote that India’s defence preparedness and modernisation suffered due to a lack of resources and attention afforded to it by the current central government.

Why the Mahabharata Can Be Read As an Indictment of War

By Upinder Singh | 18 October 2017
In her latest book, Political Violence in Ancient India, the historian Upinder Singh traces the subject of “violence” and how it came to be viewed and implemented in ancient India. Singh looks closely at the manner in which kings such as Ashoka and Chandragupta Maurya viewed political violence, as well as the ideas espoused on the subject in ancient texts such as the Arthashatra, and the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. She discusses the various approaches to understanding the concepts of “dharma” and “ahimsa,” and why these must be viewed in the specific context of ancient Indian history. In her introduction to the book, Singh notes that “rather than essentializing, simplifying and comparing ‘Indian’ and ‘western’ perspectives,” she argues that “the long and intense intellectual engagement with the problem of political violence in ancient India demands attention and needs to be understood in all its diversity and nuances … as it unfolded in its changing historical contexts.”

Former HT Press Worker Found Dead In A Protest Tent Outside the Company’s Delhi Office

By Kedar Nagarajan | 17 October 2017
At around 6 am on 12 October, Ravinder Singh, a 56-year-old former employee of the Hindustan Times Limited, was found dead in a small tent outside the newspaper’s office building in Connaught Place, in Delhi. Singh was a former printing press worker at the Hindustan Times, whose services, along with those of 361 others, were terminated on 3 October 2004. Since then, Singh and other former workers—who are members of the Hindustan Times Employees Union—have been protesting their termination outside the office building. Members of the union told me that Singh worked at the Hindustan Times from 1980 till 2004.
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