Preserving Indian Democracy in the Face of Rising Hindu Nationalism

This article was originally published on Waging Nonviolence.

After the Indian government’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, people across India answered a nationwide call for protests issued by left-wing parties on Aug. 7. Article 370 had provided the state with considerable autonomy and was one of the conditions for its accession to the Indian union in 1947.

Shabnam Hashmi, social activist and co-founder of the non-governmental organization Act Now for Harmony and Democracy, or ANHAD, livestreamed the protests from New Delhi.

She panned her camera to show protesters restricted by barricades at Jantar Mantar, a site where regular protests occur in the capital. “As you can see, the space — which has already been confined so much for protests — even in that area we are not being allowed to enter,” she commented. “This is the state of Indian democracy now.” Continue reading “Preserving Indian Democracy in the Face of Rising Hindu Nationalism”

Dispatches: Delhi’s Neglected Urban Villages

The area beneath the Barapullah flyover, just behind South Delhi’s INA metro station, is congested, with vehicles, cows and pedestrians colliding as they make their way through the chaos. The honking is incessant; cows are sprawled on the middle of the road, with motorists often pushing them out of their way. Nearby, a sea of bricks and an excavator marks ongoing construction, while the air is pungent with the smell of sewage. Continue reading “Dispatches: Delhi’s Neglected Urban Villages”

In Photos: Dusty Delhi Days

Back in September, I moved to New Delhi. Over these six months, the weather has gone from sweltering to frigid to- presently- clear skies and a gentle breeze. And with that, the air quality has dramatically improved. (In Delhi, that means it’s no longer hazardous like in the winter months, just plain unhealthy.) My own feelings towards the city have oscillated between fascination and exasperation – apart from the absence of fresh air, there’s also the relentless honking, the inexplicably high prices, the disproportionate concentration of assholes – and yet, it’s been good to be here. Delhi is steeped in history, and the chaos fuels the writing somehow. Continue reading “In Photos: Dusty Delhi Days”

In Photos: Farmers & Labourers Rally in Delhi

On September 5th, thousands of farmers and labourers from various parts of the country marched across New Delhi to demand loan waivers for small farmers, effective implementation of labour laws, minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month and food security, among other things.

The Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally, organized by unions affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI), culminated on Parliament Street and is said to be the largest protest to take place at the venue this year. Continue reading “In Photos: Farmers & Labourers Rally in Delhi”