Colonialism, War and Exile: The Little-Known History of Indians in Myanmar

This is an excerpt from my piece that was originally published on Atlas Obscura on March 12th.

On a bright morning in August, 1965, a young man named Gurumurthy ushered his parents and sisters out of their home in the Burmese capital of Rangoon. They shut the wooden gate behind them, glanced at the stark-white façade of their house for a final time, and began to carry their modest belongings to the nearby port.

Continue reading “Colonialism, War and Exile: The Little-Known History of Indians in Myanmar”

Women Lead Struggle to Preserve Indian Democracy in 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 “Women Lead Struggle to Preserve Indian Democracy in Face of Rising Hindu Nationalism”

Visual Diary: Dusty Delhi Days

Back in September, I moved to New Delhi. Over these past 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—in addition to the absence of fresh air, there’s the relentless honking, the inexplicably high prices, the general brusqueness—and yet, it’s been good to be here. Delhi is steeped in history, and the chaos fuels my writing somehow. Continue reading “Visual Diary: Dusty Delhi Days”

Visual Diary: A Winter’s Night on Shimla’s Mall Road

Earlier this month, I ran for the hills – quite literally – fleeing Delhi (and its toxic Diwali smog) for Shimla. The crisp winter air was invigorating as I walked along Mall Road and the Ridge, taking in the surroundings. People gathered outside popular local eateries, busied themselves with shopping, gazed at watercolour paintings displayed at the Gaiety and enjoyed late-night strolls around Christ Church. Continue reading “Visual Diary: A Winter’s Night on Shimla’s Mall Road”