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: 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”

How is Victim-Blaming Still a Thing?

A slightly modified version of this piece was originally published on The Hindu thREAD.

“How were you dressed?” the victim is questioned. “Were you under the influence of alcohol? Why were you out with a bunch of guys so late at night?” Continue reading “How is Victim-Blaming Still a Thing?”

The Larger Implications of Films like ‘Padmaavat’

I only went for the popcorn. And as far as that was concerned, it was a good evening. The movie, however, was an altogether different story.

Based on everything I’d read/heard, I knew that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat would likely infuriate me, so I made an effort to not take it too seriously from the start. In the process, I even managed to enjoy three quarters of the movie. The dialogues were insufferably trite but the film was visually mesmerising. Continue reading “The Larger Implications of Films like ‘Padmaavat’”