Days In Miserypur: Child Labour, Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Prize and All That!

Another Indian - an addition to a very small number - now has a Nobel Prize. Kailash Satyarthi.

Never met him.

But a little over two decades ago, I decided to chuck journalism and do ‘real things’ on the back of happenstance - leading up to six months of close encounters with Satyarthi’s campaigns.

Chasing L K Advani to Vaishali, Bihar, to report on his first public rally after the Babri Masjid demolition, I happened to share the train compartment with two gentlemen from one of the finest carpet makers in the world. The gentlemen were carrying on a legacy in carpet making that spanned over a century. They were two of the handful of ‘square’ businessmen in a  trade that was fundamentally crooked, nasty, rapacious and exploitative.

Delighted to find themselves with a ‘reasonable’ journalist, they invited me over to Mirzapur (the epicenter of carpet making in India) to see for myself the issue that had the Carpet industry in turmoil.

A gentleman called Senator Tom Harkin had set in motion an anti-child labour bill that would wipe out Indian carpet exports to the US. The discussions over the next few months ended in my taking up a job in Mirzapur (fondly christened Miserypur by its residents) to get involved in weeding out children working on looms.

Over the next six months, I roamed the villages of Mirzapur and Bhadohi — in the stretch from Allahabad to Varanasi — visiting looms, sitting in on industry discussions and meeting  government officials.

The man who was hogging the headlines was Kailash Satyarthi. Having launched his career on child labour, Satyarthi was quick to latch on to his real audience: The West. Raids were carried out on all “suspect” organizations to oblige hungry news channels and news publications.

It isn’t really strange that “Satyarthi who?” was the common reaction even among serious media persons in India when the Nobel Prize was announced. They were never his “target audience”.

Having jettisoned from Swami Agnivesh whose Bandhua Mukti Morcha had set the ball rolling on bonded labour, Satyarthi quickly built himself a reputation on child labour. 

His methods were much the same of many a NGO working in India  - generate bad and indiscriminate publicity in the West, magnify the issue globally by extreme visualization and hope the world turns the screws on India. His American-European support base is evident not only in the awards that have been on him showered by organizations there, but also that the European Parliament nominated him for the Nobel prize.

Whatever his path, there is little doubt that the Satyarthi factor unleashed enough terror 20 years ago among the carpet barons to force them to substantially clean up their act. There is little doubt that the carpet industry needed a Satyarthi to goad it into action. Left to themselves, despite the dollars, most of them were petty shopkeepers who didn’t care much either for product quality or human values.

Some quick points of reference: Carpet ‘factories’ don’t make carpets. Carpets are made in village homes on looms that the householder owns. It was rare then to find large, consolidated loom-holders. These looms were spread across a territory that ranged from Gorakhpur to Agra but the main concentration was in the Mirzapur-Bhadohi-Varanasi belt. Each entrepreneur-villager is a freeholder and can take a contract as he pleases. He shifts allegiances based on the best price and order though quality conscious companies make a lot of effort to ensure that highly skilled loom-holders don’t move to others.

At any given time, a village house could have multiple looms, each working for carpets on order from different companies. Children and women of the house often joined in.

The household members were different from the children brought in – typically from Bihar – as bonded labour. The parents of ‘bonded children’ had handed them over to pay off a loan they had taken from the contractor. With different companies having different levels of sensitivity to the child labour issue, often a loom-holder would have only adults working on a carpet for the company that insisted on adult labour while 12 to 14 year-olds were at work on another loom where a carpet for another less-‘sensitive’ company was being woven.

Children, incidentally, made for poor weavers as they neither had the skills nor was the much publicized “nimble fingers” of much use.

Here then are notes from two decades ago, written more as a record of ‘stories’ I saw. (Needless to say, I returned to journalism post haste once the realization dawned that I was unlikely to ever figure out colours, designs and knots.)  Please note that these are notes from 1993 – unchanged – so the data points are that much old.

ENTREPRENEURS WITHOUT ENTERPRISE

For all the money that the carpet industry makes – and that too in greenbacks – the carpet barons are little more than ‘dukandaars’ – a term preferred by the Imperial British over the present profusion of ‘exporters’, ‘manufacturers’ and ‘traders’. Very little of the Rs 800 crore that the Mirzapur-Bhadohi-Varanasi belt earns is ploughed back or invested in capital intensive ventures that would take the industry to the next level. Instead, the money goes into purchase of land and building of ‘fortresses’.

The lack of enterprise is evident in the dependence of the industry on visiting buyers and agents. Marketing is an alien concept – as true for the market leaders as for the smallest of firms.

Worse, the industry has little use for innovation – popular designs are churned out in bulk till the market collapses or shifts to another quality or design. The limited innovations of the market leaders are copied overnight without even a by-your-leave. And yet the lure of easy money is adding ‘entrepreneurs’ to the carpet industry almost every other day.

CHILD LABOUR IN THE CARPET INDUSTRY

When one of the market leaders surveyed the looms, they found that around 9 per cent of the workforce were children below the age of 14. When the company had finished cleaning up their act, they had suffered a 30 per cent loss of production as other loom holders moved out as well.

The biggest deterrent to removing children from the looms was not the commonly argued loss of livelihood for families but the fear that it would mean surrendering production (looms) to less scrupulous companies. However, with Senator Harkin (Note: This was written in the year 1993) threatening legislation that would effectively choke off import of Indian carpets into the US, the industry is becoming increasingly aware that the rules are beginning to change.

Their response has been pure panic.

WHO IS A CHILD?

The Indian law says one below the age of 14. The ILO says less than 15 at the very least. If Harkin has his way, the carpet industry would have to do better than the Indian law.

Of course, the question remains as to whether a child is a child. Working on the loom in his undervest, Dinesh looks 12. The labour department books the loom owner. Photographed with his clothes on, he looks 15 and the Deputy labour Commissioner, Allahabad, admits as much. The final judge as per the Factory’s Act is the CMO.

And the going price for a CMO certificate is Rs 180.

NGOS:  SOCIAL ACTIVISTS OR INTERNATIONAL DRAMATISTS?

(The headline is as written 20 years ago)

When Kailash Satyarthi raided Ramkanthi, he had a rich haul. 150 children were ‘caught’ on looms. Photographers came along for the ‘raid’, the local media went to town and even the Delhi edition of the Times of India carried on its front page a brief story.

An indignant buzz arose from the carpet barons who had tales of 15-year-olds being included to satisfy the ‘target’ head count and rice being scattered on the ground and children forced to eat it for the benefit of accompanying media.

A little different is the story of a reasonably large sized company with a strong anti-child labour policy. They had no children on their looms. And yet Kailash Satyarthi raided and “found” children on their looms. Since it was the market leader, it made helluva lot of sense to target them. Not to be outdone, the company checked and found that neither the loom belonged to them nor had Satyarthi got his facts right.

In desperation, they handed Satyarthi a list of all looms weaving for them and asked him to check it out.

They haven’t heard from him since.

HIS FATHER’S LOOM

Is there a difference between the child who has been ‘recruited’ from Palamu (one of the poorest and drought hit districts of Bihar) by a loom-owner for Rs 2000 to be trained in the art of knotting by hand on an exquisite “leechi” and the boy who helps his father at his loom?

The boy from Bihar is escaping starvation but is tied to the loom — away from home, dependent on food and shelter from his master who maybe as merciful as his conscience allows him to be.

For the boy at home, life is much more easygoing. He doesn’t sit on the loom till he has had his fill of food, frolic and often a couple of hours at school under the big tree.

The Indian law says there is a difference. The ILO says there is none and Senator Tom Harkin is blissfully unaware that there is such a distinction. For the simple social engineering that Harkin ‘sahaab’ is doing, the consequences would be either be mind-bogglingly complex or a tired but typical Indian response of accepting what is fated and moving on.

Evidence of the former is the increasing number of women and girls on looms. Of the latter, there is sullen acceptance of having to close shop when the Labour and Factories department invade the area.

Carpet manufacturers sound a dire warning of the art dying out if children of the family are stopped from working on the loom.

(Postscript: 20 years later, it would interesting to see if the next generation left the loom for good because they didn’t learn the art at an early enough stage)

THE CHILD EARNER

There is little doubt that child labour benefits everyone – from the loom-owner to the bleeding heart exporters, sanctimonious customers, publicity and funds starved NGOs to the story-seeking media.

For the child earner, however, there are no options, no relief. Senator Harkin’s pious “This bill is about breaking the cycle of poverty by getting these kids out of factories and into schools” is just so many words.

For the Bill fails to tie up the deprivation of livelihood that it would entail to any means of staving off the resultant starvation.

ONE HUNDRED DAYS IN MISERYPUR

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Tired and muddy, the Ganges lazily curls in and away from the city of Mirzapur, its sangam upstream a forgotten chapter as it courses listlessly past.

Spanning the river is the Lal Bahadur Shastri bridge – its toll gate demarcating ordered humanity from the chaos of neglect.

Mirzapur is the city of maliks and mazdoors, of dust and grime, of rubble strewn paths pretending to be roads, of filth and squalor and utter unconcern.

PUBLIC ENEMY NO.1: THE LABOUR DEPARTMENT

Deputy Labour Commissioner Pradeep Srivastava was leading his men on a child labour raid. Walking into the house of a loom holder, he saw the lady of the house pulling a quilt to cover two children. After a tug of war, the quilt was pulled aside and two ten-year olds leapt up and rushed out.

As Srivastava turned to follow, the woman barred his way and shut the door. Taking off her pallu, she advanced on the hapless deputy labour commissioner. “Shall I scream that you are molesting me? You, a government servant, will not only lose your job, the villagers will skin you alive.”

For a moment, Srivastava was dumbfounded. All his years in the field had not prepared him for this.

Humbled, he called his men off.

The labour department has no friends in the carpet industry. There are, of course, very few like Pradeep Srivastava. Most labour officers have chosen to cohabit with the carpet barons than live in penury. The result has been utter disregard for labour laws. The blame for child labour attaining such gigantic proportions must squarely lie with the labour department. 

— 3 days ago
#Mirzapur  #Nobel Prize  #Alternative Nobel Prize  #Kailash Satyarthi  #Child labour  #carpet industry  #Indian carpets 
Haider And The Story of Kashmir

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A few weeks back, flying to Delhi from Bangalore, a young Sardar was trapped in the middle seat next to mine. He spent much of the flight watching a movie on his phone with an unusual stillness. The occasional glance at his screen showed Sikh actors, a Punjab setting in a movie that seemed to have rich political overtones. As the plane landed, taxied and moved to its bay, the movie was reaching its crescendo with two actors being led to the gallows. The young Sardar quietly wiped a tear.

A little searching on the net showed up Kaum de Heere” - a film on Indira Gandhi’s assassins/assassination that was banned in India in August. Bans have little merit in a world where all nets, doors, walls and boundaries to information have got porous. 

The fact that the movie came close to getting released - banned just a day before it was to play - shows a certain maturing of our political discourse. It will still get watched and, possibly, has been watched across Punjab already — though not in cinema halls. 

Which brings me to Haider, the Vishal Bhardwaj adaptation of Hamlet, set in Kashmir of 1995. It is an unabashed indictment of how India handles the situation in Kashmir. The film is an unsparing, adept, stark capture of the situation in Kashmir in 1995 (though some elements from more recent history creep in). There is Hamlet too, but for those riveted by the political story, it would be more of a footnote.

There is little doubt that there is not much contrived or manufactured in the film on how it reports the situation.

Many parts of the movie went well outside the needs of the Shakespearean drama to etch out the larger tragedy of Kashmir. Many a time, the sub-plot of how Kashmiris were treated takes over the main plot. The identification of the doctor as a militant supporter during a “crackdown” was an unnecessary artifice meant to drive home the humiliation heaped on the citizens. Much later in the movie, it becomes apparent that the “informer” (the uncle) had given the army the lead. So, what was the need for capturing, in all its starkness, what happens in a crackdown - that rather elaborate holding out of the identity card; the masked informer sitting in the jeep; the plucking of a possibly innocent suspect so that the real target could be one of many…?

There are other giveaway moments on how the movie is more a report on Kashmir than the tragedy of Hamlet. None more so than the smartly underplayed dig at the army when the commanding officer trots out the line on the Indian Army being the most disciplined army in the world.

Vishal Bhardwaj, incidentally, is well aware of the damage he intends to cause - a giveaway being the little tribute to the Indian army in the closing scrolls for its role in the Kashmir floods. A bit of a fig leaf, if you will - possibly stapled on with the intention of having a straw if one were required. 

That said, it was a report on Kashmir of 1995. A state and the city of Srinagar that I had seen up close in October 1992 (My report from that time http://tinyurl.com/nscrhlqover a week of staying on a houseboat on Dal Lake. Much of Haider resonates with me for I have seen that phase when Kashmir verily was a jail - for both sides. When the J&K Police earned fame for being even more bloodied than the militants and the armed forces. Of people who would disappear because dead bodies of “terrorists” gave rich cash rewards.  Of a city where there were ‘militant held’ places and ‘army held’ places. The South Indian soldier was indeed the norm and the fleeing Kashmiri youth (to India or across the border) had left the city empty of young voices. The hijab was in but not the burqa. It wasn’t as Indian Army-dominant a period as Bhardwaj would have one  believe.

Those were testy times when you were ever ready to dive into the nearest sheltering portico when militants would come out and fire at will. The soldiers were afraid - fighting a war they were ill-prepared for in a terrain that was alien to them. The by-and-large dark skinned South Indian soldier sat shivering in the cold bunkers - gun at the ready.

They were outmatched by much better prepared militant groups - better armed, more aware of the terrain and clearly well ahead of the army in enjoying the support of the locals. There was a robust sense in the state that the collapse of the Soviet Union was augury of what was to come.

If Haider fails in being honest, it is possibly in showing - except in a very cartoonish manner (when a Carl Gustaf is unleashed on the doctor’s house to the thunderous declamation by the army officer that he will not lose a single soldier to the bloody militants), the sheer enormity of the battle that the armed forces had to fight.

Civilians and intruders were hard to separate and militants held the upper hand in every manner. Haider ignores the reality of the insurgency in the 1990s being largely driven by outsiders and mercenaries. The Kashmiri youth were fodder for the militants and the Indian forces had no political discourse to counter them. If Haider was Bhardwaj’s report on Kashmir, it fails in a sense to give the “balance” that should have depicted the many killings, torture, rape and worse by the militant groups. Where young Kashmiri girls were fair game for the militants. Where keeping a young man at home was a declaration of being “Indian” and, therefore, a target for the terrorist commanders.

Interestingly, there is a clumsy attempt to tell the “Indian” side of the story through black and white vignettes with a reference to the incidents around partition. These, of course, were overshadowed by the ‘mad’ Haider’s theatrics at Lal Chowk.

The script had no space to deal with the dilemmas on the other side and the story hangs together on the narrative of full endorsement to the cry for azadi.

And yet, that is not why I write this piece. It is more to go back to the earlier question - have we today become politically mature enough to accept such a film with all its shortcomings? Apparently yes, despite all the #boycottHaider hash tags.

The audience watches the movie without squirming. As a nation, we are beginning to face up to our realities. The sense of disempowerment that led people to taking to the streets with stones is getting replaced by a sense of having a voice. And, to that extent, we are possibly both more intolerant (a fine art having being perfected by groups on all sides of the political divide and executed with maniacal zeal and varying tones on social media) and more tolerant because we don’t need to burn down cinema halls to voice our dissent. There is time and space to debate Vishal’s interpretation - and no matter how the narrative walks on one side of the road, there would be — in parts of Kashmir at least — the belief that their “side” of the story has been depicted well. 

Haider, in a sense, is a test for all of us in many ways.

And for those wanting to read a review of the film from an interpretation of Hamlet point of view, I would commend the capture by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/03/movies/haider-puts-an-indian-twist-on-hamlet.html?_r=0

— 2 weeks ago
#haider  #Kashmir  #Kaum de Heere Hamlet Vishal Bhardwaj 
Why I Will Probably Not Pick Up The Broom

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This has nothing to do with politics. About being a Bhakt or not. Or about caste, creed, religion, middle class mindset. Or being cynical. Or being just a damned naysayer. Or for that matter an armchair critic.

Not a bit.

In fact, to prove the contrary, I can point to a laboured five years and bunches of money that has gone into setting up an eco adventure camp in Coorg as a counterpoint to all the construction that threatens to make the lovely hill district yet another messy, squalid, Nainital or Mussoorie To dwell on the point just a wee bit more, the camp is quite stringent on ensuring that not even a cigarette butt, plastic wrap or foreign material makes its presence felt anywhere within the radius of the camp. And we do more. Try not to disturb nature. Avoid cutting down growing trees while clearing undergrowth and working hard to ensure that any construction that happens should be such that nature can take it all back when and if we move out.

So, in a fashion, over half a decade, I have picked a very large broom.

But not this time around. I am impressed with the intentions. I am humbled by the way in which I see my friends in high places, leaders of society and good neighbours have taken on the mantle. I will even go so far as to laud the people who will set off a chain of selfies posted with the broom in hand.

And yet, I would like to step back and say, is this what will make India clean? 

That question has many layers and I suspect not a question that the campaign addresses. Unfortunately, your and my contribution to the mess is there but much of the accumulation of garbage has less to do with people not keeping their surroundings clean, or behaving negligently. Yes, the ethos stinks and it needs a wake up call. True, those all acts of misdemeanor add up and do reflect a particularly abhorrent part of our character. The ethos needs to change and to the extent each person is sensitized about picking up his own rubbish and disposing it appropriately, the campaign does make sense. But will that be enough?

I fear that this Swacch Bharat was yet another aspect of tokenism and symbolism with which the new government has been getting by. Unlike our former prime minister who said too little and gradually acted as much, the present prime minister is spending a lot of time in building the communication - and the actions are yet to follow.

The real question is what will make India clean? The answer does lie in a more complex set of answers - and there will be mountainous numbers to back it.

However, lets start at some of the basics.

First, lets dust out the laws and get them going on the ground. Simple example, here is a December 2012 PIB release notifying penalties for creating filth: 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=90826

The Ministry of Railways has issued a notification containing rules on prohibition of activities affecting cleanliness and hygiene in the Railway premises along with penalties for contravention of these rules. The Indian Railways (Penalties for activities affecting cleanliness at Railway premises) Rules 2012 have been notified in the Extraordinary Gazette of India, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (i) vide Gazette Notification no. GSR 846(E) dt. 26.11.2012. 


Under these notified rules, no person shall (i) throw or deposit litter in any occupied or unoccupied Railway premises or the carriage except in authorised places; (ii) cook, bathe, spit, urinate, defecate, feed animal or birds, repair or wash vehicles, washing utensils or clothes or any other objects or keep any type of storage in any Railway premises except in such facilities or conveniences specifically provided for any of these purposes; (iii) paste or put up any poster or write or draw anything or matter in any compartment or carriage of the Railway or any premises thereof, without any lawful authority; (iv) indulge in defacing Railway property. 

The fine is Rs 500. Make it Rs 5000. Give a share - upfront - to the Railway Police if you please. Extend these concepts to every institutionalized area that generates large volumes of garbage. Let colonies get penalized and householders be fined for garbage lying anywhere within 500 metres of the colony. Ditto for restaurants. Street vendors pay for any garbage - self created or not - within 10 metres of where they stand. The moot point is that sentiment isn’t enough - for action to take place, there has to be leadership and more.

Laws such as these are there by the basket and the kilo. Get them cracking. Delhi and Gurgaon have shown the way to crackdown on drunk driving - random checks at random places; uncompromising fines. Suddenly, the two cities have some very sober and wary drivers. 

Second, there is the disposal issue. The first step of an effective cleanliness programme is an effective waste disposal chain. While our supply chains have got more and more effective, every format of the other end has stayed moribund. There is little new age thinking. Even the poshest of colonies have, at best, a garbage van that picks up the daily junk and dutifully evacuates it at the closest open ground or landfill or worse. Unfortunately, all the garbage collected on October 2nd probably didn’t travel much further than the intentions.

One would have loved to hear the Prime Minister talk about a billion dollar investment in setting up a waste disposal chain and putting out a blueprint and left the mohalla safai business to his corporators. That billion dollars needs to go into creating in each city a modern fleet of waste disposal collectors; a scientific mapping of waste generated in each city block, each grid area; a fleet of trucks and a whole infrastructure for disposal. Today, civic authorities provided infrastructure barely matches the volume of garbage that accummulates in an area - the net result is overflow, accumulation and birth of pestilence.

Third, I would have liked the Prime Minister to stand with the community of young and old who make a living out of scavenging. I would like him to announce a big programme that will give them a livelihood of dignity. The young need to be in schools. The old need to be preserved from diseases, deprivation and homelessness. I would like to see a programme announced to ensure that this mass of workers are given rights that would make them more them scavengers - and make them into the police for cleanliness.

As a footnote - does my picking up the broom stop any of the above from happening? The answer clearly is no. 

But the issue is simple - as the Prime Minister and the Government leads the campaign, I would like to think of this as going to war.

True, the soldiers need to be mobilized - but they are not sitting in the drawing rooms and taking selfies. They are on the ground. If you mean business, work the real troops. The equipment needs to be in place. Spend precious prime ministerial time getting the artillery and the heavy fighters in place. Get the resources organized for a long drawn battle.

Here is a government that can do it. So, let the brooms rest. And lets see a plan in action that has the same impact that NREGA had in rural India.

— 2 weeks ago
cartoonpolitics:

The US has confirmed that it is resupplying Israel with weapons and ammunition which can be used against Gaza .. (story here) .. (and here)

cartoonpolitics:

The US has confirmed that it is resupplying Israel with weapons and ammunition which can be used against Gaza .. (story here) .. (and here)

(Source: cagle.com)

— 2 months ago with 696 notes
Holes in Holisticism

Written 20 years ago, this article challenged the imposition of a new world ideological framework. My academic days were still on so the article makes for heavy reading but the simple thought was that the ‘victorious’ West ready to impose western liberalism as a model of governance was way off. 

— 2 months ago
The Ugly Bystander

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Every man was an island as the recounting of the survivor tells us:


“After throwing us off the bus, they tried to mow us down but I saved my friend by pulling her away in the nick of time. We were without clothes. We tried to stop passersby. Several auto rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but none stopped for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then, someone on patrolling, stopped and called the police,” he told Zee News. 

He said nobody, including the police, gave them clothes or called an ambulance. “They were just watching us,” he said, adding that after repeated requests, someone gave him a part of a bed sheet to cover his friend. 

The victim’s friend said that he carried his badly injured friend to the PCR van on his own as “the policemen didn’t help us because my friend was bleeding profusely and they were probably worried about their clothes”. 

“Nobody from the public helped us. People were probably afraid that if they helped us, they would become witnesses to the crime and would be asked to come to the police station and court,” he told the channel. 

He said that one cannot change mindsets by lighting candles. “You have to help people on the road when they need help,” he added. 

He rued the people’s indifference towards him and his friend when they were lying on the road. “They (the people) had cars, they could have taken us to the hospital. Every minute was important for us. But they didn’t. Who will change this attitude?” he asked. 

“If you can help someone, help them. If a single person had helped me that night, things would have been different. There is no need to close Metro stations and stop the public from expressing themselves. People should be allowed to have faith in the system,” he went on to say. 

We are getting more involved than ever before.  We take out candle light marches. We press the “Like” button on Facebook.  We express online, on mobiles, on television. We are no longer afraid to “get involved”.

Or are we?

 

Read more
— 4 months ago
#Supriyo Gupta  #nirbhaya  #India rape 

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Blue Skies are a rarity in London, blessed as it is with, as the Londoner said, with two kinds of weather: Rain and Cold. But here we were in London with the city served sunny side up. Weather is clearly top of mind for the people of the isles that form the UK. From the dressed up gladiator in the Roman Baths at Bath to the Scottish tour conductor, it was weather, and the good fortune of no rain, that occupied their thoughts. Not that a little bit of rain would have really been too off the plate for the family which had escaped the searing heat of Delhi at its peak summer.

 

Read more
— 4 months ago
Well before the days of the Internet, ‘acceptable’ nudity was transmitted through newspaper reports.. one such on Fergie unbared triggered this comparison of media interest in Fergie naked vs the Somalian naked

Well before the days of the Internet, ‘acceptable’ nudity was transmitted through newspaper reports.. one such on Fergie unbared triggered this comparison of media interest in Fergie naked vs the Somalian naked

— 4 months ago
Written ten days after the Babri demolition in 1992, this piece in The Observer looked at the whole issue of Indian foreign policy in West Asia which was getting driven by speculation on how the Islamic states would react rather than a careful analysis of the actual reactions. 

Written ten days after the Babri demolition in 1992, this piece in The Observer looked at the whole issue of Indian foreign policy in West Asia which was getting driven by speculation on how the Islamic states would react rather than a careful analysis of the actual reactions. 

— 4 months ago
Some write ups are just as good 22 years later! This May 16, 1992, article on the challenges for the Indian Air Force is just as relevant. The MiG-21s are still crashing, the Tejas still doesn’t fly…

Some write ups are just as good 22 years later! This May 16, 1992, article on the challenges for the Indian Air Force is just as relevant. The MiG-21s are still crashing, the Tejas still doesn’t fly…

— 4 months ago
#IAF  #Indian Air Force  #LCA  #Tejas  #DRDO  #Light Combat Aircraft  #mig-21 
This article written in 1994 for The Observer was triggered by a rather interesting judgement in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the dismissal of state governments. While the issue has not surfaced since in this context, in the days ahead it will be interesting to see how the notion of State Secularism gets tested.

This article written in 1994 for The Observer was triggered by a rather interesting judgement in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the dismissal of state governments. While the issue has not surfaced since in this context, in the days ahead it will be interesting to see how the notion of State Secularism gets tested.

— 4 months ago