Quoted in this story by Rollo Romig, writing for NYT Mag.
It is the first day of Makar Sankranti, a major festival that takes place each January to celebrate the harvest and the advent of longer days. People light bonfires, discarding the old and welcoming the new. They prepare feasts and create intricate decorations made from brightly colored powders. And they hold cockfights — many, many cockfights.
Awash in gambling and liquor, the fights are big-money affairs. They’re also entirely illegal. The fact that they persist points to a conundrum of modern-day India: When the rule of law takes on tradition and political muscle, it often loses.
This episode of Reporters Without Orders features host Cherry Agarwal, Newslaundry's head of research Ayush Tiwari, special correspondent Prateek Goyal and independent journalist Aruna Chandrasekhar. The panel talks about the Indian airstrike in Jaba, near Balakot, Supreme Court's order to evict more than 1 million tribals and forest-dwellers, the Kisan long march in Maharashtra and more.
On March 6, Odisha police arrested Lingaraj Azad, an indigenous-rights activist, on charges including criminal conspiracy. In a press note released by the Odisha police, Azad is referred to as “one Maoist sympathiser”. In reality, Azad is one of the foremost leaders of a people’s movement to protect western Odisha’s Niyamgiri hills from mining and industrialisation, mobilising indigenous communities in a landmark referendum in 2013, where 12 indigenous village councils rejected UK-based Vedanta’s plans to mine their sacred hills for bauxite.
The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was feted by much of his cabinet and many BJP chief ministers on social media for receiving the “first-ever” Philip Kotler Award. The man behind Prime Minister Modi's dubious award, however, is seemingly employed by a state-owned Saudi Arabian petrochemical firm eager to expand its footprint in India.
Podcast for the Indian Express on indigenous women, mining, conflict and #MeToo.
"In the final episode of Hear Me Too, we take a look at what happens to women who are trapped in conflict. Conflict itself is more than just people with weapons fighting each other, and women are the worst affected by all forms of conflict."
Dispatch from Punjab as part of a nation-wide series on India's air pollution crisis:
Just as the WHO concluded that “air pollution is the new tobacco,” Delhi’s air quality rapidly declined to a category officials describe as “severe”, for the first time this season. But the truth of who is to blame for another season of crop-burning and spiking particulate matter numbers across north India is not easy to determine. With the growing chorus against crop-burning, farmers—who have put rice, wheat and pulses on the plates of Delhi’s denizens for decades—are sick of taking the blame.
The first of an ongoing, nation-wide series on air pollution called Breathless that looks at ordinary people fighting extraordinary disease and pollution. This is the story of the Jains, a family that lives in one of Delhi’s most polluted neighbourhoods. It took visits to six doctors for Atul Kumar Jain to discover he had something more sinister than a waning appetite and “halki-phulki khaasi” or mild cough. His kids don’t want to add to the contaminants that made their father sick.
A month after unprecedented floods devastated Kerala, it is still unclear how the state will rebuild what it lost, and more importantly, how the redevelopment will be financed.
As extreme weather events increase in frequency, the Kerala floods point to a key tension in India's disaster relief framework: disasters are localised, and relief work is best managed locally. Yet, funding for disaster management and mitigation is heavily centralised, and at times easily diverted to other budget heads.
Kerala Floods: Outdated Guidelines, Faulty Weather Reports Worsened Crisis. Here’s What India Can Learn
The Kerala government's decision to open the sluice gates of 33 dams in the midst of an unprecedented flood has attracted much debate. Critics have argued that the unplanned release of million of litres of water from dam reservoirs exacerbated the flood, which has claimed at least 350 lives and washed away homes and infrastructure that took decades to build.
Lost in this debate is the fact that the fundamental assumptions for safe operation of India's dams are no longer valid. Climate change means a 1-in-1,000 year inundation may occur more frequently than previously assumed.
This Onam, thousands of people in relief camps in Kerala are taking stock of what was lost in the floods—and wondering what they will return to.
Photojournalist Aruna Chandrasekhar and Scroll.in’s Aarefa Johari won the Shriram Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism on Friday. Chandrashekar won the first prize in the economic policy category, for her article which revealed how the government was using the National Clean Energy Fund to finance its pet projects.
In the villages of Motiya and Gangta in Jharkhand’s Godda district, tractors and SUVs race down a recently widened dirt road. Even in the clouds of dust they kick off, it is hard to miss the fence stretching across kilometres of farmland, with cows grazing on one side, and trees lying horizontal on the other, roots exposed to the sky. Inside the fence, Adani Power Limited is building a coal-fired thermal power plant with the capacity to generate 1,600 megawatts of electricity. How does the project qualify as ‘public purpose’ and does it violate legal safeguards for indigenous areas?
Located on the easternmost tip of Jharkhand near the border of West Bengal, Godda is a district of rolling grasslands and thick forests, punctuated with palm trees and paddy fields, underneath which runs a rich coal seam. The district is home to one of India’s oldest coal mines. But it has one of the lowest electrification rates in the country.
Adani Power Limited, which is part of the Adani Group, is constructing a 1,600 megawatts coal-fired thermal power project here. But the electricity wo...