History, Ideology and Internet

Saturday, November 7, 2015
Internet can be a good medium to deal with ideological bias in history.

Author Chetan Bhagat stirred a debate by questioning the worth of historians' work. But much before his utterances, historians in India have been accused of pandering to leftist ideology at the cost of facts. We talk to Prof Rajiv Lochan of History department, Panjab University, on how politics affects history, what role Internet is playing in this debate and how the discipline can be rescued from bias through scientific collection and...

Forest in my soul

Saturday, November 7, 2015
The film follows the Kondhs through their lives and engagements with the forest. Source: Top Quark Films

If you frequent villages, ‘Jal, jungle, zamin’ is the commonest refrain you hear. While we city dwellers are acquainted to land and water, forest often remains a distant resource for us. But in many places of the world, there are people who are one with the forests. India is home to many such tribes who treat trees and shrubs as their extended family. The film, “I cannot give you my forest’, gives a glimpse of such a tribe, the Kondhs of...

'Tawaifs were highly educated women erased from social scene by new morality'

Friday, October 30, 2015
Rasoolan Bai was a courtesan famous for her thumri.

Courtesans contributed to music and literary scene of an era when most women were in purdah. 'The Other Song' is a film that examines how we stigmatised these performers resulting in annihilation of their profession which could not meet the new moral standards of independent India.  Their whole existence was termed immoral both by the British colonialists and also ironically by the nationalists who themselves were English educated and...

Indian Railways right on the track: In 11 charts

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Only 24% of railway track is electrified. Source: Vinoth Thambldural

From1850s when the first train ran in India and royal families sponsored its expansion to the present-day envious network and 12,000 trains running daily, railways has connected India like nothing else. Here we look at how things have changed with Indian Railways whether it's the expansion of tracks, jump in freight traffic or even casualties during operations. The total length of track used by Indian Railways is about 90,000 km of which 24...

Rural-urban shift is more fluid than we believe

Friday, September 11, 2015
There is great fluidity of occupations in rural India.

Census 2011 brought in a revelation that the population of urban India increased much more than the rural population, for the first time in 90 years. If urban population shows greater increase, does that necessarily imply rural to urban migration, where the migrants have given up on agriculture? And when we say migration, is it only about rural to urban migration for better work opportunities? Is this an inevitably one sided transition? A...

A penny well spent?

Sunday, August 16, 2015
Better learning outcomes are coming at high costs. Source: Pixabay

India spends almost 2.5 per cent of its GDP on elementary education. This includes 0.71 per cent of private expenditure. Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the flagship government programme on elementary education, got 67 per cent of the total elementary education budget in 2015-16 at Rs 22,000 crore. High expenditure on elementary education per student leads to better learning outcomes but this expenditure is highly inefficient and needs...

Women cops satisfied with work, not with set up

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Two police women in Chennai. Source: John Hill/Wikipedia

There are only 499 women police stations in India, out of a total of 15,000 police stations. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs is also proposing to appoint women in six lakh villages across the country as Special Police Officers (SPOs) on a voluntary basis. SPOs are ordinary citizens appointed by the state police to help them in community policing mostly given non combative assignments. While there is consistent emphasis to bring more women...

Organic way to deal with disability

Monday, August 3, 2015
A new set of smaller and lighter farm tools for those with functional disabilities have also been developed.

People with disabilities are often seen as unproductive beings requiring assistance from family members and community at large. This perception is starker in rural India where lack of varied work options, good public infrastructure and assistive devices leave little scope for those with disabilities to realise their potentials. An experiment in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh is challenging the old concepts by dovetailing orgnaic farming...

How we fail our RTI heroes

Sunday, August 2, 2015
Babu Ram Chauhan showing RTI documents in 2012.

Babu Ram Chauhan always knew what was coming but he could not afford drop what he was doing. Belonging to Ramgarh village located near to India’s border with Pakistan in west Rajasthan, Chauhan exposed encroachment on more than 17,000 hectares prime irrigated land in the area. On July 11, he was kidnapped while returning home after teaching at a school 30 km away from his village. The kidnappers beat him up badly, shaved his head and forced...

India's largest employer has less than 7% women in its workforce

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Maximum women are employed in Group A and B and least with Group D.

Train tracks connect India like nothing else. Meandering through valleys, counting fields, jumping over rivers and bringing to halt road traffic, Indian Railways carried over more than 23 million passengers a day in 2014-15 on its 65,436 km network. For many, train turns into a home for few days. However, it’s not easy for women to commute on this convenient and many a times the only mode of transport. In 2013, 693 cases of crime against...