Mahatma Gandhi’s pacifism often shed a veil over his regressive opinions on caste and gender. Thus, while, on one glance, Gandhi seems to acquire a non-conflicted figure, upholding compassion and peace, several of his social and political views are shrugged under the rugs of history. Following several of his own writings, which dispute his benevolence, Aseshita and Sonali ask what was so ‘priestly’ about Gandhi? Why do we need to remember even his flawed ideologies before claiming him as a nationalistic symbol every year on his birth anniversary?
Soon after its promulgation, the FCRA 2020 Amendment received massive criticism. Several aspects of the Act are currently challenged ahead of the Indian Court. For instance, recently three joint petitioners challenged the ‘severely restricted use of foreign funds’ and the mandatory condition of receiving funds in the New Delhi Branch of the State Bank of India. In the light of increasing government control and politically charged policies, the FCRA 2020 Amendment seems to indicate the state’s intentions. Aeshita Singh explains FCRA 2020 Amendment, tracing FCRA’s history and how it impacted the NGO-state relations over the years.
Many have argued against a slew of anti-conversion laws passed in several Indian states. These laws pose a fundamental challenge to individual autonomy and freedom and doubts women agency to exercise their will. Further, they are deemed problematic as they are born out of a political narrative that preceded them. In this context, Anshula Sinha understands the Madhya Pradesh anti-conversion law, which resurrected as a harsher version of the earlier implemented anti-conversion law in the state.
The central government’s repulsion towards the inclusion of Other Backward Classes in the caste census in India has exposed the state’s casteist notions. Moreover, the tussle within BJP party lines and the push from the opposition has only politicised this demand. But the real question remains: why such a census is crucial? Aeshita Singh highlights how the reluctance towards the caste census in India stems from the upper caste imagination of caste.
Do tobacco control laws in India have any real impact on tobacco consumption and consumer behaviour? To what extent can the state be held responsible for increased tobacco consumption? The Indian state has tried to address both these questions by decreeing on choice and restricting consumption. However, one can’t be sure if it has had any tangible impact on production or consumption. Moreover, most of these laws affect and proscribe small retailers, utterly negligent of the big players that promote tobacco implicitly. In such a scenario, Harshita Jain questions if tobacco control laws in India are capable enough to be effective?
While Islam is viciously portrayed as perpetrating violence, how much of the misinterpretation of Islamic text add to its misrepresentation? Should we blame the religion for extremist tendencies that certain terror organisations exhibit? Or blame the interpreters of the Islamic text who presents a distorted meaning? While critiquing misrepresentation of Muslims and Islamophobia in the west, Sabahat Wali Khan asks whether there’s a need for introspection within the community.
As bodies piled one over the other, waiting to get cremated, the dignity of the dead got buried by systemic failure and lack of legislation in India. While those who suffered losses, including the caretakers, are trying to locate government accountability, several states are still fudging data. Hence, it’s essential to revisit and remind ourselves of the government failure amid rising cases, all of which has been conveniently brushed aside. During the second wave, death by the pandemic became banal, and Diksha Garg is writing to ask why was it so? She also asks how will the dead be assured dignity posthumously.
Farm laws 2020 created quite a stir over the last year. Farmers from across Punjab and Haryana hurdled at Delhi NCT borders, and others rallied in their states, lending support to those sitting at the Tikri Border. But, while the protests silently loomed over the ends of Delhi, unweathered despite the pandemic, the farm laws and their issues are still unaddressed. Amidst the relative silence from both ends, government and farmers, this article tries to reignite the discussion on what went wrong. Abhinash Ray writes on the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act to detail its provisions, critiquing it and providing solutions for its implementation.
Indian colonial and post-colonial legislation and society together tried to push sex workers in India outside the domain of the ‘normal’. Even after independence, the shadow of moral chastity reflected on the drafting and interpreting laws that continued to create exclusionary spaces for sex workers in India by further invisibilising them. From criminalisation to victimisation, Shivangi Banerjee describes the derogation of sex workers in India.
A lot has been written about corruption in Nigeria since independence. Even though the country tried to inculcate transparency and accountability through reformations, it seems to retreat to its past. With eclipsing free speech and failing legal machinery, corruption has only surged. Damilola Bajo describes the many instances of corruption in Nigeria and how they have affected democracy. In this commentary, she moves ahead with a solution-oriented approach to counter corruption, arguing how collective desire and change can propel effective policy implementation.
The Modi cabinet reshuffle occupied Indian media’s broadcast space for the whole of last week. While several attributed the new changes to a decisive step, some called it tokenism to undo recent fiascos. The recent reshuffle shows that governments with a significant majority in the Parliament have it easier. The same has been evident throughout PM Modi’s two terms. Jaibatruka Mohanta analysis the pattern of cabinet reshuffles in India in the light of the recent one.
In Part II of a three-part series, the article talks about the infiltration of colonial morals and how the anglicisation of selective religious text polluted the connotation of same-sex love in India. Thus, further inscribing British orthodox morality into the constitution and elsewhere. Deepanshi Mehrotra writes how S. 377 was implemented as a tool of disciplining desire. And even after independence was used for harassment by the police and society alike.
This article is part of a three-article series that will discuss the history of homosexuality in India in pre-colonial and colonial times and the decriminalisation of Section 377. Historians often reference back to the pre-colonial times when speaking about same-sex love and its prevalence in mythology, vernacular literature and religious text. But many oppose homosexuality based on the reasoning that it subscribes to a western form of living. Deepanshi Mehrotra, in this article, as part of three-article series, will debunk the ‘western idealogy’ argument, countering literary and graphic evidence smothered across India’s monuments and scriptures.
Experts throughout the world are optimistic about the boom of blockchain technology in Africa. The high praise is also because emerging blockchain-based solutions are being customised for developing countries and are touted to increase the quality of life in such countries.
While there are concerns regarding its efficacy and cautions to security, the latter is often ruled out for its immunity against data theft, and the former often goes unaddressed. Damilola Bajo explains the importance of blockchain, highlighting the advantages and limitations of integrating blockchain technology in Africa.
Bhasha Singh, in her book, writes a telling account of manual scavenging in India, and it stands relevant even today. She details the stories from across India and is writing with deep anguish and pain. Her words are moving, and so are the real-life narratives of manual scavengers. Although her book was published in 2014, a lot from it still stands true. Singh’s book also exposes the government’s unwillingness and the court’s casteist streak. Dhruv Soni reviews the book, highlighting the best aspects and drawing some of its limitations.
Since its inclusion, first, under rule 49-o of Conduct of Elections Rules 1961, and again as a symbolic implementation in 2013, NOTA was idealised as a powerful tool to exercise the right to reject. Overestimating its potential, the Supreme Court in its NOTA judgment became too short-sighted. While the top Court included NOTA as a working option, it simultaneously made NOTA vote incompetent. Disha Pathak details the inefficacy of NOTA and its limited potential to bring any real transformation.
Three staples for constructing detention centres in India include law, state and ‘illegal migrants’. These, along with bricks, cement and mortar, build suffocated cubicles, cramped by many who fail to prove their citizenship. In trying to establish their linkages with the state and in prooving bloodlines on paper, many succumbed to legal and administrative machinery.
Deepanshi Mehrotra tells the story of violations and confinement and an increasing number of detention centres in India despite COVID-19.
During the second wave of COVID-19 in India, we are witnessing more than just the government’s failure. We are witnessing apathy; we are witnessing black marketing and hoarding of essential medical supplies. Despite the urgent demand for oxygen and life-saving drugs, India is choking under the weight of bureaucracy and sluggish governance. Jaibatruka Mohanta details the despair of the desperate and the pitiful state of India.
Even after Section 377 was decriminalised in India, homosexuality continues to be a taboo subject. And the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face social ostracization, one that is offered from within and outside the family. The present commentary by Disha Pathak briefly discusses society’s obsolete lens on homosexuality and the judiciaries’ own flaws in realising the 2018 Judgement.