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About N. Jarayam

N. Jayaram is a journalist now based in Bangalore after more than 23 years in East Asia (mainly Hong Kong and Beijing) and 11 years in New Delhi. He was with the Press Trust of India news agency for 15 years and Agence France-Presse for 11 years and is currently engaged in editing and translating for NGOs and academic institutions. He writes Walker Jay's blog.

Articles by N. Jarayam

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70

Heed Monday’s anniversary, for talk of rights is increasingly becoming hazardous to health in vast parts of the globe

India at 70: bigotry rules

"Hyper-nationalism and the closing of the mind is also ‘a manifestation of insecurity about one’s place in the world.’”

Where is India under Modi headed?

If not Theresa May, the accompanying media ought to note the gross human rights violations and crackdowns on dissent that abound.

India hangs another despite pleas from eminent people

Possible innocence, the fact that guilt was never proven beyond reasonable doubt and that many impoverished accused are poorly represented - just a few of the reasons anti-death penalty campaigners cite.

It is 20 years since a great anti-death penalty judgement

Although the Mandela government was abolitionist, the attorney general of Witwatersrand pressed for the death penalty for two people. This, it turned out, did the world a favour. 

A year of Modi Raj – India in crisis

Middle and upper class Indians see no crisis. The media fails to inform them that 75% upwards are too often suffering not only neglect but massive state violence and terror.

Is India preparing to hang an innocent ‘untouchable’?

Should the court rule against Koli and were he to be hanged, it would be the second consecutive execution in India of a most likely, or almost entirely, innocent person.

Why Hong Kong matters

Could mainland China not seek eventual convergence towards a democratic system, respectful of the full gamut of human rights? That actually is what the happenings in Hong Kong now are about.

India’s questionable choices of icons

It was only in 1990 that one of twentieth century India’s finest minds, principal author of its constitution and campaigner against caste oppression, B.R. Ambedkar, was conferred this honour, 34 years after his death.

Hindu chauvinism and the denigration of human rights

Such baseless and cynical claims are the stock-in-trade of Hindu chauvinist propagandists: as if to be critical of the BJP’s pogroms is to be supportive of the Congress party’s or Maoist or Communist violence or for that matter violence by misguided and fanatical members of disadvantaged communities. 

Narendra Modi, British invitation and universal jurisdiction

Some British MPs have invited an Indian politician widely accused of having committed crimes against humanity in his Gujarat state more than a decade ago. It is not a crisis but an opportunity: Universal Jurisdiction may be invoked to get moving abroad the wheels of justice, which have failed to catch up with him at home.

India in the early twenty-first century is not 1930s Germany

The Modi camp seems to have studied Chinese success in keeping saturation control over the media. But Indians are split along caste, language, dialect, regional, religion, not to speak of class. India is vastly different from Germany.

Blood lust mars India’s Tiananmen moment

The mere passage of laws and amendments will fail to make a dent when police forces enjoy impunity, society remains deeply patriarchal and son-preference as well as other anti-female practices remain.

The execution of Ajmal Kasab and Indian authorities’ cowardice

Large parts of Indian society bay for the blood of religious minorities engaged in alleged terrorist activities, but look askance at what ought to be labelled crimes against humanity by Hindu fanatics

For South Asians on the “We are all Malala” bandwagon

Given such levels of violence against girls and women, it is a wonder that so many Indians can feel superior while talking about the Taliban assault in neighbouring Pakistan. It will take more to defeat the Taliban, be they of the Islamic, Hindu or any other variety.

Go and tell your kids the story of Peter Norman

The unsung hero of the 1968 Mexico Olympics, Peter Norman, 'didn't raise his fist but did lend a hand'

Death penalty: the Indian authorities’ incredible myopia

How much longer will the Indian state cling to the machinery of death, both of the judicial and extra-judicial variety?

Tomsk to Jaipur: India fails to protect freedom of speech

Salman Rushdie's wholly involuntary no-show at the Jaipur Literary Festival, a big event in India's cultural calendar, highlights yet again the country’s failure to uphold freedom of speech as well as the authorities’ cynical readiness to pander to religious fanatics for narrow electoral advantage

We need to talk about South Africa

The controversial Protection of State Information Bill is threatening South African freedom of speech. South Africa’s well wishers are hoping that the bill will be at least amended especially with a reintroduction of the public interest clause, meaning that transparency and accountability in public affairs would be respected.

Frenzied argument in India

A high-decibel debate lasting several weeks in India has forced an agreement on introducing a draconian anti-corruption bill. Anna Hazare’s hunger strike with round-the-clock television coverage has divided the nation. Is there a third way between apathy and messianic fanaticism?

From China with soul: are we paying heed?

With China storming ahead of its neighbours in economic development, we are seeing an admiring India beginning to emulate some of the less attractive aspects of the Chinese style of government. Whose example should they follow?

Language: groundswell forces a retreat by Chinese authorities

The people of Guangdong have managed to defend Cantonese as their prime time television language
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