This week's editor

Mariam Ali

Mariam Ali is Associate Editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

When scarred female bodies demarcate the Indian subcontinent's polity

The Lightning Testimonies, an acclaimed feminist exhibition, comes to Assam, and its powerful images speak to the region's own legacies and women's often-sidelined stories.

Defending the global knowledge commons

Members are encouraged to use creative commons licensing and to join others in a pledge to be open by agreeing to review for and publish in mainly if not solely open access journals.

The Podemos wave

Never before has it become so clear that we live in societies that are politically democratic but socially fascist. The Podemos wave is a metaphor for every single attempt to find a progressive solution. 

India’s Daughter: platforming rapists and ignoring activists

Udwin’s intervention has been true to her self-assigned role as an ‘amplifier’, but the only voice given an international platform here other than her own is that of the rapist.

The problem of representation in ‘India’s Daughter’

Jyoti Singh, the real name of the woman in question, has not been allowed to be what she was, but made into what she had no say over.

'India’s Daughter': the rapists’ callowness not the most distressing aspect of banned BBC documentary

The Indian Home Ministry’s attempt to block the screening could be seen as one example of a broader clampdown on whatever is deemed  ‘anti-national’. But what does that say about the mainstream culture?

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women ?

Will the real Modi stand up?

Lord Shiva is one God who assimilates in his person all contradictions. Modi did the same!

Proper democracy triumphs in Delhi

The Aam Admi Party won as many as 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi State legislature. Modi’s BJP managed to get just three of its candidates elected. Congress failed to win a single seat.

The need to decriminalise attempted suicide in India

India needs to go through with eliminating section 309 of its penal code, punishing attempted suicide, as announced by the government at the end of 2014. The criminalisation of suicide is often used to suppress peaceful hunger strikes.

A mellower Naipaul disappoints fans

All was forgotten. All was forgiven at this year's Jaipur Literary Festival. The short fuse replaced by a wire thick enough not to burn.

Caste no bar

Dalit literature has emerged as a powerful force against the exploitation of lower castes in India. But the revolutionary transformation that it seeks to enact can only occur through a plurality of voices, engaged in meaningful dialogue.

Whose battle is it anyway?

The women and children of the Indian tribal population are trapped in deadly crossfire between the state and the Maoists. Forget gender equality: sexual abuse is rampant.

Change the people

In a message to the tax evaders, a frightening voice says: “We know it all! Every single transaction of yours! You can hide nothing!” Meanwhile, Indians are getting more materialistic…

Women workers in the Gurgaon industrial belt fight increasing casualisation

It is these solidarities, across factory and across contract, which the factories and indeed Modi’s Government fear, which must not be forgotten once the dust settles over the current round of labour 'reforms'.

Do we all live in Bhopal now?

A Greenpeace study finds 473 US chemical facilities each endangering 100,000 or more people with a Bhopal magnitude disaster on its 30th anniversary.

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 I decided to reject Hinduism

Only one aspect of Hinduism is common for all the different variants: the varna hierarchy. This is my personal account of why I rejected this discriminatory religion. 

The Modi Government’s war on environment

The Modi Government is pushing through reforms that weaken India’s existing environmental laws and threaten the rights of those who rely on the forests for their livelihoods.

Welcome to the not-so-new world order

The latest IMF report has confirmed what some have long argued – ‘rising powers’ like Russia and China are changing the world, but not in the way you might think.

 

We are not victims, but fighters: acid attack survivor Laxmi speaks

After suffering an acid attack in 2005, Laxmi refused to be a victim and instead has championed the crusade against acid attacks in India.

Popular action against corruption

Some of the biggest corrupt operations are run by governments themselves, and watchdog bodies often lack sufficient power to challenge entrenched problems. There’s another powerful approach: popular action, as documented in Shaazka Beyerle’s new book Curtailing Corruption. Review.

A lesson for the Dalai Lama

There is undeniably a great difference in cultural values between Tibetan Buddhists who grew up within their community in India and the western converts who were raised with liberal western values. But this is no longer the end of the story.

India’s fight against terrorism

Al-Qaida's aging leaders are struggling to compete for recruits with Islamic State. Nevertheless, India must prepare itself for all sorts of terrorist threats, not least terrorist re-emergence in Afghanistan. What role might NATO play in this?

Pakistan protests: underlying implications for India

As the political turmoil in Pakistan continues to unfold, the underlying implications for India-Pakistan relations are discouraging.  

India’s subaltern border citizen

Could Delhi be solving the wrong problem? What it chooses to define as a law and order problem is essentially a governance crisis of severe proportions and one that the Indian state is not yet willing to acknowledge.

How has Modi performed in 100 days in office?

The governance process seems to be running smoothly. Modi’s public announcement on corruption “Na khaunga na khane dunga’ (Neither would I pocket money illegally nor allow others to do it) is laudable, though only time will prove if he walks his talk.

Modi's foreign policy blend

With the economy under control – Standard and Poor has recently raised India’s credit outlook to ‘stable’ – Modi is free to indulge in international relations. 

The contradictions of the Indian intelligentsia

The knee jerk reaction from India’s intellectuals to the advent of a new government has been to profess a concern for ‘liberal order’. But we need to think about the space for dissent and divergent opinion in more nuanced ways.

“Expressing concern”: India’s balancing act on Gaza

India has moderated its position on the Israel-Palestine conflict over time, exchanging statements of condemnation for those “expressing concern”. But behind India’s strategic balancing act there also lies a precise domestic calculus.

Crafting “smart cities”: India’s new urban vision

With a new government in Delhi, India’s urban agenda is now focused on the creation of “Smart Cities” in industrial corridors.  Such an initiative is driven by the demand of foreign investors to find sanitized spaces in developing countries in which they can operate easily – unhampered by politics. 

Modi's energy revolution

India's economy and business climates continue to be hindered by the inability to provide sustainable and reliable electricy. But Modi has the opportunity to finally power India.

Power to the people: an open letter to Arvind Kejriwal

In 2013, openDemocracy published Pradeep Baisakh’s interview with Arvind Kejriwal, charting his transition from Gandhian social activist to politician. One year on, Baisakh writes an open letter to the leader of the Aam Admi party, urging him to once again take up Gandhian principles.

Islamic law and the state: rearticulating Sharia in Pakistan

This statutory nature of the Sharia begins to emerge, paradoxically, in the colonial British courts.  It is this legacy that led to a reimagining of the role of Sharia, that now plagues the modern Muslim nation state.  

Death in the tea gardens of Dooars, India

The starvation death toll has crossed 1,000 in under a decade, as colonial laws, unreceptive politicians and unrestrained estate owners continue to govern this neglected part of North-East India.

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