This week's editor

Ray Filar

Ray Filar is co-editor of Transformation and a freelance journalist.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Will the real Modi stand up?

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

Modi government cracks down on green NGOs

7610India’s new Modi government trains its guns on environmental activists. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, funding for human rights.

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.

A lit-fest expresses India’s genes

The five-day festival passed off “peacefully”, without the violent assertion of the right to be offended.

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'.

Bhopal: "until my last breath"

Remembering the women survivors of the Bhopal catastrophe who are at the forefront of the fight for justice and a clean future in Bhopal, India.

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.

India's infrastructure democracy

India plans to industrialise its cities, however the way to do this is not through centralised planning, but through connecting households, firms, and cities so they can all work together

To end manual scavenging in India, Hindu religious leaders must speak up

6471In India, Hindu religious leaders are reluctant to campaign loudly against the collection of raw sewage by oppressed communities, and this is slowing progress in abolishing the practice. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Religion and Human Rights. हिन्दी

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.

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.

One step forward, two back? Dalit women’s rights under economic globalisation

6047The economic reforms begun in India in 1991 were couched in the language of ‘modernisation’, yet they have done little to challenge the caste and gender discrimination faced by Dalit women - in some ways their situation is worse.   

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. 

Pure hypocrisy: India’s fear of foreign funding for NGOs

The Indian state aggressively promotes foreign investment in all sectors but civil society.

 

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. 

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.

Waiting to die: the Saharia adivasis of New Balaarpur

Indian development has brought forced resettlement programmes in its wake. At a time when free speech is met by prompt punitive action, will the new Indian government take any action when these citizens ask for justice?

India’s election discourse: reflections of a disappointed voter

What should Indian voters learn from the spirit of India's election discourse in April? With each passing day, a new allegation, a new set of outlandish statements and a new controversy emerged, just enough to deflect attention from the grave issues facing the country.

Basic Income: transforming lives in rural India

An experiment in paying villagers in some of India’s poorest villages a modest regular cash payment without conditions has transformed their lives. It could provide an effective anti-poverty programme for all India’s poor. But which way will Narendra Modi jump?

Misogyny in the Indian elections: an education

Harrowing cases of violence against woman are reported internationally, while a bizarre backlash takes place against reform in the rape law passed in response to the fatal Delhi Nirbhaya gang-rape in 2012. Misogyny is embedded within India's society. 

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