In this war on journalism, we are being attacked not only through intimidation tactics but also by a systematic assault from government sympathizers and their social media army. Online threats and social media harassment are a package deal for female journalists in India.
India’s Kerala state is both highly developed and religiously diverse. Yet the Hindu nationalist “Love Jihad” conspiracy has found an unlikely foothold there, aided by the church, and pitting two religious minorities against each other.
Many Indians who had been influenced by Western education and Victorian mores belittled Tawaif art and culture. The British Empire, oblivious of the Indian traditions and cultural milieu, gradually began to erode the Tawaif tradition by equating courtesans to prostitutes.
As for the toymakers of Varanasi, they seem to acknowledge their advantage. Carving wonders out of wood, they continue the legacy of making their wooden toys in various colors and sizes; a metaphor, perhaps, for the varying levels of hopes that continue shaping the talented community.
Since the state of India has shirked its responsibilities toward managing our public health, ordinary people have been picking up the slack by doing voluntary relief work, acting as first responders, and searching for medical equipment to make up for shortages. Our volunteer efforts feel like the only way to ensure the survival of our communities.
The pandemic’s second wave in India was merciless. In the first week of May, 2.7 million people were infected and 26,000 died. India’s metropolises became open memorials of death and anguish, the suffering belying cracks in the invincible and messianic image of Modi, who became diminished in his darkest hour.
For the Mughal rulers, whose control covered much of the subcontinent, India could be imagined as something close to a unified state. However, for the millions of people beneath their rule, no sense of a “nation” or being part of “India” is evident.