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  • The Caravan

    Drawing the Line

    On 8 January this year, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which declared that a specified category of undocumented immigrants residing in India-Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who hail from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan-would not be treated as illegal immigrants. This implied that only Muslims, atheists and practitioners of indigenous faiths from these countries would be...

    • 3 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    In Sua Causa

    NARENDRA MODI'S ARRIVAL in the prime minister's office in 2014 heralded tense days for the Indian judiciary. The Bharatiya Janata Party's manifesto had pledged to "set up a National Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges in higher judiciary." Within months of the party taking power, both houses of parliament passed the ninety-ninth amendment to the Constitution, to create the National Judicial...

    • 3 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    Worms in the Chocolate

    On 15 August 2014, in his first Independence Day speech as prime minister, Narendra Modi said: "whether it is the poison of casteism, communalism, regionalism, discrimination on social and economic basis, all these are obstacles in our way forward. Let's resolve for once in our hearts; let's put a moratorium on all such activities for ten years. We shall march ahead to a society free from all such tensions ....

    • 3 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    No Direction Home

    {ONE} FIFTEEN KILOMETRES FROM the headquarters of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, located in the posh south-Delhi neighbourhood of Vasant Vihar, lie the dusty lanes of the industrial district of Okhla. Near the banks of the Yamuna, the neighbourhood of Madan Khadar houses Muslim migrant communities that provide cheap labour for Okhla's furniture, sugar and leather factories. Here, in a neat row of...

    • 3 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    The Diminishing Middle

    Before campaigning for India's general election started, in April this year, I was in Delhi discussing the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidates in the capital with party workers. As we talked about the BJP's prospects, I asked whether they thought the Congress would make something of a revival in Delhi. One party worker dismissed my query immediately. "Of course not, this is clearly Modi's...

    • 3 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    Biting My Tongue

    I was born into Hindi, and brought up in it. It was the language of my parents and siblings, my cousins and friends, all our neighbours in the Dalit ghetto in the small town in Bihar where I spent my childhood. It is still the only language I use with them. I studied for ten years in a Hindi-medium school that followed the curriculum of the Bihar state board. After a two-year intermediate course in Patna, I moved to a journalism...

    • 3 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    Surviving Fani

    On 3 May this year, Cyclone Fani hit 14 districts of Odisha. Fani was the second-worst cyclone to hit the region in twenty years with the wind speed reaching around 200 kilometres per hour, and most severely affected the state's Puri district. That day, the prime minister Narendra Modi announced that the central government had released Rs 1,000 crore in advance for states affected by the cyclone. The central and Odisha...

    • 4 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    The Tempest

    {ONE} YOU HAVE TO BE A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON to celebrate a business milestone at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. But considering that Radhika and Prannoy Roy launched their 24-hour news channel, more than 15 years ago, at the prime minister's official residence, it seemed apt that, in 2013, the programme to mark the twenty-fifth year of its parent company, New Delhi Television Private Limited, was held at the president's. The...

    • 4 weeks ago
  • The Caravan

    The End of Nature

    FIVE YEARS AGO, there was some speculation as to whether Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, was a climate-change sceptic. He had made a remark that indicated he was unconvinced about the phenomenon. "Climate has not changed," he said, in September 2014, during a televised address to a group of schoolchildren. "We have changed. Our habits have changed. Our habits have got spoiled. Due to that, we have...

    • 2 months ago
  • The Caravan

    Unhealthy Obsession

    In late April, the United States Trade Representative-the agency responsible for recommending trade policy to the US president-released its annual report, called "Special 301." The report analyses trade policies of countries across the world, especially their intellectual-property laws, and categorises them. India has been put on what the report calls a "priority watch list," which includes countries...

    • 2 months ago

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