There once lived an itinerant elephant called Chanchal. Born in the late sixteenth century in the sultanate of Bijapur, which straddled what is now the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, Chanchal spent her early life in the shadow of her mate, Atash Khan, Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah’s beloved elephant. Atash Khan, however, was promised to the Mughal emperor Akbar as a gift, and, in 1603, the emperor’s...
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Histories that challenge the reductionist popular understanding of Islam in India

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On 21 and 22 February 2017, a two-day seminar on expression of dissent was slated to be conducted at Ramjas College. Umar Khalid—a Jawaharlal Nehru University student who was one of the organisers the university's annual event to mark the death of Mohammed Afzal, and who was arrested on charges of sedition last year—had been invited to speak on the first day. Members of the Akhil Bharatiya...
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A prelude to sedition: The ABVP’s Campaign Against Anti-National Activities at JNU did not occur overnight

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We managed to enter the conference room, at around 2.15 pm, after the police intervened, and escorted the speakers Sanjay Kak and A Bimol Akoijam to the venue. The room was packed with close to 100 people. Just a little after Kak began his speech, we could hear slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” and “Vande Mataram.” We then heard the sound of the windows in the room shatter. Everyone...
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Ramjas Can “No Longer Be Considered a Safe Space”: A Student Recounts the ABVP’s Violent Attack

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02/22/2017 at 12:44. Facebook
Last week, the Scientific Validation and Research on Panchgavya project, coordinated by the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, internally approved 34 proposals for research into panchgavya—a concoction of five products and derivatives from cows including milk, dung, urine, ghee (clarified butter) and curd.

If the proposals receive approval, participating scientists will study the...
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Urine capsules, dung insect repellent: Meet the people behind IIT-Delhi's cow research project

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02/22/2017 at 04:12. Facebook
In late January 2017, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) deferred the re-accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC or NHRCI)—India’s central human rights body. The GANHRI is an international association affiliated to the United Nations that comprises national humans rights institutions (NHRIs) from all parts of the globe. The organisation is...
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Why the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions Has Deferred the Re-accreditation of India’s National Human Rights Commission

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02/21/2017 at 09:17. Facebook
The Caravan is inviting applications for its Editorial Management Internship programme starting April 10. Deadline: 10 March 2017.
For more information, visit: [ Caravanmagazine.in Link ]

Editorial Management Internship Programme

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02/21/2017 at 04:36. Facebook
Sunita Hazra carefully settled into a plastic chair in her house in Barasat, a town 26 kilometres north-east of Kolkata. One of her arms was in a plaster cast, and a few fingertips were blackened with frostbite—they were due to be amputated in a week. A stray cat prowled at the door. Hazra asked her husband, Sudeb, where her medicines were. Then, she recounted the tragic and controversial...
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West Bengal's unlikely love for mountaineering

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02/20/2017 at 04:23. Facebook
The concept of an Indian citizen, as envisioned under the Indian constitution, has been undergoing a subtle transformation for several decades. This shift has been underway since the 1980s, and its culmination in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will likely result in a substantive transformation.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in parliament in July 2016 and is...
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The 2016 Citizenship Amendment Bill Consolidates a Trend Towards a Majoritarian and Exclusionary Concept of Indian Citizenship

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02/19/2017 at 05:26. Facebook
The Austrian photographer Reiner Riedler began photographing holiday destinations in 2004, after returning from a visit to artificial beaches in Berlin and Hamburg, in Germany. Over the course of the next five years, Riedler photographed various artificial holiday destinations—indoor ski resorts in arid Dubai, a recreation of the Niagara Falls in China, Japan’s popular Love Hotels, and theme...
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Fake My Trip: A photographer shoots artificial holiday destinations around the world

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02/18/2017 at 07:42. Facebook
In this volume are thirteen of The Caravan's definitive profiles of pivotal figures, with new insight from the authors on the places their subjects hold in contemporary Indian history. With this collection, The Caravan presents a valuable and far-reaching record of our times—for readers, citizens, and aspiring journalists alike. Click below for an offer on the book and a year's subscription to...
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Combo Offer: The Caravan print subscription + The Caravan Book of Profiles

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To Western modernists, looking to the Orient or Africa for creative inspiration couldn’t have caused any anxiety about borrowing from outside the domain of one’s own heritage. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the European artistic tradition prided itself on being cosmopolitan. Cultural appropriation was considered a very modern trait. It still is.

But modern writers and artists...
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Three scholars on the making of Indian literature

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02/17/2017 at 08:24. Facebook
Two villages in Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh highlight the communal polarisation in the district’s villages. Peda and Nayagaon—dominated by the Muslim and Jat communities respectively—are situated on the outskirts of the district, on opposite sides of the Bijnor-Najibabad road. Communal tension in the villages heightened after September 2016, when a group of Jats from Nayagaon village...
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Communal Polarisation Underscores the Political Landscape of Villages in Bijnor

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In mid February 2017, the district collector of Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh, issued a showcause notice to Radhika Vemula, Rohith Vemula’s mother. The district collector’s notice asked Radhika to prove within two weeks that she belongs to Scheduled Caste community, and stated that if she was unable to do so, the caste certificates issued to her and her children would be cancelled.

In August...
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How caste shaped the experience of Rohith Vemula and other students at the University of Hyderabad

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On 3 January 2017, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) issued an order regarding the death of a couple, Dubeswar and Bubhudi Naik. In July 2015, the Naiks, who belonged to a Scheduled Caste community, were killed in Madaguda forest of Pangalpadar village in Kandhamal district, Odisha, allegedly during an operation targeted at Maoist rebels in the region. The OHRC ruled that the Naiks...
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An Odisha Human-Rights Commission Order on the Death of an Innocent Dalit Couple Shows the State’s Apathy

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Having performed his prayers at the mosque in Padartha village in Uttarakhand shortly after the break of dawn on Monday, Taufiq Ahmad stood outside a roadside tea stall, looking for a ride to Haridwar town, around 18 km away. A semi-skilled labourer who mostly works at construction sites in and around the pilgrim town, the 60-year-old said the first two months after the government’s...
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In the run-up to Uttarakhand polls, shadow of demonetisation hangs over politics in rural Haridwar

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In the area around Mount San Miguel at the outskirts of Cherán, a small town in Mexico’s Michoacán state, hundreds of tree stumps dot the landscape on either side of the road. As we rode together in an old pick-up truck, in May last year, “Panther” told me about the illegal loggers that had terrorised Cherán for years. “Every day, more than a hundred trucks passed this road,” he said, “filled...
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How a small town got rid of drug cartels, police and politicians

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From the archives, Sugata Srinivasaraju on the long road to Jayalalithaa's conviction for corruption.

The long road to Jayalalithaa’s conviction for corruption

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It is impossible to focus on development or governance in isolation from caste fragments. Reporters who choose to do so are not doing what they should be: reporting. Instead, they are imposing liberal beliefs on a reality that does not cater to them. Even in urban settings outside the metropolis, identity, to a large extent, has a huge overlap with occupation. A policy such as demonetisation,...
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Communities Remain Central to this UP Election, Even if the Liberals Would Rather Believe Otherwise

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On February 9, a quiet meeting was underway in North Kashmir’s Nawgam village. As the Valley rang with strike calls to commemorate the death anniversary of Afzal Guru—hanged four years ago for his involvement in the attack on Parliament in 2001 that left nine people and five terrorists dead—about 30 villagers gathered in the house of a member of the Shiv Sena Hindustan. It was a gathering of...
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A new saffron bloom in the Valley: The other Shiv Sena is making its presence felt in Kashmir

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The drab, grey exterior of Kwangbok Supermarket blends easily into its surroundings in Pyongyang. The building does not aspire to resemble a gleaming mall, nor does it need to. For the majority of the city’s three million residents, the sheer experience of shopping at a supermarket is enough of a draw.

In North Korea, most citizens still depend on state-supplied rations, which are known for...
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The deceptive extravagance of a North Korean supermarket

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