On the evening of Feb. 20 at around 8:40 p.m., while the graduate student Kanhaiya Kumar was locked up in Tihar Jail on sedition charges, his profile picture on Facebook was changed. The new photo, which showed a group of soldiers levering a flag-pole into a wasted hilltop, looked familiar except for one detail. In place of the Stars and Stripes flapping in the wind in Joe Rosenthal’s original 1945 shot of Iwo Jima, an Indian flag was flying full and proud.
It is likely that Mr. Kumar’s account was hacked, and that his picture was replaced to signal that subversive thinking will always be surmounted by nationalists, like that hilltop by the valiant warriors.… Seguir leyendo »
The green benches of the lower house of India’s Parliament were mostly empty on the afternoon of Dec. 18. It was late in the winter session. An earnest but unhurried debate was taking place between Nishikant Dubey, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, and Shashi Tharoor, a writer, former diplomat and opposition M.P., who was introducing a bill.
It wasn’t until the vote was called, and a sudden clamor filled the hall, that the significance of the law became apparent: It proposed to decriminalize gay sex. Dozing M.P.s jumped to their feet and barked across the room. One voice was heard jeering, “Tharoor only needs this bill for himself!”
The final tally was 24 votes in favor and 71 votes against, and the bill was sent back to Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
The first time I ever saw my grandfather’s name written out was in a leather-bound register of a thousand pages. Each page was busy with names, and it took me a while to find his: misspelled, in diminutive type, buried deep in the thick, creamy leaves. It was late spring, and I was seated inside a shed at the Delhi War Cemetery, reading with my chin tilted up so the sweat dropped away from the paper: I couldn’t risk blotting out the memory of a war hero.
Outside, the sun blazed off the marble gravestones of about a thousand men who died for the British Empire in World War II.… Seguir leyendo »
The gray hill of Bhalswa, in the north of the city, is first visible from the elevated platform of the final Metro station on the northern line. From that distance it looks like a natural feature, a sort of gloomy mesa with black kites wheeling above it. Only when you get closer does it resolve into a hill of trash: compressed and decayed into crud at the base, but higher up, streaming with gray ribbons of polythene and pixelated with bright packaging.
Looked at one way, it is a vision of the future: the endgame for India’s consumption economy, which is producing waste at a rate we are nowhere near equipped to handle.… Seguir leyendo »