A recent work trip took me to the north-east of Bihar, the poorest region of a state with ‘critical’ poverty incidence by any measure. For instance, within the state, on NSS 2004-05 data, West Champaran is the worst-performing district on headcount ratios (76.9) in rural India (Chaudhuri and Gupta, Economic and Political Weekly, 2009). Such destitution was on ample evidence amongst the segregated group of mahadalit and minority women members of a self-help group we spoke to, in a tola with no electricity and only candles to dispel an eerie fog settled over the village at dusk. Of 13 of them, 11 had repeat experience (up to three times per woman) of losing a child in the last trimester of pregnancy, just after giving birth or of a child under 5 years of age. It was from Champaran that Gandhi first led landless labour and tenants or ryots, in his first satyagraha against the British, protesting the coerced cultivation of the cash crop, indigo. Almost a century later, not much has changed in tangible terms for the population of this part of the democratic Republic of India. Continue reading “Welcome to the Land of Enlightenment”: Kaveri Gill→
This petition is being circulated by a coalition of concerned citizens, local and international academics and scholars
The historical collections at two major archives in Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscripts Library (APGOML) and the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and Research Institute (APSARI), are under threat in the bifurcation of Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh. The institutions’ collections are slated for division between the two new states. These collections have long suffered from neglect, and now face the likelihood of irreparable damage from arbitrary division, handling, and transfer.
Local and international scholars and activists have organized a petition to preserve these historical documents. Our primary concern is for the integrity of the collections and we seek to avoid entanglement in the Telangana/Andhra debates. The petition is aimed, in part, at demonstrating that there is a concerned audience of international scholars and interested parties who care about and use these collections. This wider expression of concern will help support the efforts of local citizens who plan to submit the petition to the Governor before the end of the month.
As a collector of Indian antiquities wanting to set up an antiquities dealership in the future, I had heard of the wholesale illegal export of Indian art treasures and antiquities out of India- sometimes through newspaper reports, but mostly through word of mouth. This summer I decided to explore this market further. Nothing could really have prepared me for what I was to see over the course of the next month spent between Delhi and Rajasthan.
Contrary to my imagination of the Delhi businesses operating in a very shady and dubious manner out of musty, hidden godowns in obscure corners of Old Delhi, and run by people with barely any idea of what they were handling, what I found instead was that almost all these businesses were located in localities which epitomize mainstream “cosmopolitan Delhi” and run by extremely wealthy upper middle class families. Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Green Park, Sunder Nagar- these were just some of the places where I was able to locate an open sale of antiquities- happening not through dodgy godowns or via clandestine networks- but instead conducted out of posh showrooms and sold openly to anyone who cared to buy.
भारत के दो महानगरों राष्ट्रिय राजधानी दिल्ली और बम्बई को यूनेस्को द्वारा विश्व धरोहर की सूची में नामांकित करने की तैयारियां चल रही हैं, कुछ मित्रों ने दिल्ली या बम्बई की बहस शुरू कर दी है जो वास्तव में पूर्णत: अनर्गल बात है.
में दिल्ली बनाम बम्बई के पचड़े में पड़ने के बजाये ये सवाल पूछना चाहता हूँ के ऐसा क्यों है के 65,436,552की कुल आबादी और 6,74,800 वर्ग किलोमीटर के कुल क्षेत्रफल वाले फ्रांस में 35 स्थान, नगर, इमारतें प्राकृतिक स्थल आदि ऐसे हैं जो विश्व धरोहर की सूची में शामिल किये गए हैं मगर इस सूची में भारत का नाम केवल 29 बार ही आता है.
जो सवाल पूछना ज़रूरी है वो यह के सिर्फ दिल्ली या/और बम्बई ही क्यों? जोधपुर, जयपुर, अजमेर, इंदौर, उज्जैन, भोपाल, बनारस, इलाहबाद, लखनऊ, पटना, वैशाली, हैदराबाद, विदिशा कालिंजर, मदुरै, कांचीपुरम कलकत्ता और मद्रास क्यों नहीं ?, आप ने नोट किया होगा के बम्बई कलकत्ता और मद्रास के नए नाम में इस्तेमाल नहीं कर रहा हूँ और दिल्ली को भी देहली नहीं लिखा है. यह जान बूझ कर किया जा रहा है दरअसल विरासत कहीं अतीत में जड़ हो गयी कोई चीज़ नहीं है और इसलिए नाम बदलने की समस्त परियोजनाएं विरासत से छेड़ छाड करने की निन्दनीय प्रवर्ति का ही हिस्सा हैं. Continue reading दिल्ली बनाम बम्बई→