The business of caste in India

Priyanka P. Narain and Pallavi SIngh Mumbai/New Delhi: Images of adventure reside in their collective memory—journeys into the cobbled streets of Antwerp to compete with powerful Hasidic Jew merchants for grubby stones, which, when polished and cut, would sparkle and dazzle. The journey that transformed the Palanpuri Jains from cloth and perfume traders into moguls […]

Islamic students body on a mission for peace

Pallavi SinghNew Delhi: Hashmatullah Khan says the combination invites scrutiny: students, computers and Islam. In his case, it gets worse. He is general secretary of the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO). No, not the Students Islamic Movement of India, better known as SIMI, and effectively banned for alleged extremist activities. But Khan can’t avoid the connotation. […]

Government’s madrasa reform plan hits theological hurdle

New Delhi: The impasse over a government proposal to modernize madrasas, or traditional Islamic schools, illustrates how a “minority mindset” imposed by the ulema, or clergy, and politicians could draw Muslims deeper into the morass of conservatism, poverty and unemployment. Fostering education: (from left) Shafiqur Rahman, Abdul Khan, Afaque Rahmani and Salim Akhtar Bellali at […]

From Bhopal to London, quest for justice travels in a bottle

Bhopal: It was probably the label that deterred shoppers in London from grabbing a free bottle of water being distributed one summer afternoon this year. B’eau Pal’s water was deceptively clear even though it came from a slum colony hand pump in Atal Ayub Nagar, Bhopal. Its bold red label told the real story, the […]

Kamla Balan bridge: it’s a disaster waiting to happen

Jhanjharpur, Bihar: On an apology of a road leading to this small town in Madhubani district, thick and diverse traffic—from trains to four-wheelers—chugs along on a century-old bridge over the Kamla Balan river. Lifeline: The century-old bridge facilitates the movement of 14 trains and 500 vehicles every day to and from Jhanjharpur. Ashish Gupta / […]

Indian campuses get a foreign flavour

Opportunity brought Tatiana Alejandra Cardona to Phagwara, 335km north of New Delhi. This past summer, during her arduous search for a job, Cardona, who hails from Colombia, stumbled upon an online advertisement for faculty positions at Lovely Professional University (LPU), a private institution. Cardona, who is 23, recalls that “the university appeared very big”, and […]