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Nothing British about the Brits

Nigel Farage’s ‘Independence Day statement’ post the Brexit vote rests on the assumption that there exists a unique ‘British’ culture that needs guarding from immigrant populations. To shatter that myth we only need look at what Britain eats…     Vidya Venkat   If people are what they eat, then there could be nothing uniquely … Continue reading

A fig leaf for the world’s woes

  [Long version of essay first published in The Hindu’s blog THread] Seventy years after it was founded, the United Nations continues to function on a budget lesser than that of New York City’s. Where is this global organisation headed? Vidya Venkat When I was a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl preparing for my All-India UN Information Test, … Continue reading

A New Year’s resolution from Paris 2015

[A shorter version of this appeared in The Hindu’s op-ed pages on Jan 4, 2016] The lesson from Paris 2015 is this: until world powers don’t stop digging black gold out of the bellies of Iraq, Africa and Saudi Arabia, the convoluted webs of violence, terror and climate change, will continue to keep us trapped … Continue reading

The Hindu – ‘I am Farkhunda’, Kabul woman turns icon against bigotry

Trapped lives

(This is an account of a meeting I had back in 2009 with women trafficked from Bangladesh) Bina* is not sure if she should be happy about the birth of her son. She sits staring at the 15-day-old child wriggling in her arms, leaning against a wall in a dimly lit room of the Government Vigilance … Continue reading

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 920 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the … Continue reading

Discretion, the better part of valour

First published in The Hindu In order not to deter whistle-blowing, past court observations should encourage a debate on the need to remain discreet about the identity of informers in high-profile corruption cases “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell The Supreme Court’s insistence that the … Continue reading

A Valentine’s Day Punishment

(Originally published in the Special LGBTI issue of Pambazuka News)   It was on the day meant to celebrate romantic love worldwide that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced to members of his party that he would sign the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. The Valentine’s Day announcement by the President might have increased his popularity … Continue reading

The other side of otherness – Reflections on fieldwork in Sainsbury’s

A supermarket store in the posh London Borough of Islington might come across as an unlikely choice for a research project in anthropology – a discipline whose historical association with the study of the exotic and the esoteric by (mostly) White, European men in remote places is well-known. But here was I, an Indian student finding my way … Continue reading

Caught in a Weave

Volume 24 – Issue 20 :: Oct. 06-19, 2007 INDIA’S NATIONAL MAGAZINE from the publishers of THE HINDU • Contents LABOUR ISSUES Caught in a weave VIDYA VENKAT Thousands of teenage girls in Tamil Nadu, lured by textile mills with promises of good money, are exploited for labour and return empty-handed. K. ANANTHAN At the … Continue reading

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