Inside a scrap dealer’s warehouse in an eastern suburb of Mumbai rest the mangled remains of a charter plane that used to be part of liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. According to the man on the extreme left, the plane was brought to the warehouse in chunks a few months ago in several pickup trucks. This, he quips, is what happens “when the rich try to eat with both their hands”0
Eight-year-old Sagar wipes the floor while a devotee prays at one of the many temples in Mumbai’s Banganga Tank complex near Malabar Hill. The son of a municipal worker with the sewage department, Sagar lives in a slum close to the historical tank. Determined to study, he attends a municipal school that provides him a uniform, books and a mid-day meal. On some days, though, at the insistence of the pujari, he finds himself cleaning this temple0
Spotted near Wadala, on the eastern seaboard of Mumbai, two men filling water bottles from a leaky pipeline that runs over an open sewer flanked by fields used by farmers to cultivate livestock fodder. In the background is one of the many factories that pollute not only the ground water but also the air around here. Asked for their names, the man in the vest says, “We are the ones who have no names, no homes, no status and no water in your city”0
The age-old Jain practice of Santhara has been held illegal by a court, raising old questions anew. Does the state own every life under it, or does our right to life also include the right to stop living?
Do we become digital hermits just to bypass the clamour and save our skins? Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. Because identity on the internet is something akin to a ‘blank vote’. You can be sure someone else will appropriate it if you don’t
Indian pilots spared Pakistani civilians in the 1965 war that started after a wily Zulfikar Ali Bhutto instigated General Ayub Khan to send soldiers to create trouble in Kashmir. Fifty years later, the author revisits the war for lessons learnt and tales of bravery