I am an independent journalist based in Siliguri in Darjeeling district. I write on politics, culture, media and social justice, among other things. I’m an India Correspondent for Reporters Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders).
I chase stories in India and in neighbouring Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. My bylines have appeared in Scroll.in, Mint Lounge, Forbes India, The HinduHimal Southasian, The Fountain Ink, Yahoo!Originals, Nikkei Asian Review, The New York Times (India Ink blog), The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, World Politics Review, and The Diplomat, among others.
I have previously worked with The Telegraph and The Economic Times.

I was a Reuters Fellow at University of Oxford, 2012-2013, International Journalists’ Programme fellow to Germany in 2010 and Rotary Group Study Exchange fellow to Brazil in 2010.

Mother. Wife. Sister.

Recent Stories

The Telegraph editor, R Rajagopal: Cannot afford to stay neutral

“Earlier it (neutrality) was a cherished value. But not anymore. We cannot afford to stay neutral in the current atmosphere. I personally believe neutrality is not something we should be aspiring for right now.”–Rajagopal “When was the last time you saw such a headline?” R Rajagopal, editor of The Telegraph, asked a hall full of college…

Read more The Telegraph editor, R Rajagopal: Cannot afford to stay neutral

Did Zaira Wasim succumb to religious Fundamentalists and Trolls?

Many years ago, I vaguely remember watching on Doordarshan a TV programme in which the sleuth, alerted by some noises inside a house, rings the doorbell pretending to be a postman. When the lady of the house appears, he slips a hand-written note to her in which he asks her if everything is fine. She…

Read more Did Zaira Wasim succumb to religious Fundamentalists and Trolls?

Silent shades of the tea leaf

The posters show the women smiling, with the picker’s basket behind them. In truth, they are maximally exploited minimally paid by the tea industry. A group of men huddles by the side of the tea bushes in the shade at Dheklapara Tea Estate in the Dooars. Close by in the sun, about 30 or so…

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A replica of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in England could be a lesson in conservation for India

It was a pleasant summer day – bright sun, blue sky, puffy cumulus clouds and an occasional gentle breeze. There was a flurry of activity at the station as the coal-fired locomotive of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway huffed and puffed. Its murky smoke mingled freely with the chai, samosas and sel rotis, amid occasional cries…

Read more A replica of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in England could be a lesson in conservation for India

In Darjeeling, the BJP is silent on Gorkhaland demand – but most Gorkha parties are supporting it

At Pussimbing tea estate in the Darjeeling Hills, any talk of the Lok Sabha election is unwelcome. “Sorry, please don’t ask us anything about politics,” said a man in his twenties. Another asked: “Is there any democracy here? We say something to you today and tomorrow they may come to arrest us.” The immediate provocation…

Read more In Darjeeling, the BJP is silent on Gorkhaland demand – but most Gorkha parties are supporting it

How a 50-year-old Nepali song about cats and dogs spread to India and other parts of the world

When Deepti D’Cunha was on her maiden visit to Sikkim in 2011, she found herself being chased by a song everywhere. The “immensely hummable” tune put her in “a skippy, joyous mood” every time, even though all she could catch was the refrain Resham Firiri, Resham Firiri. “It was such a catchy tune, and it…

Read more How a 50-year-old Nepali song about cats and dogs spread to India and other parts of the world

Featured

Six decades ago, a workers’ uprising changed Darjeeling’s tea gardens. It’s time for change again

On this day in 1955, workers of the Margaret’s Hope tea garden led a revolt against unfair management practices. Things are not very different today. Six decades after the Margaret’s Hope revolt, the workers on Darjeeling’s tea gardens are still as exploited as ever, earning low wages, with shrinking fringe benefits. | Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters…

Read more Six decades ago, a workers’ uprising changed Darjeeling’s tea gardens. It’s time for change again