Projects

“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

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

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

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

Khukuri has historically been the symbol of Gorkha valour and pride. Now, the makers of the machete-like knife with an inwardly-curved blade seek pride for themselves. Ambedkar on the lips, Nepali Dalits of the Indian subcontinent have joined forces to launch their first ever united, cross-border fight against prejudice and to work towards building pride…

Read more ‘They Like Our Music, Not Us’: Nepali Dalits Unite to Fight Prejudice

Nov 2018 issue. A chatter rises in the heavy monsoon air, descending the steep slopes of Makaibari. The fog clears, bit by bit, to reveal a group of tea workers in an animated post-lunch conversation. They pause for a breath or two; their hands don’t. Their nimble fingers keep working on the tender green leaves—two…

Read more Legacy in a tea cup

The courtyard outside Basana Barman’s house is a flurry of activity. A teenaged boy is atop the corrugated roof plucking mango leaves while a group of women huddle together on the verandah preparing offerings for worship. A table fan buzzes in front of a khaki-clad police constable seated at the gate. “It is going to…

Read more Swapna Barman, the first Indian woman to win an Asiad gold in heptathlon, is a star here

The women stood out in the crowd on a September evening. Raj Kumar Gurung and Rajesh Singh spotted the three – one clad in a saree and two others in worn-out jeans and T-shirts – looking “totally lost” next to the pay-and-use toilet in front of Bagdogra International Airport. Gurung picked up a conversation with…

Read more How a few volunteers at Bagdogra airport are helping curb trafficking of Nepalese women