Projects

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

Sexual harassment at the workplace can assume a myriad chilling and predatory forms. Siliguri-based Independent journalist Anuradha Sharma describes the decade-long stalking and telephonic abuse that she was subjected to by her senior. I have been very closely following the #metoo conversations going on in social media. One hell of a triggering experience it has…

Read more Ladybird Writes

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

One recent day, colourful flags added cheer to the grey, pre-monsoon morning in the West Bengal hill station of Kurseong, 30 km from Darjeeling. With the football World Cup less than a fortnight away, the hills have come alive with the flags of Argentina, Germany and Brazil sticking out of shared cabs, decorating shop fronts…

Read more A year after the Gorkhaland stir, the hills are gripped by a sense of betrayal – and football fever