Apart from the long shadows that the Haryana police biryani raids cast on Eid festivities, the even more permanent damage they inflicted was on the livelihoods of thousands of poor Muslims
The Kandhamal communal violence should not be forgotten because for many of its victims justice has been denied
The Dalit anger in Gujarat and elsewhere is against the traditions that have weighed down the community over centuries
The fury and indignation of upper caste organisations that members of their caste could even be invited to apply for the post of a sanitation worker is instructive about how entrenched the idea of caste remains in India.
The recent ruling of the special SIT court in the massacre of 64 people in the Gulberg Society in Ahemdabad in 2002 illustrates the limits of the possibilities of full justice in the context of persisting institutional bias
The judicial panel on the Muzaffarnagar riots frees the politicians from any culpability and legitimises the communal version about the violence
The recent protests in university campuses were
not only a battle for freedom of speech but also a demand for acceptance of disadvantaged students
Stigma and law must apply equally to those who participate in terror crimes and to those who target people for their religious or caste identity
A harrowing story of unspeakable injustice which stole Mohammad Aamir Khan’s youth is also one of endurance, love and hope
Razing the Babri mosque was an assault on the secular promise of the Constitution — the pledge that none are children of a lesser god
The Indian Medical Association needs to introspect on the state of private medical services in an unequal market-led India writes Harsh Mander
In the harsh winds of tight-fisted governments and prejudiced state administrations, safety for poor children will remain a distant mirage
Campaigns against cow slaughter that we witness in different parts of India are not about love for the cow, but hate for fellow Indians writes Harsh Mander.
Public dissent and debate, including a defence of the secular, continue to be robustly expressed in India today.
The Socio-Economic Caste Census shows that without a real social safety net, rural India is becoming a wasteland of distress and despair.
The NDA, by its casual indifference to laws and court rulings, is threatening to dismantle the National Food Security Act.
The proposed changes in the Juvenile Justice Act snatch from vulnerable people below 18 a chance to reform themselves
Governance moves toward a state which nurtures globalised markets and private investment, and trusts markets to enable people to purchase healthcare, education, nutrition and social security.
In newly independent India, there was a resolve to acknowledge and reverse the country’s history of entrenched inequalities, and to build on its strength of effortless diversity. But this resolve has weakened greatly in recent decades. As India made a new tryst with the market, the number of people relegated to the margins of our society has also grown dramatically, writes Harsh Mander.
The country is both riveted and moved by the extraordinary outpouring of public support, solidarity and goodwill by ordinary people for young IAS officer DK Ravi, found hanging from the ceiling fan in his official apartment.
We often assume that our greatest dangers are from strangers on dark streets or from violent men who might break into our houses. The sad truth is that the highest perils of brutal and persistent violence lurk within the intimate spaces of our homes, from those to whom we are closest. Little illustrates this with more poignancy and immediacy than a recent 12-city study by Helpage India. Its stunning finding is that every second elderly person who its researchers spoke to testified to suffering abuse within their families.
AAP has the historic opportunity not just to rewrite the rules of Indian politics — which it has already done — but also of running a government which is authentically responsible and responsive to its most disadvantaged residents. A government which cares.
Criminalising religious faith carries grave dangers especially in an aggressively majoritarian climate. It can browbeat minorities into fear and submission in the way blasphemy laws have done in Pakistan, writes Harsh Mander.
It was Delhi’s deliberate amnesia and indifference to the lives mangled by that great frenzy of collective hate which paved the way for other massacres in other cities, writes Harsh Mander.
The country is ostensibly in the throes of a great social movement for sanitation. Cleaning India requires dismantling the deadweight of India’s inequalities and the neglect of women and people of disadvantaged castes and religions.
Social hatred has replaced the tradition of shared living in Uttar Pradesh. This will render the next generation much more amenable to communal politics, writes Harsh Mander.
In the three months since Modi’s spectacular triumph, many corners of the country have begun to smoulder in slow fires of orchestrated hate against India’s Muslims and this is mostly unnoticed by the majority, writes Harsh Mander.
Two divergent perspectives compete in new India about the role of the State for social protection of its people. The chasm between these two evaluations is so large that conversations across these except the most caustic have broken down.
The acquittal of the 21 men serving life terms in the 1991 Tsundur massacre once again confirms that for the oppressed, justice is hard to secure, writes Harsh Mander.
The Bodo Territorial Council had appointed surrendered Bodo militants as foresters, and armed them with rifles. The surrendered militants never had been seriously disarmed by the state government.
The dust has settled on India’s most massive, noisy, expensive and bitterly fought election. This was no ordinary election. What was waged was no less than a battle for India’s soul. Harsh Mander writes.
If the hot political winds blow in a direction opposed to our pluralist idea of India, we need to speak out against the politics of hate and injustice.
Sometimes laws if crafted with courage, wisdom and compassion carry the potential to change the destinies of a people. One such law — if we get it right — is the communal violence law, writes Harsh Mander.
It is a worrying trend that those committed to dividing communities for immediate electoral gains can accomplish this so easily. Harsh Mander writes.
Ferdinand van Koolwidj’s death makes one wonder why it took a Dutch man to dream of an India where no child has to sleep hungry, writes Harsh Mander, Director of Centre for Equity Studies.
The continued human suffering and cynical engineering of social ruptures in Muzaffarnagar is another reminder of the imperative for a law to prevent further communal violence.
There is a class bias in awarding the death penalty. It is not a coincidence that the majority of those who faced the gallows in 2012 are poor. Harsh Mander writes.
The fear voiced by sceptics that ordinary Indian people would not rise to the demands of responsible republican citizenship has proved completely unfounded. If democracy thrives in India, it is because of ordinary people who claim and reclaim it in myriad ways, in the hope that maybe one day it will change their lives. Harsh Mander writes.
The Muzaffarnagar countryside in western Uttar Pradesh is reeling under the gravest communal clash the country has witnessed since the 2002 Gujarat carnage as many resolve never to return to the land of their ancestors. Harsh Mander writes.
Forget what sceptics say, there’s no replacement for State investments to ensure that all people have work, food, education and healthcare. Harsh Mander writes.
Thanks to the government’s lopsided policies, even a year after the communal clashes, peace in Assam remains fragile. Harsh Mander writes.
I am convinced about the impossibility of altruistic violence. If we oppose terrorist violence because it obstructs democratic institutions, exactly the same grounds require us to oppose Maoist violence as well. Harsh Mander writes.
After several riots, it is clear that without legal justice communal incidents will continue to recur, destroying the precious legacy of India’s age-old pluralism. Harsh Mander writes.
India can create history by giving its citizens the legal right to food, but for that Parliament needs to clear the air of uncertainty that surrounds the food security bill, writes Harsh Mander.
Justice for criminal acts is critical, but if we learn to temper justice with compassion, the world may become a kinder, fairer, safer place for all. Harsh Mander writes.
The suffering of millions of India's poor-endemic hunger, children in work, old age without rest, low-end casualised uncertain work, the squalor of slums and death because health care is too expensive -causes too little outrage. Harsh Mander writes.
Many believe that the belated execution of Afzal Guru signalled a decisive Indian State. Nothing could be further from the truth. Harsh Mander writes
The Food Security Bill is likely to be passed in the budget session. Unfortunately, the proposed bill is weak, with many disappointing and indefensible deletions, writes Harsh Mander.
The tallest barriers to our capacities for empathy are not for rape victims but the perpetrators. They, too, are worthy of our compassion and understanding. Harsh Mander writes.
It is not by threatening rapists with death that violence against women will end. We need to ensure that gender equality becomes a way of life. Harsh Mander writes.
The most disadvantaged person in Gujarat has two choices — an authoritarian, business-friendly government or one that affirms her dignity and cares about her needs, writes Harsh Mander.
Each general election in India, millions of impoverished women and men patiently join long queues outside polling booths across the land, affirming faith again and again in a state that repeatedly fails them, Harsh Mander writes.
For each election in India, millions of impoverished women and men patiently join long queues outside polling booths across the land, affirming faith again and again in a state which repeatedly fails them. Harsh Mander writes.
India has changed in the dreams young Sahariyas see today. Death by starvation is not an uncommon calamity among the people of the Sahariya tribe of Baran district in eastern Rajasthan. Harsh Mander writes.
The Naroda Patiya ruling shows that secular democracy is never given to any people, it has to be constantly claimed, and reclaimed. Harsh Mander writes.
It is long overdue that the people of this diverse nation affirm that nothing — absolutely nothing — can justify communal violence. Harsh Mander writes.
Even as we celebrate the sullied ‘spirit’ of the Olympic Games, there’s still time to work for the uplift of the Bhopal victims who haven’t got justice yet. Harsh Mander writes.
In the preface to a new anthology of previously unpublished essays by Satyajit Ray, filmmaker Shyam Benegal recalls his first encounter with Pather Panchali, in a matinee show in a south Kolkata cinema.
In the two years left of its tenure, the UPA must return to a just system of governance that offers dignity, justice and hope to the lives ordinary people lead. Harsh Mander writes.
The informal sector assures few social security protections to the elderly poor. A universal pension scheme can no longer be treated as an unreasonable demand. Harsh Mander writes.
The RTE Act won’t dilute the quality of private schools. Instead, it will ensure that children are judged by their intellectual abilities — not caste or economic standing. Harsh Mander writes.
The survivors of targeted massacres seek justice against colossal odds, their faith in democracy not shaken by the suffering they endured. Harsh Mander writes.
Despite what happened in Gujarat 10 years ago, India has rejected the politics of hate. People at every level in the state have fought injustice incessantly. Harsh Mander writes.
Even after 62 years of the creation of our Constitution, India’s urban homeless do not enjoy the rights, dignity and independence that they deserve. Harsh Mander writes.
The Food Bill can bridge India's rich-poor divide. But the middle class, impatient with the welfare State, sees redistributive justice as undeserved charity. Harsh Mander writes.
With states reluctant to run adult feeding programmes, this task is undertaken by religious charities. But few offer wholesome food or treat the poor with dignity. Harsh Mander writes
The paramount argument for a comprehensive right to food law is not economic or political. The imperative is ethical, writes Harsh Mander.
The debate around the poverty line must be rescued from economics. Harsh Mander writes.
The entirely avoidable storm raised by the government’s clumsy and ill-advised attempt to thwart the protest led by Anna Hazare against the government version of the Lokpal Bill contains vital lessons about disagreement and disobedience in public life. Harsh Mander writes.
Deliberate failure of officials to protect minorities from hate crimes must be treated as an offence.
Even by the Planning Commission's absurd calculation, a third of Indians are poor. The figure would be around 74% if more humane thresholds were applied, writes Harsh Mander.
To stem the rage against acquisition of land, the State must bar private firms from buying land from farmers, and also remunerate land losers and farm workers, writes Harsh Mander.
Good governance is as much about creating a compassionate State as it is about checking bribery and malfeasance. Harsh Mander elaborates.
If you walk into any village and ask people who are its poor residents, it is not difficult for them to answer. They will point possibly to a blind widow, an old couple who get by begging for alms or children and men in debt bondage. Harsh Mander writes.
The Constitution promised equality and fraternity to all citizens. But for Muslims in Gujarat, its pledges lie in tatters, writes Harsh Mander.
It is that time of year once again, when icy winds sweep north India. People spend as much time indoors as possible, under blankets and, if they can afford it, in the glow of electric heaters.
In a bid to beautify Delhi, the poor were forced to leave the city. But then it’s the government that is responsible for their sorry plight, writes Harsh Mander.
India has long been simultaneously a country of enormous wealth and desperate poverty. In recent decades, the distance has only grown between those who enjoy living standards comparable to the finest in the world, and the millions left far behind. Harsh Mander writes.
For many, India’s hungry millions don’t exist any more. Hopefully, the Food Security Act will jolt us out of this reverie, says Harsh Mander.
For the preparation of the Commonwealth Games 2010, around Rs 17,400 crore have been spent on Delhi by the government over the past three years, writes Harsh Mander.
Nature isn’t to blame for people dying of cold on the streets of the nation’s capital. Callous human neglect is, says Harsh Mander.
Seven years after the violence of Gujarat, reconciliation still eludes a divided society, examines Harsh Mander.
Like the finest art, Firaaq achingly compels us to look within. It is a film not about violence but about the hate which has colonised so many of our hearts. Harsh Mander writes.
The defining feature of post-riot Gujarat is its frozen compassion, the determined absence of remorse both by the State and among many segments of the people, writes Harsh Mander.
For those who believe that the quality of governance must be measured by what a state does for its disadvantaged citizens, Modi topples from the tall perch where the industry leaders have installed him. Harsh Mander writes.
States must accept responsibility for the crimes of hate and violence perpetrated by non-State organisations, writes Harsh Mander.
In the face of a human tragedy of this scale, it would be unconscionable for the country to simply look the other way, writes Harsh Mander.
The basic principle of every acquisition must be that people who lose their lands, homes and livelihoods to a project must become better off than before the acquisition, writes Harsh Mander.
Another fear is to be on the streets without an ID card. If you cannot show your ID card, you are arrested. And even if you do, they may keep it for ‘further investigation’. Harsh Mander elaborates.Special: Kashmir moves on
The debate about the cycle of violence between the State and its ‘enemies’ is getting louder, writes Harsh Mander.
Many recent films have challenged the false stereotypes about Muslims and several have received enthusiastic audience endorsement, writes Harsh Mander.
It is estimated that at least a third of Delhi’s 14 million people reside in slums and live in deplorable conditions, writes Harsh Mander.
There are few who truly inherited the mantle left by Gandhi. One true inheritor of Gandhi is Baba — courageous, passionate and unable to bear injustice. Harsh Mander examines...
In the name of fighting terror, the Hyderabad Police have targeted the Muslim community and have been torturing its youth, writes Harsh Mander.
Ethnic cleansing has left many without hope or rights. It is time we redeem to them its pledge of a secular democratic constitution, writes Harsh Mander.
Street girls earn to support their families with much less of the reckless joyfulness that street boys craft out of their hard-won freedom, writes Harsh Mander.
Juvenile offenders should be treated with compassion. The law should not be punitive but humane and compassionate, writes Harsh Mander.