Samar Halarnkar

Samar Halarnkar

Samar Halarnkar is editor of IndiaSpend, a data-drive nonproft focussed on public-interest journalism. He has written two books and has been a reporter and editor for 25 years. He tweets as @samar11

Articles by Samar Halarnkar
A journalist holds a placard reading "free media" during a demonstration for the World Press Freedom Day in Istanbul, May 3. In Turkey, the constitution has been changed by a wafer thin margin and Recep Erdogan is set to be remake his country in his image, while the jails fill with purged bureaucrats, soldiers, journalists and cartoonists.(AFP)
A journalist holds a placard reading "free media" during a demonstration for the World Press Freedom Day in Istanbul, May 3. In Turkey, the constitution has been changed by a wafer thin margin and Recep Erdogan is set to be remake his country in his image, while the jails fill with purged bureaucrats, soldiers, journalists and cartoonists.(AFP)

Freedom of expression: Despite Trump, it is alive and kicking in the US

UPDATED ON MAY 16, 2017 12:27 AM IST
Among democracies run by populists, the United States is unique in its rule of law, popular defiance and the power of its institutions. Even the paranoia of the Trump era brings no threat of censorship, an enduring fear in India.
Much of what you heard when you were a child may now be myth. For instance, that great Ram temple at Ayodhya: There was once a mosque called the Babri Masjid there.(HT Photo)
Much of what you heard when you were a child may now be myth. For instance, that great Ram temple at Ayodhya: There was once a mosque called the Babri Masjid there.(HT Photo)

‘Recall heritage of love, tolerance’: As new India rises, a father pens open letter to daughter

UPDATED ON APR 06, 2017 08:36 AM IST
As a new India rises, a father urges his daughter to stay true to her country’s fading foundations
Hussain Haidry’s poem, Hindustani Musalman, echoes the sentiments of an average Indian Muslim whose identity is not restricted by the fact that he/she is born in a Muslim family.
Hussain Haidry’s poem, Hindustani Musalman, echoes the sentiments of an average Indian Muslim whose identity is not restricted by the fact that he/she is born in a Muslim family.

There’s a market for shared experiences, as Hussain Haidry shows

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2017 10:38 PM IST
The almost euphoric adulation that Hussain Haidry attracts is a reflection that, as easily as hatred and separation are expressed these days, so too are common bonds and the feeling of being in it together
Diarrhoea, measles, respiratory infections and malnutrition continue to kill Indian children by the thousands. Although India has steadily improved its infant-mortality rate (a 53% drop over a quarter century), a million babies die every year at a rate higher than the average of 154 low- and middle-income countries. (Representative Photo)(Mujeeb Faruqui/ HT)
Diarrhoea, measles, respiratory infections and malnutrition continue to kill Indian children by the thousands. Although India has steadily improved its infant-mortality rate (a 53% drop over a quarter century), a million babies die every year at a rate higher than the average of 154 low- and middle-income countries. (Representative Photo)(Mujeeb Faruqui/ HT)

By banning NGOs from foreign funds, the govt is crippling its own services, laws

UPDATED ON FEB 07, 2017 05:15 PM IST
What’s at stake when NGOs are banned from foreign funds to implement India’s public services, laws? A doctor’s story
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy CM Manish Sisodia with social activist Anna Hazare at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.(PTI)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy CM Manish Sisodia with social activist Anna Hazare at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.(PTI)

Who cares about the facts? How transient rage is driving India’s politics

UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2016 01:40 PM IST
Pakistan or black money, smartphone-driven anger is shaping India’s politics, prompting swift, visible action
(Left to Right) BJP MLA Sangeet Som addressing the crowd at Bisada with DM NP Singh, Union minister and Gautam Buddha Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma and SSP Dharmendra Singh.
(Left to Right) BJP MLA Sangeet Som addressing the crowd at Bisada with DM NP Singh, Union minister and Gautam Buddha Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma and SSP Dharmendra Singh.

Hindu republic: India is being recreated into a majoritarian state

UPDATED ON OCT 21, 2016 08:12 AM IST
The justice system is undermined. Minorities are shown their place. India moves inexorably towards a Hindu republic
HT Image
HT Image

Mind your languages

PUBLISHED ON SEP 29, 2016 08:16 AM IST
The two-language formula is manifest in a host of new metro systems across Indian cities and is a metaphor for the exclusion of minorities from other government-run services.(PTI)
The two-language formula is manifest in a host of new metro systems across Indian cities and is a metaphor for the exclusion of minorities from other government-run services.(PTI)

As Indian cities grow more diverse, public services shun inclusiveness

UPDATED ON SEP 28, 2016 09:08 PM IST
Vast migration should encourage Indian cities to be more multilingual and overall more inclusive. Instead, the opposite is happening. It is ironic that as our cities grow more diverse, public services are becoming linguistically less diverse than ever
HT Image
HT Image

Hate and hope in Kashmir

PUBLISHED ON AUG 25, 2016 12:36 PM IST
A Kashmiri protester throws a tear smoke shell on government forces in Srinagar.(AP Photo)
A Kashmiri protester throws a tear smoke shell on government forces in Srinagar.(AP Photo)

Can Modi discard policy that has brutalised Kashmir?

UPDATED ON AUG 25, 2016 05:17 PM IST
The brutalising of Kashmir’s people is also reflected in a brutalisation of the security forces, a particularly disquieting development in a conflict where men in arms now largely represent the Indian State
The Kashmiris may not have had to live — and die — through the latest round of blood-letting, if they were treated with dignity, their demands addressed with some seriousness and at least some promises kept.(AP)
The Kashmiris may not have had to live — and die — through the latest round of blood-letting, if they were treated with dignity, their demands addressed with some seriousness and at least some promises kept.(AP)

Kashmir unrest: More autonomy for states is the only answer

UPDATED ON JUL 27, 2016 09:12 PM IST
To address Kashmir’s fury — and unrest elsewhere — India would do well to embrace more azaadi from New Delhi.
HT Image
HT Image
Female representation in politics continues to lag the emerging world. Women have indeed pushed their way into the police, the private sector, engineering, the space programme and the defence services — last week, India’s first three female fighter pilots (above) were cleared to fly — but progress is slow.(AP Photo)
Female representation in politics continues to lag the emerging world. Women have indeed pushed their way into the police, the private sector, engineering, the space programme and the defence services — last week, India’s first three female fighter pilots (above) were cleared to fly — but progress is slow.(AP Photo)

India needs women to stand firm and know that they are right

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2016 07:50 AM IST
The latest diktat against women shows education isn’t enough. Indian women must break the rules — and know they are right
HT Image
HT Image
An Israeli demonstrator stands in front of a section of the Israeli barrier during a Land Day protest by Palestinian and Israeli activists, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem .(Ammar Awad / Reuters file photo)
An Israeli demonstrator stands in front of a section of the Israeli barrier during a Land Day protest by Palestinian and Israeli activists, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem .(Ammar Awad / Reuters file photo)

What India can learn from Masada

UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2016 09:34 PM IST
A new national narrative is unfolding in India, but the Israeli experience warns us why ideas rooted in exclusion tend to fail
To equate the security forces with disaffected young men only questions the training and competency of soldiers, demeans India’s democracy and confirms to Kashmiris that India wants their land, not them.(PTI Photo)
To equate the security forces with disaffected young men only questions the training and competency of soldiers, demeans India’s democracy and confirms to Kashmiris that India wants their land, not them.(PTI Photo)

Unrest in Kashmir: Threat to the idea of India

UPDATED ON APR 21, 2016 06:51 PM IST
Many Kashmiris may not want to be Indian, but denying them rights that are due to all Indians only increases their alienation
The Babri demolition: When popular governments legitimise hate, it is a matter of time before the majority follows suit.(HT file photo)
The Babri demolition: When popular governments legitimise hate, it is a matter of time before the majority follows suit.(HT file photo)

The lunatic fringe is now the Hindutva mainstream

UPDATED ON MAR 22, 2016 09:12 AM IST
The empowerment of popular hate began after the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. Instead of taking a stand, the Congress often pandered to emerging prejudice
India works for the top 40% of its people, not for the bottom 60%.(REUTERS)
India works for the top 40% of its people, not for the bottom 60%.(REUTERS)

India’s progress is crippled by Indians holding back Indians

PUBLISHED ON FEB 01, 2016 01:11 AM IST
Protect the strong, persecute the weak. The RBI governor reminds us that India’s progress is crippled by Indians holding back Indians.
About eight of each 10 households in Bundelkhand were eating rotis with spices and salt. Up to 17% of all households had replaced regular meals with rotis made of grass, according to a survey conducted by Swaraj Abhiyan, an NGO.(HT Photo)
About eight of each 10 households in Bundelkhand were eating rotis with spices and salt. Up to 17% of all households had replaced regular meals with rotis made of grass, according to a survey conducted by Swaraj Abhiyan, an NGO.(HT Photo)

Nearly half of India’s districts drought-hit as crisis accelerates

Samar Halarnkar | By Samar Halarnkar
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2015 12:21 PM IST
Half the country is drought-hit and the poorest areas edge towards famine. But it would seem India is otherwise engaged.
Women of the Bishnoi community at a festival near Jodhpur. The strengthening of regressive attitudes is occurring at a time when women are desperate to work.(PTI/ REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
Women of the Bishnoi community at a festival near Jodhpur. The strengthening of regressive attitudes is occurring at a time when women are desperate to work.(PTI/ REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Big city or village, India is waging a war against women

Hindustan Times | By Samar Halarnkar
UPDATED ON SEP 23, 2015 08:48 PM IST
Educated women, despite the restrictions on them, flood India’s workplaces, only to eventually find that whatever else they may desire or achieve, they must ensure ‘there are hot chapatis on the table’.
Traffic-jam
Traffic-jam

On India’s roads, there's a scary surge of rage

Hindustan Times | By Samar Halarnkar
UPDATED ON APR 16, 2017 05:03 PM IST
Congestion, stress and indiscipline push Indians to argue, fight, even kill, each other on the roads. Are we like this only? Writes Samar Halarnkar.

Make-or-break century: India must choose right options

None | By Samar Halarnkar
UPDATED ON JUL 23, 2015 01:57 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters are fond of saying that the last 60 years of Congress rule has been disastrous for India. They are right about the time period. Except for the eight years of Janata and BJP rule, the Congress has held sway since the first post-Constitution general election in 1951.
Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-joined-nearly-37-000-fellow-participants-at-Rajpath-on-Sunday-to-mark-the-International-Day-of-Yoga-Ajay-Aggarwal-HT-Photo
Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-joined-nearly-37-000-fellow-participants-at-Rajpath-on-Sunday-to-mark-the-International-Day-of-Yoga-Ajay-Aggarwal-HT-Photo

Just posturing: Yoga blitz won't solve India's health crisis

Hindustan Times | By Samar Halarnkar
UPDATED ON AUG 12, 2015 12:04 AM IST
It’s hard to oppose the yoga blitzkrieg, but we need to focus at least half as much attention on a quietly worsening national crisis
A-file-photo-of-the-Marine-Drive-in-Mumbai-HT-photo
A-file-photo-of-the-Marine-Drive-in-Mumbai-HT-photo

Desperate for 'timepass', Indians seeking the great outdoors

UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2015 08:52 AM IST
Desperate for ‘timepass’, Indians have overwhelmingly limited leisure spaces, most created before Independence.
The-order-to-cancel-the-registration-of-such-organisations-came-days-before-the-Centre-s-effort-to-tighten-the-grip-on-prominent-NGOs-that-receive-foreign-funds-like-Greenpeace-India-and-the-Ford-Foundation-Shankar-Mourya-HT-Photo
The-order-to-cancel-the-registration-of-such-organisations-came-days-before-the-Centre-s-effort-to-tighten-the-grip-on-prominent-NGOs-that-receive-foreign-funds-like-Greenpeace-India-and-the-Ford-Foundation-Shankar-Mourya-HT-Photo

Govt's indiscriminate crackdown on NGOs will affect the 'marginalised'

UPDATED ON APR 27, 2015 01:03 AM IST
An indiscriminate crackdown on NGOs will affect those on India’s margins like children, the poor and disabled
HT Image
HT Image

Concerns of India's underclass could drive country's political narrative

By Samar Halarnkar, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2015 08:38 AM IST
Since India’s growth rate shot past China’s, it is easy for the Twitter-happy, mall-roaming, ever-aspirational urban Indian to believe that reports of cows on the roads are a western conspiracy and poverty may soon be a thing of the past. It would be even harder, for this proud person, to believe that there are Indians without a radio or bicycle, let alone a television or scooter.

What a movie, cabbie, saint, viral post tell about faith in India

UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2015 12:13 PM IST
A new film tries to exploit street bigotry, but it will be hard for bigots to pull apart fraying but still strong bonds among communities, writes Samar Halarnkar.

Let's be adults, let's talk about tackling porn

Indiaspend.com | By Samar Halarnkar, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 11, 2014 12:17 PM IST
There are three questions around banning porn: How do you define porn? Is porn responsible for violence against women? Can you really stop the flow of porn? Asks Samar Halarnkar.

Impatience creeps in, aspiring India stressed and dissatisfied

UPDATED ON OCT 30, 2014 10:52 AM IST
A feeling of impatience appears to be spreading among Indians; perhaps, emerging in the form of ever-rising political expectations, writes Samar Halarnkar.
Flood-affected-Kashmiri-residents-ride-on-an-Indian-Army-raft-in-Srinagar-AFP-Photo
Flood-affected-Kashmiri-residents-ride-on-an-Indian-Army-raft-in-Srinagar-AFP-Photo

Moment of truth: Floods expose the great divide in J-K

UPDATED ON SEP 18, 2014 12:10 PM IST
Natural calamities are times of great truth, of togetherness, of closing ranks, of forgetting hatred and bitterness. Unfortunately, the J-K floods initially appeared to be enhancing the bitterness between Kashmiris and other Indians, writes Samar Halarnkar.
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