Vidya Subramanian

Vidya Subramanian was part of Hindustan Times’ nationwide network of correspondents that brings news, analysis and information to its readers. She no longer works with the Hindustan Times.

Articles by Vidya Subramanian

Reflections on surveillance in the middle of a pandemic | Opinion

While it may seem like it’s a worthy trade to sacrifice individual privacy to contain the pandemic, it is decisions taken in the eye of the storm that will ripple outwards, creating situations and precedents for future emergencies
In case of the coronavirus pandemic, finding those who carry the virus and preventing others from coming into contact with them is so far the only effective means of preventing the spread. But here, it is the process of finding that has set off surveillance and privacy alarm bells(REUTERS)
In case of the coronavirus pandemic, finding those who carry the virus and preventing others from coming into contact with them is so far the only effective means of preventing the spread. But here, it is the process of finding that has set off surveillance and privacy alarm bells(REUTERS)
Updated on Apr 04, 2020 04:49 PM IST
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To the stars and beyond: A hundred years of Isaac Asimov

Interstellar travel, sentient robots, and supercomputers... on writer Isaac Asimov’s birth centenary, a look back at his legacy
(HT Illustration: AJAY THAKURI & ANAND SINHA)
(HT Illustration: AJAY THAKURI & ANAND SINHA)
Updated on Jan 04, 2020 07:51 PM IST
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An Isaac Asimov quiz on his birth centenary year

Little-known details about Asimov and his work .
The first three books of science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, won the Hugo Award in 1966.(New York World-Telegram & Sun)
The first three books of science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, won the Hugo Award in 1966.(New York World-Telegram & Sun)
Updated on Jan 03, 2020 01:58 PM IST
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Develop effective policies to regulate tech giants

The crux of the matter is that Facebook — and indeed Google and Twitter and Uber and Amazon — are not merely companies that connect people. They are centres of an advertising marketplace, in which you, the user, is the product being sold to the advertisers
The way forward from here must therefore necessarily be one of regulation of technology giants through forward thinking digital policies that will create safeguards for users of platforms such as Facebook.(REUTERS)
The way forward from here must therefore necessarily be one of regulation of technology giants through forward thinking digital policies that will create safeguards for users of platforms such as Facebook.(REUTERS)
Updated on Feb 07, 2019 12:03 PM IST
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The fate of Hindi at JLF 2018: Can it be made the language of the elites?

A session on Hindi, titled Hindi medium: Language and elitism at the Jaipur Literature Festival, featured some hand-wringing about its status.
The session on Hindi, titled Hindi medium: Language and elitism, was attended by Annie Montaut, Avinash Das, Satyanand Nirupam, Satya Vyas and Vineet Kumar at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
The session on Hindi, titled Hindi medium: Language and elitism, was attended by Annie Montaut, Avinash Das, Satyanand Nirupam, Satya Vyas and Vineet Kumar at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 29, 2018 06:01 PM IST
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Why are Indians fascinated by PG Wodehouse? JLF tries to seek answers in its own way

Shashi Tharoor, Swapan Dasgupta bickered over PG Wodehouse much to the amusement of Philip Norman during a session titled The Wodehouse Effect on the third day of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
From left: Swapan Dasgupta, Shashi Tharoor, Amrita Tripathi and Philip Normal during a session titled The Wodehouse Effect at the Jaipur Literature Festival.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
From left: Swapan Dasgupta, Shashi Tharoor, Amrita Tripathi and Philip Normal during a session titled The Wodehouse Effect at the Jaipur Literature Festival.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 28, 2018 02:16 PM IST
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The new ethics of frugality at JLF 2018: Small, less and slow is the way forward

‘Elite buyout’ and the need to change the paradigm of development featured in a session on the environment, titled In Denial: Betrayals of the Earth, at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Jeffrey Gettleman, Pankaj Sekhsaria and Prerna Singh Bindra in conversation with Amita Baviskar during a session titled In Denial: Betrayals of the Earth at the the Jaipur Literature Festival.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Jeffrey Gettleman, Pankaj Sekhsaria and Prerna Singh Bindra in conversation with Amita Baviskar during a session titled In Denial: Betrayals of the Earth at the the Jaipur Literature Festival.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 27, 2018 03:13 PM IST
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Vishal Bhardwaj: When they strangle us, we will scream. This is the time for screaming

On the second day of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2018, director Vishal Bharadwaj speaks of freedom, films, his father and much more. The session was titled Revolutionary Poets: On Hamlet, Haider and Shakespeare’s Ability to Speak Truth to Power.
More than about politics or Kashmir, Haider was, to Vishal Bhardwaj, about his father. The director said this during a session titled Revolutionary Poets: On Hamlet, Haider and Shakespeare’s Ability to Speak Truth to Power at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
More than about politics or Kashmir, Haider was, to Vishal Bhardwaj, about his father. The director said this during a session titled Revolutionary Poets: On Hamlet, Haider and Shakespeare’s Ability to Speak Truth to Power at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 26, 2018 03:06 PM IST
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Muhammad Yunus at JLF 2018: Poverty in the world is a solvable problem

Nobel laureate Dr Mohammad Yunus believes the prevalent system of capitalism is wrong and needs to be fixed. He was speaking about his new book, A World of Three Zones at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Using bonsai as an explanation for micro credit, Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus said during his session with Mihir Sharma at the Jaipur Literature Festival said, “If you take the seed of the largest tree in the forest, and plant it in a small flower pot, it will not grow to be a big and mighty tree.”(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Using bonsai as an explanation for micro credit, Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus said during his session with Mihir Sharma at the Jaipur Literature Festival said, “If you take the seed of the largest tree in the forest, and plant it in a small flower pot, it will not grow to be a big and mighty tree.”(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 26, 2018 02:06 PM IST
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Is all power an exercise of violence? Jaipur Literature Festival asks tough questions

While the Padmaavat controversy rages, a conversation with Upinder Singh, Maya Jasanoff, Tridip Suhrud, and Patrick French brought up important questions on the state of violence and the violence of the State.
Foreign and Rajasthani folk artists perform during the inauguration of Jaipur Literature Festival 2018 at Diggi Palace in Jaipur on Thursday.(PTI)
Foreign and Rajasthani folk artists perform during the inauguration of Jaipur Literature Festival 2018 at Diggi Palace in Jaipur on Thursday.(PTI)
Updated on Jan 25, 2018 06:48 PM IST
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JLF 2018: Harvard astrophysicist says only 5% of universe is made of atoms that we understand

Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2018, Harvard astrophysicist Lisa Randall explains how dark matter and dinosaurs made human beings possible.
Lisa Randall at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2018 at Diggi Palace in Rajasthan.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Lisa Randall at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2018 at Diggi Palace in Rajasthan.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 25, 2018 02:42 PM IST
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There is no call to justify or glorify the outlawed practice of sati

That a commercial film with no pretensions to accuracy is being held to ransom for not sticking to the “facts” of Rajput mythology is itself a thing that beggars belief; but what is worse is the glorification of the act of jauhar, and by extension of the outlawed practice of sati by politicians
Members of the Rajput community shout slogans as they protest against the release of the film Padmavati(AP)
Members of the Rajput community shout slogans as they protest against the release of the film Padmavati(AP)
Updated on Nov 21, 2017 04:09 PM IST
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Padmavati controversy: Thugs and vandals cannot decide what we should or should not watch

By capitulating to these violent groups time and again, filmmakers such as Bhansali legitimise this illegal manner of expressing discontent, and encourage these violent thugs to do this again and again. Even if they’re only doing this to get a free pre-release screening; letting them get away with this will only ensure that it happens again.
Fringe groups hitched to some conservative Hindu bandwagon have threatened to kill Bhansali and maim Deepika Padukone (who plays Padmavati) if the film is released without their approval.(IANS)
Fringe groups hitched to some conservative Hindu bandwagon have threatened to kill Bhansali and maim Deepika Padukone (who plays Padmavati) if the film is released without their approval.(IANS)
Updated on Nov 16, 2017 04:24 PM IST
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Women deserve better than prison treatment in universities like BHU

This restrictive atmosphere in universities won’t help build an enlightened and forward thinking next generation. It will only lead to a society of unthinking rule-followers who will not question authority and challenge the status quo
Students of the Banaras Hindu University protest against the molestation of a student inside the campus(PTI)
Students of the Banaras Hindu University protest against the molestation of a student inside the campus(PTI)
Updated on Oct 03, 2017 12:03 PM IST
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Chandigarh boy’s Google story is an indictment of India’s education system

How did a teenager convince his school, and a state government that he had got a job at one of the foremost technology companies in the world?
What is it about certain companies, in certain parts of the world that makes us go into raptures? Would the school, the principal, and indeed the government have reacted like this had this boy been hired by some Indian company?(REUTERS)
What is it about certain companies, in certain parts of the world that makes us go into raptures? Would the school, the principal, and indeed the government have reacted like this had this boy been hired by some Indian company?(REUTERS)
Updated on Aug 03, 2017 10:45 PM IST
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Indian cinema does not need Pahlaj Nihalani or the CBFC

Given the spate of cinema that wilfully accepts the “leave your brains at home” tag, the ‘masala’ filmmakers of India appear to have a really low opinion of the Indian moviegoer. It would seem that Pahlaj Nihalani agrees with this assessment, where audiences must have content filtered for them, so that they don’t leave a movie hall with the ‘wrong’ ideas.
Attempts to stymie art sends the message that new and innovative stories have no place in our cinematic universe.
Attempts to stymie art sends the message that new and innovative stories have no place in our cinematic universe.
Published on Jul 27, 2017 04:49 PM IST
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Just in case anyone’s forgotten, all tennis greats are not men

Not to take anything away from the greatness of Roger Federer; but we do seem to celebrate the achievements of men so much more than those of women.
Martina Navratilova has 18 Grand Slam titles (a tie with her great rival Chris Evert). She also has a total of 56 grand slam titles including her doubles and mixed doubles wins(AFP)
Martina Navratilova has 18 Grand Slam titles (a tie with her great rival Chris Evert). She also has a total of 56 grand slam titles including her doubles and mixed doubles wins(AFP)
Updated on Jul 18, 2017 12:54 PM IST
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Opinion: Ramachandra Guha’s resignation letter proves our cricketing heroes have betrayed us

Ramachandra Guha’s resignation as a member of the Committee of Administrators appointed by the Supreme Court for BCCI has exposed several chinks in the way cricket runs in India. The superhero syndrome has allowed many Indian cricket icons to enjoy conflict of interest and make money
Ramachandra Guha, who has resigned as a member of the Committee of Administrators for BCCI, has levelled conflict of interest charges against Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly, both Indian cricket icons.(AFP/Getty Images)
Ramachandra Guha, who has resigned as a member of the Committee of Administrators for BCCI, has levelled conflict of interest charges against Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly, both Indian cricket icons.(AFP/Getty Images)
Updated on Jun 04, 2017 04:51 PM IST
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Art of Living should not be allowed to get away with damaging the Yamuna

A strong precedent requires to be set in order to send out a message that safeguarding the environment is not a matter of convenience.
Workers disassemble the stage used during the World Culture Festival organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living in New Delhi, April 02, 2016.(Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times)
Workers disassemble the stage used during the World Culture Festival organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living in New Delhi, April 02, 2016.(Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times)
Updated on May 31, 2017 05:32 PM IST
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Amarinder Singh had no business justifying the use of human shield in Kashmir

While trying to support he Indian Army, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh ended up endorsing the use of a man tied to a jeep as a human shield in Kashmir. This statement was not only entirely unnecessary, it was also extremely irresponsible, especially by an elected head of a state government.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ended up endorsing the use of a man tied to a jeep as a human shield in Kashmir.(PTI)
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ended up endorsing the use of a man tied to a jeep as a human shield in Kashmir.(PTI)
Updated on May 16, 2017 10:27 PM IST
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The utter uselessness of banning social media in Kashmir

Banning social media websites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter will not help stem discontent in the valley. By restricting access to these websites, the government is encouraging people to find alternative ways of resistance, while inconveniencing millions of people who aren’t trying to brew discontent.
Kashmiri students browse internet on their mobile phones in Srinagar. By banning social media websites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter, the government is encouraging people to find alternative ways of resistance, while inconveniencing millions of people who aren’t trying to brew discontent.(AP)
Kashmiri students browse internet on their mobile phones in Srinagar. By banning social media websites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter, the government is encouraging people to find alternative ways of resistance, while inconveniencing millions of people who aren’t trying to brew discontent.(AP)
Updated on Apr 27, 2017 07:31 PM IST
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Give the VIPs their golf carts and get them out of the way, please

Instead of fighting with VIPs at airports to not use special privileges, would it be easier to simply move them along quickly in their golf carts, so that they don’t keep getting in our way?
Madhya Pradesh Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visits flood affected villages.(Hindustan Times)
Madhya Pradesh Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visits flood affected villages.(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Apr 27, 2017 10:10 AM IST
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Mumbai’s Humboldt Penguins are victims of Indians’ penchant for being litter bugs

Visitors left behind a trail of litter in the Byculla Zoo’s new Humboldt Penguin enclosure, putting the birds at an increased risk of infection. Is littering a peculiarly Indian problem?
Visitors in the Byculla Zoo looking at Humboldt penguins kept in a 1500 square foot enclosure.(Prashant Waydande / Hindustan Times)
Visitors in the Byculla Zoo looking at Humboldt penguins kept in a 1500 square foot enclosure.(Prashant Waydande / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Apr 20, 2017 02:11 PM IST
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Prasar Bharti doesn’t need an international propaganda channel

The Prasar Bharti’s proposal to set up a digital channel to tell the ‘India Story’ to counter the narratives of what is perceived to be a biased international media is problematic. The largest public broadcasting agency in India would do better to focus on dissemination of information and awareness campaigns on important issues within the country
The Prasar Bharti’s proposal to set up a digital channel to tell the ‘India Story’ to counter the narratives of what is perceived to be a biased international media is problematic. The largest public broadcasting agency in India would do better to focus on dissemination of information and awareness campaigns on important issues within the country.(PTI File Photo)
The Prasar Bharti’s proposal to set up a digital channel to tell the ‘India Story’ to counter the narratives of what is perceived to be a biased international media is problematic. The largest public broadcasting agency in India would do better to focus on dissemination of information and awareness campaigns on important issues within the country.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Apr 10, 2017 05:05 PM IST
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#StopHindiChauvinism: Uniformity is not a prerequisite for unity

The hastag #StopHindiChauvinism has been trending on Twitter ever since the milestones on highways in Tamil Nadu were rewritten in Hindi. But this is not just a South India problem.
The hastag #StopHindiChauvinism has been trending ever since MK Stalin protested the idea of milestones on highways in Tamil Nadu being rewritten in Hindi. But this is not just a South India problem.(PTI)
The hastag #StopHindiChauvinism has been trending ever since MK Stalin protested the idea of milestones on highways in Tamil Nadu being rewritten in Hindi. But this is not just a South India problem.(PTI)
Updated on Apr 04, 2017 05:34 PM IST
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Racist attack on Nigerians in Greater Noida is hardly surprising

The attack on Nigerians in the wake of the tragic death of a teenager in Greater Noida shows how racist Indians can be
Endurance Amarawa, Ibgiya Malu Chukwuma and Precious Amalsima in Greater Noida, UP, March 28. They were attacked by a group of protestors, who were shouting slogans against Africans and demanding that those behind the death of the teenage boy, who died of a suspected drug overdose, be arrested(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT PHOTO)
Endurance Amarawa, Ibgiya Malu Chukwuma and Precious Amalsima in Greater Noida, UP, March 28. They were attacked by a group of protestors, who were shouting slogans against Africans and demanding that those behind the death of the teenage boy, who died of a suspected drug overdose, be arrested(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Mar 28, 2017 03:51 PM IST
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Here’s why Elon Musk’s iconic Tesla might just work in India

As the Indian automobile market continues to grow, Elon Musk and Tesla may be simply making a sound business decision to bring their cutting edge cars to India, without necessarily hoping to achieve the ideals of it. There has also been talk of Tesla setting up a manufacturing plant in India, which might be able to bring down costs a bit more.
Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, poses with a model of the brand during a visit to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 31(EPA)
Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, poses with a model of the brand during a visit to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 31(EPA)
Updated on Feb 16, 2017 02:13 PM IST
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When Bernie Sanders brought a giant printout of a Trump tweet to the US Senate

We’ve known for a while now that Twitter and Facebook are the new ‘on the record’. Confirming news is now about knowing a reliable person has tweeted about it. It is proof in the public domain. So much so that many news stories are simply about Tweets and Facebook posts in response to some event or other.
TV screengrab of Bernie Sanders speaking at the US Senate. Behind him a printout of tweet by Donald Trump(Photo: Gizmodo)
TV screengrab of Bernie Sanders speaking at the US Senate. Behind him a printout of tweet by Donald Trump(Photo: Gizmodo)
Published on Jan 06, 2017 01:34 PM IST
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The surprising friendship between cricket and military technology

Cricket with all its trappings and suits, as it happens, owes much to those who make missiles and radars. Many technologies that help make cricket ‘better’, such as Hawk-eye and Hot Spot, to name just two, owe their origin to research in military technologies.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Feb 16, 2014 01:12 AM IST
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