Independent Journalist. National Foundation For India Fellow'22. I report on politics, governance, caste, hate crime, environmental crime, religion, human rights, and minorities.
‘Widow villages’ are emerging across India – here’s why
One by one, the men dropped dead. They had plied their trade in the vast sandstone mines close to their village, breathing in deadly rock dust on a daily basis until they were eventually diagnosed with silicosis, a fatal lung disease.
Over time, the entire male population of Budhpura, located in Rajasthan's Bundi district in western India, passed away as a result of the condition, which can leave sufferers short of breath and feverish. Today, the rural settlement is known as a ‘widow village’...
In Rajasthan’s mining landscape, the rot runs deep
On 19 July, Surendra Singh received a tip-off about illegal mining in Haryana’s Pachgaon village. Bordering eastern Rajasthan, the village falls in the Aravalli region, home to several mines and quarries.
Soon, the 59-year-old deputy superintendent of police, along with his team, was chasing a dumper truck laden with illegally mined stone, The Hindu reported. He managed to catch up with the vehicle. As Singh was walking up to the truck, he was run over by its driver and died on the spot, a po...
In Rajasthan’s battle against illegal sand mining, violence wins
A four-year ban on riverbed sand mining in the state spurred musclemen using coercive tactics to continue excavating. The restrictions have been lifted, but they carry on brazenly.
On a December evening in 2011, Kailash Meena was walking down a deserted street to attend a meeting in a village in Rajasthan’s Sikar district. As he looked at his phone to decline a call from an unknown number, one of the many he had received in the hour prior, he was waylaid by a group of men armed with iron rods...
‘Suicidal thoughts strike every day’: India’s sextortion scourge
Bikaner and Sidhi, India – Shyam, a truck driver in northern India’s city of Prayagraj, had not had sex with his pregnant wife for six months when he saw an advertisement on the Telegram messaging app promising to make his fantasies come true.
Shyam, 44, was impressed by the ad’s formal tone and eagerly followed a link to a pink-themed website, where he was asked to pay a registration fee of 4,000 Indian rupees ($48.28).
Shyam made the payment at his local bank and returned home excitedly to ...
Anand Pal Singh was from a community that occupied the fringes of Rajput culture in Rajasthan. But his life and death recalibrated the community’s dynamics—and swung an election.
The police killed a gangster in Malasar village of Churu district in Rajasthan on the night of 24 June 2017. By this time, Anand Pal Singh, widely known as “AP,” had been a wanted man in five states for over two years.
A crowd gathered in Sanvrad, Anand Pal’s village in central Rajasthan, swelling as news of his deat...
A 109-Year-Old Demand For A Tribal Homeland, Spread Across 4 States In The Heart Of India, Is Being Revived
A century-old demand for a ‘Bhil Pradesh’ is gaining momentum in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra ahead of state assembly elections in 2022 and 2023. Led by local Adivasi faces and organisations and driven by a rising collective tribal identity, the proximate cause this time is a co-option of a tribal commemoration of a colonial massacre by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in July, but the reasons are deeper: a takeover of tribal land and resources in viol...
Police & Govt Ally With Hindu Groups Intimidating, Attacking Christians In MP, 0.29% Of State Population
Christians make up less than 0.3% of Madhya Pradesh’s population, unchanged over 70 years. Yet Hindu extremists, encouraged by the partisan role of police and administration, have amped up intimidation and attacks on schools, homes and churches. Most attacks come from Hindu fundamentalist organisations affiliated with India’s and the state's ruling party, especially encouraged by a 2021 anti-conversion law, misinformation, and hostile social-media campaigns.
Bhopal: Around 6 am on 6 December ...
In Rajasthan, The Viral Video Is Used As A Tool Of Violence Against Dalits
Dozens of Dalits have been attacked on camera by upper castes in Rajasthan over the last few years. The videos that go viral on social media through WhatsApp groups add a new layer to caste violence in a state where police fail to file chargesheets in nearly half of all caste crimes. The videos of these brutal crimes serve to shame Dalit victims into living in fear or relocating, often losing faith in the law.
Jaipur: On the afternoon of 17 February 2020, Amra Ram* and a friend had gone to ge...
Field Notes: 'These Sisterf****** Are Bastards & Thieves'
DEVENDRA PRATAP SINGH SHEKHAWAT
"In Bhil pe likh ke kya karoge, b***c*** saale harami, chor hai," (Why are you writing on these Bhils, these sisterf****** are bloody bastards and thieves.)"
I got versions of this expletive-ridden reaction from three former government employees and one serving official when I went to Udaipur in southern Rajasthan to interview activists and government employees who had worked among the Bhils, India's second-most populous tribal group.
I was reporting on their d...
Rajasthan: Cheating, Paper Leaks in Govt Exams Put Aspirants' Lives at Stake
In the last few years, virtually every major exam conducted by the Rajasthan government has been marred by some controversy, making the youth in the state wait endlessly for government jobs.
Jaipur: “My father wanted me to become a government officer. I tried my best all these years, exhausting all his savings on coaching classes for my competitive exam. But I never knew that the government and luck would go against me,” said 26-year-old Gopal Saraswat.
Saraswat, who appe...
Meena Adivasis say hoisting of saffron flag at Jaipur fort is an attempt at Hinduisation
In July 2021, Hindutva groups hoisted a saffron flag, with a “Jai Shri Ram” inscription, atop the Ambagarh fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The fort houses the temple of Amba Mata, a goddess revered by the Meena community, a Scheduled Tribe in Rajasthan. The Meenas consider the temple to be a sacred place. According to members of the community, the saffron flag was hoisted by members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The community saw the saffron flag as an affront t...
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot announces re-examination of the newly passed child marriage registration bill
In a move that many social activists find regressive and unconstitutional, the Rajasthan assembly recently passed a bill making child marriage registration mandatory in the state. This was strongly opposed by child right activists and social workers. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has decided to re-examine the bill.
Varsha is 16 years old and lives with her parents in a village in Jodhpur district in Rajasthan. There was fear in her voice as she told Gaon Connection that she wo...
राजस्थान सरकार द्वारा बाल विवाह के 'पंजीकरण' के लिए कानून बनाए जाने पर विवाद
राजस्थान सरकार बाल विधवाओं को सामाजिक सुरक्षा देने के लिए बाल विवाह को पंजीकृत कराना चाहती है। हालांकि कई सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं की नजर में यह समाज को फिर से पीछे की ओर ले जाने वाला और असंवैधानिक कदम है। कार्यकर्ता इसे सामाजिक बुराई के लिए 'कानूनी मंजूरी' के रूप में देख रहे हैं।
जयपुर (राजस्थान)। वर्षा की उम्र 16 साल है। वह राजस्थान के जोधपुर जिले के एक गांव में अपने माता-पिता के साथ रहती हैं। जब उसने गांव कनेक्शन को बताया कि जल्द ही उसे अपने पति के साथ ससुराल जाना होगा, तो उसकी आवाज में एक डर ...
From Shuffling CMs to Finding a Scapegoat- the BJP's Attempt at Damage Control
The party has been changing horses mid-stream quite often, especially after facing humiliating defeats in Delhi and West Bengal.
Vijay Rupani. Image Courtesy:PTI
On September 11, around 3 p.m, news of the possible resignation of the sitting Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, broke. He had nearly 15 months left in office. Within the next few minutes, this was confirmed and pictures of him resigning went viral. The news was greeted with varied reactions, and many were in shock because it was ...
The Road Not To Be Taken: Why Sachin Pilot Is Unlikely To Follow Scindia’s Route And Exit Congress
In March this year, when Rahul Gandhi’s trusted lieutenant, Jyotiraditya Scindia, left the Indian National Congress and joined the BJP, news of other members of the ‘Young Turk’ group of the Congress following his footsteps started doing the rounds immediately.
The name which made headlines was that of Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister, Sachin Pilot, whose power tussle with CM Ashok Gehlot has been quite evident for some time now.
With the announcement of new dates for Rajya Sabha elections a...