When 11-year-old Mitali Padhi hugged her childhood friends to say goodbye, she felt a deep-seated foreboding.
Branded as being born ‘criminal’ 150 years ago under British colonial rule, De-Notified Tribes (DNTs) continue to bear the brunt of the various laws that stigmatised them since 1871.
Madhuri Roy left the famous Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam. She had sought the goddess’s blessings for the safe delivery of her youngest daughter's baby, which was due in a few weeks. Shanty shops lined the temple outside and Roy’s eyes fell on a stack of black rice packets. All through her daughter’s pregnancy she had craved her childhood favourite black rice pudding. But during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown Roy could not procure it even though Meghalaya, her Himalayan home state, grew it.
Malleshwar Rao, 27, spent his early years as a child labourer in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Soon after finishing school at a local ashram, where the children of poor parents, sex workers and orphans studied, the 9-year-old would rush to a local construction site to join his parents who would be toiling in the harsh tropical sun to construct buildings as daily wage earners. The supervisor would assign Rao simpler tasks and his extra income would help his parents feed him and his younger brother.
Kajol Miah is a rice farmer from the Bangladesh side of the Meghna River Basin. And in towns on the Indian side of the river basin, Bangladeshi rice is in great demand.
Twelve-year-old Babloo’s (Name changed) parents, who worked as daily wage agricultural labourers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, were finding it difficult to feed their family of six. They had recently lost their eldest son to sudden illness, when a distant relative convinced them to send Babloo with him to work in a city. He promised to pay Rs 5000 ($70) a month, a significant amount for the impoverished family.
On Sunday morning, Feb. 7, as most of the working-class in India’s Himalayan State of Uttarakhand went about their chores, the glacier-fed Rishi Ganga river started rising. Two hours later, swollen with rock debris and snowmelt, its waters rose 53 feet — the height equivalent of a five-storey building.
“This road is my home now and it will decide my future,” Sukhvinder Singh, a 27-year old farmer from the Moga district of Punjab, tells IPS. Last November, weeks after the government of India passed three farm bills he felt were anti-farmer, Singh travelled to Singhu, a village near Delhi, to demand the laws be repealed. Since then, he has been living in a tent he shares with five other fellow farmer-protesters.
As India continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing number of deaths, farmers here have been fighting a battle of their own against volatile pricing, uncertain demand and lack of access to the market. But in the midst of all this uncertainty, one farming couple in a village near Hyderabad are working towards a food-secure future for themselves using eco-friendly farming techniques.
One day, while the rest of his family were out at work, Kamlesh Pravasi from Jigarsandih village in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh was “abducted when I returned home one day from school, by a contractor’s goons,” he told IPS. The then 12-year-old Pravasi, who was in the sixth grade, was forced to work in bonded labour in a brick kiln because his father could not repay a Rs 5,000 ($68) loan he had taken out from the contractor in order to pay for medical treatment for Pravasi’s sick brother.
One of the worst fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the closure of industries in India, which caused thousands of migrant labourers to return home to villages in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. In a region where the poorest have always been subjected to bonded labour, child labour and slave trafficking, it has meant revisiting the past.
The National Education Policy 2020
(NEP) lays out a compelling, ambitious agenda for education reform in India. Yet, as others have noted, without concerted action the NEP’s promise will remain unfulfilled.
Digital technologies in agriculture are helping address the twin problems of food security and supply chain disruptions triggered by COVID-19 in India, while augmenting the income of smallholder farmers.
Leveraging technology to match supply and demand of resources and food is key to overcoming the issues of starvation and food supply interruptions, Anshul Sushil, CEO and co-founder at Wizikey, a software that allows businesses to reach media directly, eliminating the middlemen, tells IPS.
High up at an altitude of between 1,500 to 4,000 feet in India’s eastern Odisha state, live the Bonda people — one of this country’s most ancient tribes, who have barely altered their lifestyle in over a thousand years.
Jayashree Parwar has not traveled much outside of her village of Bicholim in the western coastal Indian state of Goa. But the homemaker-turned-social-entrepreneur has been reaching women in dozens of cities across the country with a hygiene product she makes at home along with women from her community.
(friend in Hindi), the plastic-free sanitary pad is Goa’s first menstrual hygiene product made with organic materials.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new layer of challenges to inclusive education. As many as 40 percent of low and lower-middle income countries having not supported disadvantaged learners during temporary school shutdowns, finds United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report
released today, Jun. 23.
Amid the social distancing measures posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, coastal communities in Bangladesh and India face a double threat as the record-breaking Cyclone Amphan made landfall yesterday (May 20).
As the sun sets over the hills, Prafulla Debbarma, a small tea grower in Dhanbilash village in north eastern India, walks along the labyrinth path of his farm and past a thick blanket of well-grown tea plants. In the fading light, the farmer appears deeply worried. This tea farm, the sole source of his livelihood, remains unharvested thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Heartbreaking images of Indian farmers standing amidst swathes of rotting vegetables, fruits and grain have been flooding newspapers and TV screens lately. Crashing prices and transport bottlenecks due to the 40-day coronavirus lockdown in India, on till May 3, have driven some to set their unsold produce ablaze.
Arti Zodpe is from the Tamasha (folk dance-drama) theatre in Sangli, in India’s Maharashtra state. After evening performances, some of the singers and dancers offer sex work services to the audience.
Warming himself with a kangri
(a firepot) kept under his pheran
(a long winter cloak worn by Kashmiris), 66-year-old Mohammad Subhan Dar sat chatting with a bunch of his fellow villagers on a January afternoon on the edge of the road overlooking Wular Lake in Saderkote-Bandipora, northern India.