Stories written by K. S. Harikrishnan

INDIA: Advancing Economy Reveals a Hungry Underbelly

Even a year after Rani, a three-year-old tribal girl in the backward Wayanad district of southern Kerala state, was treated in a government hospital for gastroenteritis she remains grossly underweight and suffers from frequent bouts of diarrhoea.

INDIA: More Suicides Than Reforms

Five years ago, Pulparambil Varghese began cultivating ginger on 1.37 acres of land he owned in Thrikkeppatta village near Kalpetta town in Wayanad district of the southern Indian state of Kerala. Over the years, he borrowed 300,000 rupees (5,700 dollars) from banks and private financial institutions.

ENVIRONMENT-INDIA: Women Turn Waste Into Wealth

Standing on the shimmering white beach and gazing out at the turquoise blue waters of the Arabian sea, it is hard to believe that a decade ago this international tourist destination was under siege by mounting heaps of garbage.

INDIA: 10 Million Depressed – on the Optimistic Side

While Indian psychiatrists have rejected a World Health Organisation (WHO) study portraying India as the depression capital of the world, they say it has indirectly drawn attention to an acute shortage of trained personnel and facilities to deal with mental illness.

INDIA: Sex Selection on the Rise Despite Stricter Law

When Sujatha’s husband learned that she had conceived just five months after they got married, he became agitated over what he called her "ill-timed pregnancy". To worsen her husband’s anxiety, a test to determine the sex of the foetus showed she was carrying a girl.

Single mother Leela with her daughter. Credit: K.S.Harikrishnan/IPS.

INDIA: Unwed Tribal Mothers Seek Aid

For Janu, walking the streets to beg for alms is the only option for survival. After all, she has a two-year-old daughter to feed, and she herself, at 14 years old, is little more than a child.

INDIA: Unnecessary C-Sections Violate Women’s Rights

It was smooth sailing for 30-year-old Susan George throughout her pregnancy, until the day she went to give birth at the government hospital. Doctors told her they had to do a caesarean section because they could not wait for a normal delivery.

Endosulfan goes by another trade name, Parrysulfan, in this photo taken from a cardamom plantation in Idukki, Kerala. Endosulfan is banned in Kerala. Credit: K.S. Harikrishnan/IPS

ENVIRONMENT-INDIA: Kerala Waits for Relief from Endosulfan Tragedy

Ajith, a nine-year old boy from Badiyadukka village in the southern Indian state of Kerala, waits patiently for his mother to return from the market and take him to the toilet. His bones are so deformed, he is totally immobile.

INDIA: 60 Registered Rapes a Day

It was just past 9 p.m. of Feb. 1 when guards of the Ernakulam-Shornur train found 23-year-old Soumya, an accountant, unconscious near the railway tracks at Vettikkattiri in Thrissur district, Kerala state.

A woman grieves outside the Sabarimala temple.  Credit: K.S.Harikrishnan

INDIA: Hindus Flock to Temples of Death

Disasters caused by overcrowded pilgrim centres are as old as the religious festivals themselves, but a dramatic increase in stampedes in recent years has caused national concern.

Dams Threaten Aboriginal Tribe

Over the years, the Kadars, a dwindling aboriginal tribe who live on the borders of the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have survived pestilences, extreme exploitation and even mass sterilisations. But a new government plan to build a hydroelectric dam across the Chalakudy River would have been the death knell for the group who now number about 1,500.

A woman activist wearing a banner against sale of liquor goes on a door-to-door campaign in Malappuram district. Credit: K.S.Harikrishnan

INDIA: Alcoholism Grips Progressive Kerala

The scene outside a temple in Kannur district in Kerala recently was something unusual in modern India. Sitting on one side of a balance scale hanging in front of the Kannadipara Muthappan Temple was a woman, and on the other side, a bucket of coconut wine.

RIGHTS-INDIA: Despite Laws and Campaigns, Child Marriages Persist

Soon after she had her second child, Rathna fell into a frenzied state and had to be brought to a hospital here in the southern Indian village of Dharmapuri. After a month-long series of tests, doctors issued their diagnosis: Rathna, they said, was suffering from a psychiatric aberration that seems to occur often among adolescent mothers.

INDIA: Lay-offs from Recession-hit Gulf Lead to New Lives at Home

Domestic worker Beena Joy, 35, came back empty-handed after losing her job in recession-hit United Arab Emirates, but soon found that getting laid-off has given her a happier life back home here in this southern Indian city.

GENDER: Women in Science Face Discrimination in India – Part 1

Just 10 of the 443 Indian scientists who received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) award in the last 50 years were women.

K. Promudu: "Empowerment programmes have encouraged wives to file complaints" Credit: K.S. Harikrishnan/IPS

RIGHTS-INDIA: Kerala Women Are Battered Wives

Kerala, the south Indian state which has the highest literacy levels and excellent social development indicators, has an unsavoury side - a land of violent husbands.


HEALTH-INDIA: High Morbidity Mars Kerala Women’s Progress

While Kerala, in southwest India, enjoys enviable indices when it comes to health and human development, the state seems unable to shake off high chronic morbidity rates among its women.

INDIA: Reverse Migration Casts Shadow on Kerala Economy

Recession in petroleum-rich Middle Eastern countries is causing thousands of workers to return to their homes in southern Kerala triggering fears of a negative impact on the local economy.

Kerala is seeing increasing instances of temple elephants running amok. Credit: K.S. Hari Krishnan/IPS

ENVIRONMENT-INDIA: Kerala Has Elephantine Problems

Among attractions for visitors to southern Kerala state is the way elephants are seen closely integrated into the religious lives of the people.

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