रघुकुल रीत सदा चली आई. Founding team @theWire_in. My book is Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War.
3 added to My Authors
Jul 19, 2021 • 35 tweets • 16 min read
It's one hell of a Monday. If you haven't had time to read the #Pegasus hacking revelations in detail, here are a few observations from day 1 & 2.
A thread I'll keep building.
1. Today we learnt from #PegasusProject & @thewire_in that potential targets for political spying, ahead of the 2019 election, include Congress president Rahul Gandhi and – equally shocking – Ashok Lavasa, the most independent of India's three election commissioners.
Jul 6, 2021 • 27 tweets • 7 min read
Yesterday #StanSwamy died, after eight months in prison conditions that exacerbated his Parkinson's. He was one of the jailed human-rights advocates aka #BhimaKoregaon 16.
The story of the evidence against them is... amazing and bizarre, and is worth going over. A thread.
2. After the first arrests in June of 2018, police began to leak sensational 'electronic evidence' – letters found on the activists' laptops, which showed their links to Maoist guerillas. The most shocking letter even proposed a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Modi.
May 12, 2021 • 17 tweets • 7 min read
Today is World Nursing Day, and I think we could all get behind a hashtag like #ThankYouNurses. But India's nursing staff need more than that, to keep fighting the second wave.
Few of us have any idea how much physical and psychological strain nurses have been enduring. A thread.
1. Before the pandemic, nursing as a profession was given little respect, *severely* underpaid, and thus understaffed across the country.
I spoke to Usha Krishna Kumar, of the Nurses' Welfare Association, on how we can support nurses better: @thewire_in
May 10, 2021 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
Natasha Narwal, a young activist leader held in jail, has lost her only parent to Covid. She could not speak to him before he died.
Last August, the imprisoned activist GN Saibaba was refused a video call to see his dying mother one last time. A video call. /n
Of India's hundreds of thousands of Covid 19 deaths, this could be the most emblematic.
A young woman who led protests to defend an inclusive, Constitutional India is imprisoned on charges of leading a deadly communal pogrom... /n
May 4, 2021 • 16 tweets • 3 min read
One of the early stories I reported was from panchayat polls in #Nandigram, soon after the farmers' rebellion, just as Mamata began to topple the CPIM edifice.
It was an illustration, and a caution, about interpreting images of violence during polls in West Bengal /n
The intimidation and violence, even sexual assault, mostly by the CPIM cadre, was serious. On polling day, the CRPF was heavily deployed, led by an admired DIG Alok Raj.
I was with a patrol when two TMC activists approached, asking for help at a village called Garupara /n
Apr 14, 2021 • 15 tweets • 4 min read
On the 130th #AmbedkarJayanti, a short thread on a milestone in his life, described as the "Beginning of a New Era" – when he was appointed to the Viceroy's Executive Council at the height of the WW2... 2. In July 1941, to win support for the war-effort, the Viceroy of India agreed to expand his Executive Council, the cabinet in charge of the Central government. He would appoint eight ‘representative Indians’ -- all of course, from the social elite.
Since tweets by @rihanna and @miakhalifa are now considered 'external forces' and 'foreign interference', a small reminder... During the first Emergency, the Sangh's main line of dissent was through foreign press, governments, activists, and funding.
A short thread.
(2) The RSS has a fanciful mythology of its resistance within India, but there's not much evidence of it. @Swamy39 wrote in the year 2000 that ‘most of the leaders of the BJP/RSS had betrayed the struggle against the Emergency,’ offering ‘to work for the nation’s tormentors’...
Jan 8, 2021 • 9 tweets • 3 min read
Why don't we stop describing the violent arrest of #MunawarFaruqui as a case of free speech vs religious sentiments. That's already false.
It's a case-study of the new political entrepreneurship: find ways to criminalise Muslims... advance in The Party. Zero sentiments involved.
(2) Just consider the bare facts: After he's beaten, arrested and denied bail, police say there is "no evidence against him".
But the vigilante who went for him, the son of an MLA (classic), is being paraded on @zeenews shows tagged "हिंदू का अपमान सबसे आसान #HindusForGranted"
Dec 14, 2020 • 12 tweets • 3 min read
Like him or hate him, the Prime Minister comands wide support - having won the last election with well over 300 seats. Yet a protest movement has now openly declared that it will remove him from office through non-electoral means.
(2) Protesters are gathering in New Delhi with plans to besiege the Prime Minister's house. ‘We intend to overthrow him,’ an opposition leader tells the media. ‘Thousands of us will surround his house to prevent her from going out or receiving visitors.'
Oct 15, 2020 • 9 tweets • 3 min read
Even after its recent stand, the Hindi film industry needs to keep watching the channels that have attacked it & persecuted its women actors.
Not to see what the channels are saying, but to see a clear picture of what #Bollywood itself is expected to become. (1/7)
(2) Basic principle: The new extremist movement first asks for compromises from industry players. Then it coerces / co-opts them. But the endgame is to destroy existing players & rebuild the industry from its cadre.
Why coerce the film industry, when you could possess it?
Aug 26, 2020 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
In 2017, the Jaipur Lit Fest hosted two RSS leaders for a special conversation. @DalrympleWill defended the decision against all objections (including mine).
He’s consistently platformed conservative & far-right speakers, while disagreeing with their beliefs (1/4)
But a few days ago, with zero evidence of his role in the @BloomsburyIndia decision, right-wing media figures declared Dalrymple an enemy in something called “The War”, slandered him as a Jihadist, and physically threatened his home in Delhi. (2/4)
I'm just learning this: In 'Posthomerica', when the Trojan kings found the Greek camp razed and only the Trojan Horse left behind, they celebrated their victory. Only Cassandra and Laocoon saw through the ruse - he died urging them to burn the horse... (2/5)
Feb 25, 2020 • 9 tweets • 4 min read
I'm at Mustafabad, near the Loni Border, and new fires (set post-9pm) are burning in front of our eyes - Muslim jhuggis and tempos, according to onlookers - by masked men shouting JSR. Delhi Police are present saying they are unable to intervene.
If you are concerned about this being fake news, it is all on video, coming out on the Wire tomorrow, also recorded by three other reporters from different orgs - all of whom had to literally run across the border to UP police thana (Loni Road) where the police were more helpful.
"I want to tell the 130 crore citizens of India that since my government has come to power, since 2014, there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere...," the PM said at #RamLilaMaidan. "Lies are being spread."
Yes, they are.
(2/n) I deleted my earlier tweet because I wanted to re-verify the PM's bewildering quote, which appeared first on @thenewsminute. The quote is fine. Thank you @dhanyarajendran. You're always on top of your game
Jun 5, 2019 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
Anytime a debate kicks off about public transport in Indian cities, I think of a scene I saw on a late summer evening in 2006 (when I still used buses). I think it was route 422, going past Nizamuddin down to Badarpur Border. (1/n)
It was crammed from steel floor to steel roof with bodies. I was tired from just waiting for the bus, but everyone else on it was a day labourer, they must have been in the final stages of exhaustion. (2/n)
May 26, 2019 • 12 tweets • 5 min read
Just a heads up. Every op-ed and Twitter thread talking about a victory of ideology, narrative or spirit – and not talking about monopolies on money, media and tech – is part of the New Big Lie.
(2) We will see a lot of these fallacies / partial truths: 1. The Tukde-Tukde Fallacy
Establishment has openly targeted X with disinformation. Press: "Why do a majority of Indians believe this? X must admit it has failed." No reference to the distortion blitz.
May 5, 2019 • 7 tweets • 4 min read
We're all talking about PM Modi's popularity as if it's based on a psychic link with the public.
Newsflash: it's based on a publicity / propaganda campaign more expensive than you'll believe.
I lift the lid on the insane numbers: (2) The principal source for this data (excluding ad spends) is the invaluable Association for Democratic Reforms. Follow: @adrspeaks
For more detailed figures and links to sources, read: thewire.in/politics/bjp-m…
Jan 25, 2019 • 18 tweets • 9 min read
#NanajiDeshmukh, who today was awarded the #BharatRatna, was a pivotal opposition figure in the Emergency years, and in all three episodes I've recently explored – the 'subversive' protests (1975), the 'anti-national' resistance abroad ('76) & the 'unholy alliance' ('77). Thread.
(2) In late '74, JP's 'sampoorna kranti' agitation was gaining momentum in Patna, led mainly by students. On Nov 4, a massive rally was met with a police lathi-charge. According to legend, Deshmukh protected JP from a blow – which nearly broke his arm. thewire.in/video/watch-re…
Dec 1, 2018 • 9 tweets • 3 min read
In June '75, at the start of the Emergency, LK Advani was put under arrest in Bangalore. He would spend nineteen months in jail there. Here are some excerpts from his writings. No special reason. (Thread)
These are from the pamphlet, 'A Tale of Two Emergencies'.