Issue XXIII: Editor’s Note
The ‘economy’ is an elusive term. In all its intricacies and grandiosity, this complex webwork that carries flows of money, people, and capital almost resembles a colourful living being. It breathes, expands and sometimes utterly collapses under its own weight. We can try to keep it healthy and enjoy the opulence it provides or we…
How Does the Western Media Portray South Asia?
Shree Bhattacharyya With the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, Shree Bhattacharyya does a deep dive into the representation of South Asia by the western media and inspects the neglect, possible biases, and lack of adequate coverage that may be seeping into media attention of South Asia.
One for All or All for One? Equality in the Ukraine Refugee Crisis
Maahira Jain The jarring difference in attitude and assistance provided to Ukrainians versus the Syrian refugees of 2015 continues to elicit questions of differentiation in treatment. How efficient and inclusive are the social welfare schemes offered by other countries?
Maya Sharma Over the past few months, the targeting of minorities appears to have become more widespread and on a range of different issues. And the BJP state government does not seem to be coming down as hard as it should on such blatant discrimination. Far from it.
India’s Growth Prospects – Are They Really Deterred by Religious Majoritarianism and Polarisation?
Fahad Hasin In a recent statement, former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan warned that an “anti-minority” image could harm India’s growth prospects due to reduced demand for Indian products in the global market. One might argue instead that proper economic growth could further overshadow and mask the rising religious polarisation in the short-medium run.
Through the Looking Glass: Gender Lens and Education Policy
Reya Daya The recently implemented Early Warning System like most education policies remains genderless. However, it is crucial to make gender-specific policies to ensure truly equitable education for girls.
Uniting Hindus or Masking Brahminism – Hindutva’s Narrowing Scope
Akanksha Mishra This piece explores the argument of Hindutva as an ideology that unites Hindus across caste and sectarian lines, and the author explains how recent communal clashes show that Hindutva’s essence is Brahminical and upper-caste.
India’s Beef With Meat
Lakshya Sharma Food, delicious? Think again, it is much more than what you eat. It is a symbol of identity, a carrier of culture, a link to ancestry, and a mark of pride. Growing from all this, food can also emerge as a locus point of polarization. It transforms from a symbol of care and…
The Price of a Burger: How Food Aggregators Are Eating Into Restaurant Sales
Jaidev Pant Home-dining services and Cloud Kitchens are booming post the pandemic. However, this boom might not be as simple as it seems. Behind the success of third-party aggregators, lies the hidden suffering of restaurants and dine-in platforms.
Can India Afford to Make Hindi Its Sole Official Language?
Biplob Kumar Das Amit Shah recently stated that Hindi should become the common language that different states communicate in, replacing English. While the statement has invited considerable criticism from the opposition, there is also a need to critically engage with such a proposal. Biplob Kumar Das writes the about the problems with enforcing Hindi as…
A New Law Aims to Open Government Data to the Public. Can We Trust It to Deliver?
Rutuparna Deshpande Developments in an era of rapid digitization have coursed through many major world events like the global pandemic. At each turn, the data public entities collect from global events–for example, patient numbers and inflation percentages–have shaped how we respond to crises. A new law wants to open this data to the public, though…
Issue XXII: Editor’s Note
The post-pandemic world has seen an upward trend in the discourse around mental health issues. Two years of an anxiety-inducing threat from Covid19 and its many variants, a prolonged period of isolation, and having to adapt to a life-altering “normal” has led to a deteriorating mental health situation around the world. Given such a context,…
Sri Lanka’s State and Economy Are Crumbling. Could This Be the Watershed Moment for State Reform?
Rutuparna Deshpande Sri Lanka is going through its most tumultuous period since independence with prices for essentials skyrocketing and widespread street protests. Many blame the ruling Rajapaksa government for the nation’s troubles. In this piece, we explore whether this could be a turning point for Sri Lanka.
Super Sixer: Analysing the Success of Sports Cinema in India
Jaidev Pant The Bollywood sports movie has been a revered addition to the film industry in India. Why do audiences from all over the world love them so much? Analysing the aspirational value of sports films, Jaidev Pant writes about the Bollywood sports movie.
Viral Videos and Inspirational Youths: A Conversation With Vinod Kapri
Maahira Jain and Shree Bhattacharyya On 20th March, Vinod Kapri’s video about Pradeep Mehra, a 19-year-old Indian Army aspirant, went viral. The video showed Mr. Mehra’s determination to run back every night from his place of work to his home so that he would be in shape to join the Army, and it inspired and…
The Bridge to Bridgerton
Lakshya Sharma Why is a 21st-century teenage audience hooked to a Regency-era period drama? What about Bridgerton makes it one of the most popular period dramas of our time? Not just Bridgerton, with Downton Abbey dropping their second movie this summer, and The Crown shooting its fifth season, have period dramas become the new go-to…
Hype Culture: Status, Money and Inclusivity In Conversation With Vedant Lamba
Shree Bhattacharyya In a mass of people, we want to stand out and simultaneously fit in. It is in this dichotomy that ‘hype culture’ thrives.
The Runway of Inclusivity And Diversity In Indian Fashion
Reya Daya The Indian fashion industry is attempting to create diverse visual imagery and moving away from standard or European notions of beauty. While every effort counts, true inclusivity means ensuring diversity and representation offstage.
Russia, Ukraine, and Football: The Field in the Times of War
Aritro Sarkar The Russia-Ukraine fiasco has underlined that football cannot exist in a silo – it is a political entity and has always been one.
Racing Ahead: How The Popularity Of F1 Rebounded Globally
Sahil Mohan Gupta After the global success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive (2019), the popularity of Formula-1 racing raced to new heights. What does this success mean for F-1 racing in India? Saahil Mohan Gupta traces the happenings that led to this rapid growth.
Astrology, Mental health and the Economics of Well Being
Maahira Jain Ultimately can the mental health system single-handedly address the concerns of inequality and economic access in society?
Prolonged Grief: A New Mental Disorder?
Raja Rosenhagen The issue is not whether certain mental conditions are real—they are. It is how we conceptualize them and what we think treating them requires.
A Conversation With Dr. Arvinder Singh About Grief, Mental Health and Well-Being
Dr. Arvinder Singh With the recent addition of prolonged grief in the DSM-5 Open Axis asks Dr. Arvinder Singh whether there is a need for such a diagnosis, and how one can understand mental health, well being and whether it can be made more accessible.
Issue XXI: Editor’s Note
Over the last two pandemic-ridden years, there stands an exceedingly strong chance that the word ‘new-normal’ crept its way into every single one of our conversations. Interestingly, the word itself stands as a paradox, as something new is unlikely to ever feel unreservedly normal, especially when it brings hours of covering one’s face with medical…
Tax-Free Films: A “Larger” Message or the Government’s Message?
Shree Bhattacharyya In such a diverse country, where forms of art such as film shed light on innumerable points of views, it is important to note which voices are getting highlighted by the government and which are not.
Valleys to Battlefields: A History of Indian Film Industry’s Encounter With Political Violence Before The Kashmir Files
Sudha Tiwari Writing this piece in the context of Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files – a film that has created frenzy in cinema halls across the country and sent political shockwaves, Film Historian Sudha Tiwari artfully delves into the history of political violence on the Indian screen.
Socially Content Yet Blissfully Unaware
Maahira Jain and Reya Daya Social media’s pervasiveness has come to define who we are. After hours of scrolling and endless comparison to the people we see online,…
The Act of Cleaning Up: River Rejuvenations and Its Many Delusions
Biplob Kumar Das The Ministry of Environment recently declared a plan to rejuvenate thirteen rivers across the country. Here is a look at how river rejuvenation projects in the past have panned out, and what lessons we can learn from them.
The State of Electric Vehicles in India
Abhiir Bhalla With the government actively promoting the use of Electric Vehicles in India, what is the future of electrical transportation in India looking like?
Decluttering the Central University Entrance Test: Boons and Banes for Young Students
Biplob Kumar Das While a Central University Entrance Test can solve the problem of high cut-offs, it can conflate problems of competitive entrance tests and cause added pressure on young students.
Russia-India Oil Deal: A Question of National Interest or Morality?
Rutuparna Deshpade Indian companies are buying Russian oil at discounted rates in light of a surge of prices in global markets. This move has become highly controversial, with some asking whether India can justify buying oil from the country that has started an unjust war.
On Russia-Ukraine, India is Boxed in by History and Geopolitics
Angshuman Choudhury Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has thrown up a delicate diplomatic moment for India. New Delhi today finds itself awkwardly lodged between two major camps, both of which are crucial for its evolving geopolitical, regional and national interests. The net outcome has been India taking a firmly neutral stance on the invasion – neither…
What Are Your Thoughts on In-Person Classes?
With a return to in-person classes after nearly two years, Ashoka University welcomed many students with an entire batch coming for the first time. OpenAxis decided to ask both students…
Issue XX: Editor’s Note
The 20th issue of Open Axis explores popular culture. We question how popular culture is framed, why it is both dynamic and malleable. Almost everything that we do – friends we make, conversations that we have, places that we travel to, media that we consume – is predicated upon the prevailing cultural trends around us.…
In Deep Water: Three Generations React to the Intimacy in Gehraiyaan
Reya Daya Considering Gehraiyaan’s intergenerational themes, Reya Daya decided to have a conversation with her mother and grandmother about sex, sensuality, and sensationalism.
A Conversation on Intimacy With Aastha Khanna
Lakshya Sharma, Maahira Jain, and Reya Daya Gehariyaan became the first movie in India to have an Intimacy Director. This credit sparked curiosity in many minds. OpenAxis decided to have a conversation with the first Intimacy Coordinator of India, Aastha Khanna, about this new field.
Copy & Paste: Originality and Plagiarism in Popular Culture
Shree Bhattacharyya People are quick to judge whenever one piece of work remotely resembles another, and the question arises: are we imposing originality on popular culture?
What Will You Miss About Online Classes?
With Ashoka University starting offline classes on campus again after two years, OpenAxis asks the Ashoka student body what they will miss about online classes. Interviewer & Videographer: Jaidev Pant Video Editor: Shree Bhattacharyya
It’s Complicated: How the Pandemic Changed My Relationship With the Outside World
Jaidev Pant The onset of the pandemic transformed the outdoors and how we occupy the spaces around us. With a rise in a picnic culture and AirBnbs being booked more than ever before, how has the pandemic altered our relationship with the great outdoors?
Growing Pains: The Dynamics of Workplace Culture in 2022
Maahira Jain Hybrid work culture in the pandemic brought wellbeing and employee development to the forefront of organizational policies. These shifts in work culture have created a shift in the mindset, and this flexibility of work life is here to stay.
Hindutva Beyond Politics: The Rise of an Alternate Pop-Culture in India
Biplob Kumar Das Since 2014, India has not only witnessed the electoral and political rise of Hindutva, but also an evolution in popular culture that is much more committed to Hindu Nationalism. Industries like Bollywood and independent artists across YouTube are now producing art that espouses Hindutva sentiments.
Documenting the Knights of the Western Ghats
Kalyan Varma The Lion-tailed Macaque is one of the world’s most endangered primates in the world. Marked by a distinctive silver mane, this species faces imminent extinction due to human activities. In this photo essay, acclaimed filmmaker and photojournalist Kalyan Varma journeys through the ancient rocks and rainforests of Southern India’s Western Ghat range to…
The Veil of Spirituality
Lakshya Sharma We occasionally hear news of people being deceived in the name of spiritual peace. But when people begin facing prosecution and jail time for their irrationality, it is time that we examine how alert we are on the path of spiritual peace
Living Art on the Streets of Assam: Interview With Street Artist Neelim Mahanta
Biplob Kumar Das Neelim Mahanta’s street art is recognised widely in Assam. In this interview, conducted by Biplob Kumar Das, he opens up about his work, his beginnings, and his thoughts on art and life.
What is Ukraine’s Best Bet?
Saaransh Mishra While it is important to understand the roots of the invasion, pragmatically, the major concern right now is Ukraine defending itself against an indisputably mightier Russia. So, what exactly is Ukraine’s best bet?
The Economic Cost of Putin’s March Towards Kyiv
Rutuparna Deshpande As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces continue their onslaught of Ukraine, disruptions to the global economy are starting to show their corrosive effects. How has this war bruised India’s economy?
Issue XIX: Editor’s Note
As the world recovers from a bruised way of living that a two-year-long pandemic and multiple lockdowns had inflicted upon us, humanity looks for respite. We turn towards our loved ones, we turn towards our communities, and we turn towards art. With art as a symbol of our perspective – one that has been forever…
Art Is Personal, the Personal Is Political, They Are Social and to Most Ephemeral
Vishnupriya Rajgarhia From fall of the Berlin Wall to the rise of billionaire capitalists: how have world events decisively shaped the way we experience Art today?
Lata Mangeshkar: The Sweet Sound of Indian Unity
Ashwini Deshpande Lata Mangeshkar sang of harmony and love and her persona united India across divides — class, caste, religion, gender, linguistic. As we bow our heads collectively in her memory, we would do well to revive and strengthen the inclusive India which is defined by the sweet sound of her music.
Debating Women’s Rights Against Marital Rape
Shreyashi Sharma A legal challenge to marital rape laws has opened up conversations around consent around the country. What do our laws actually say and are they enough to protect women’s right?
The Pegasus Controversy: Locking the Stable Door
Debayan Gupta What is Pegasus and why should we care about it? We discuss how military-grade cyberattack tools like Pegasus need to be regulated and why public awareness is critical to preventing such things in the future.
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall… What Makes Wordle the Best of All?
Shree Bhattacharyya Wordle’s success is indisputable, but there is one question that everyone is asking (well, other than, “can you just tell me the first letter of the word, please?”) — what is it that makes Wordle stand out?
India Art Fair 2022: Director Jaya Asokan On What to Expect This Year
Jaya Asokan Even though there is an active and growing interest in digital art, photography, performance art and so on, the buying we are seeing currently largely remains in the domain of more traditional art forms like painting, prints and sculpture. The fair is the perfect place to discover art, across a range of mediums,…
Employ and Empower: Upskilling Homemakers in India
Jaidev Pant In a digital age where online courses and promoting small businesses on social media becomes more accessible, is India missing an opportunity to upskill its homemakers to run their own businesses?
Another Decade, Another Drama: The Crown’s Controversies
Lakshya Sharma “Grief is the price we pay for love” – HM The Queen. A beautiful statement issued by our beloved queen on the death of Her Husband. The longest reigning female monarch in history has been in power forever. Here are the seven big dramas of her life.
The Forces Behind Amazon’s Decision to Shut-Shop on Westland
Arunava Sinha While the closure of Westland Publishing may mean an unfortunate outcome for some of its writers and readers, this episode points to the structural problems in the English language trade publishing business in India.
Oops, I Got Influenced Again!
Lakshya Sharma “Somebody is Influenced!” is something we all have said to our friends and acquaintances at some point in our lives. But who influenced them? How are they able to influence them? What do these “influencers” have that separate them from the “influenced”?
From Strolling to Scrolling through Galleries: How Has the Art World Changed?
Maahira Jain The boons and banes of social media in the art world are a tipping scale, the unspoken impact of which remains in the nature of creating and experiencing art.
Issue XVIII: Editor’s Note
The last year has been a rollercoaster for people around the globe. One might even come close to calling it a fever dream of sorts, with some months bringing us respite and optimism about a possible covid-free future, while others had us wrapped up in blankets, back to hosting virtual Christmas parties. Three mega covid-waves…
Keeping Up With Covid
Reya Daya Almost a month after the onset of the third wave, most Covid ICU beds across the country remain empty. Trends across Europe follow suit, with Omicron cases resulting in fewer hospitalizations. This begs the question – can India begin to live with the virus, and what will our new normal look like?
‘There is as much cacophony in policy-making corridors as there is out on the streets’: Immunologist Satyajit Rath on Scientific Policymaking
Dr. Satyajit Rath Satyajit Rath reflects on the precarious distinction between experts and non-experts, how ‘fear’ is universal and what policymakers can do to speak with a scientific temper.
Harvesting a Vote Bank
Biplob Kumar Das Contesting on the backdrop of a successful year-long farmer’s agitation, the political parties in UP and Punjab have made several promises for farmers, ranging from MSPs to crop loss compensation and more.
1 Like = 1 Vote? Election Campaigning in the Time of Social Media
Ranjini Ghosh How have limited characters online translated into landslide victories offline? An insight into the relevance of social media in election campaigning in India.
Could Home-schooling Have Saved India’s Students During COVID?
Rutuparna Deshpande Pandemic school closures have cost India millions and halted learning for many. Why were alternative education frameworks like homeschooling unable to help?
What Constitutes a Constitution?
Adit Shankar A political tussle over the demand for a new constitution raises interesting questions about our relationship with the constitution, especially as it is increasingly perceived to be under threat. Open Axis explores this relationship.
Morphing a Monument
Ujjwala Shankar The decision to extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate elicited both admiration and outrage, but there might be problems with both reactions.
Call of Duty: A Surgical Strike on the Discrimination in the Indian Army
Shree Bhattacharyya With each march at the Beating Retreat, one can feel the echoes of generations of people who have selflessly served their country and continue to do so. However, among the assemblage of people who serve the country, there lie those who are grappling with their sexuality and are fighting to be recognised regardless of their gender.
On the Fence: The Sino-Indian Standoff Continues
Shauryavardhan Sharma After several rounds of violent clashes, official talks, and reformed policy measures, where is the future of Sino-Indian relations headed?
Budget 2022’s Big Infra Push May Flag in Face of Global Inflation
M.K. Venu The government seems to have put all its eggs in the infrastructure investment basket to revive growth and employment.
Money, Money, Money- Always Funny in the Twitter World!
Jaidev Pant, Lakshya Sharma, Maahira Jain While ABBA may have written this song when Twitter was a thing of the future, money today is still funny, especially in a rich man’s world. The editors of this issue compile some of their favourite memes from the 2022-23 Union Budget.
Of Dance and Crumbling Havelis…
Justin McCarthy The renowned kathak dancer Birju Maharaj was a consummate master of rhythm, line and movement, and could improvise endlessly in expressional dance while himself singing a melodic line. In the light of his demise, Justin McCarthy writes on Indian dance today while simultaneously critiquing his own public writings on dance.
Kapur & Miyazaki: Wild celluloid connections from the 7th Century CE to 2022
Tisha Srivastav Open Axis takes a historical stroll uniting nature and film.
The trees are dead! Long live the forest!
Bijoy Venugopal As 2021 enters its last month, a long year of grief and heartbreak slip slides into what lives in and around us. Green Ogre reminds us where to look.
Photos: What’s Stopping You From Rediscovering the Natural World Near You?
A Lockdown x Nature reflection, Natural Home: Transcend Boundaries, between Caperture, the Photography Society and Tarang, the Environment Ministry of Ashoka University. Put together last year this time; a reminder perhaps of what enlarges, when we look around closely.
When a Camera Trap Image Connects a Community and Foresters
What can science communication mean in real time field work in an Indian jungle? Dr. Nandini Velho shares unique insights from her work in a national park in North-East India in an hour long talk.
In the Long Run We Will All Still be Paying Our Debt￼
Tanvi Rupakula reviews the Korean space western movie, Space Sweepers, set in 2092 AD.
Lawyer-Author & Sci-fi Fan Gautam Bhatia Chats with 95 yr old Sci-fi Legend Chandler Davis
Gautam Bhatia A mathematician and a science fiction writer, Davis was notoriously dismissed from the University of Michigan, and jailed, during the McCarthy years. He wrote a range of science fiction stories around nuclear disarmament, sexism in society, labour and capital, and first contact and language. A rare interview.
Shaleena, 1st from her community to patrol a jungle in AP shoots her own story
Shaleena Phinya and Sumit Sisodiya for RoundGlass Sustain Video: Shaleena Phinya, the first girl from her area to guard a community forest in Western Arunachal Pradesh, shares how a rare bird brought her village and its jungles together.
A Thanos snap for India’s growing hunger crisis?
Ishita Ahuja Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War snapped his fingers to reduce half the world’s population to curb hunger. What can help India not fall further on the Global Hunger Index?
Building utopia with robot gardeners: Celebrating 35 years of Laputa Castle in the Sky
Rishita Chaudhary Can mankind learn to use technology to respect nature? OpenAxis examines this via Studio Ghibli’s first-ever production.
Ecoflix, a new streaming platform says zero-celebrity or ad: Only animals and the planet?
Anushree Pratap Open Axis scrutinizes Ecoflix for the global wildlife viewer.
Animals with human voices: Can we ever find Nemo in real life?
Devanshi Daga With Netflix’s new animation movie out, a look at the pros and cons of portraying animal species like us.
And ACTION! Towards a greener Bollywood?
Aritro Sarkar Like most Hindi blockbusters, making Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara cost thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide. Ten years on, is the industry ready to move towards sustainable film production?
Diving into the life of Jacques Cousteau: What can Gen Z learn from this French icon?
Meera Anand Release of the 2021 biopic of Captain Cousteau by Oscar-nominated filmmaker calls for a look into the undersea life of this legendary adventurer, filmmaker and groundbreaking environmentalist
Issue XVI: Editor’s Note
Today’s environmental movements face an unusual advisory – the crisis of communication. As the world around us rapidly moves on from one story to another, take a pause to read our latest issue dedicated to exploring the culture of reading. In the 16th issue of OpenAxis, our writers will give you a glimpse into the…
In the year of the crypto-creators raking it in, what about the energy bill?
Cefil Joseph Soans Authors are collaborating creatively on the internet as NFTs. But can NFT go from guzzler to green?
Hey BookTuber, your book hauls? Not a good look for COP26
Rishita Chaudhary Did Youtube’s literary community fail to produce CoP26-inspired reading lists and create unsustainable haul videos instead? Open Axis examines BookTube.
Is the 2021 Laurel Prize for environmental poetry exclusionary with too many T & C ?
Ishita Ahuja Only in its second year as a UK-based international award for environment-themed poetry, why are only the British winning the Laurel Prize? Open Axis offers a critical glance.
Children are reading on climate change more than ever before: Good or bad?
Aritro Sarkar What does this fairly recent genre of children’s books add to the climate movement and what does it mean for children? Open Axis finds out.
Will the new DUNE get the older SF fan and the younger cli-fi film buff to act on climate change? Studies so far, say no
Meera Anand A look at the second movie on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel to understand cognitive responses to an ever-emerging genre, be it sci-fi or cli-fi.
India’s Climate tales: Graphic [novel] approach can give a fuller picture
Devanshi Daga Launched in early 2021, Comixense magazine wants to take Indian YA on a graphic ride. A look at this storytelling medium and what it can also do for the environment.
‘Amazônia must live on’: Photographer Sebastião Salgado returns home with his new book
Peter Speetjens The book is also a cry for preservation of what remains of the Amazon: “My wish is that in 50 years’ time this book will not resemble a record of a lost world,” he says.
Graphic novel version of classic science memoir aims for new audiences
Mongabay A chat with the graphic novelist of Naturalist: A Graphic Adaptation on how it can reach a new audience for Wilson’s lesson on environmental stewardship.
RELOOK: Mukul Sharma on the Hindu right’s eco-politics, a decade later
K. Sivaramakrishnan Mukul Sharma in conversation with Professor K. Sivaramakrishnan in 2011, on his then new book Green and Saffron: Hindu Nationalism and Indian Environmental Politics.
Bringing science and activism to your Goan holiday: Puja Mitra, ethical marine tour guide
Chryselle D’Silva Dias Chryselle D’Silva Dias chats with Puja Mitra on leading ethically run dolphin watching trips and other marine adventures in Goa.
‘We are a country which hates its poor’: Planner Paromita Roy on moving mountains in a metro
Aritro Sarkar Urban planner Paromita Roy’s journey in making the street and the railway station, a great leveller in India’s urban public spaces, this festive season.
Ponds in Pondicherry: Hear from the citizen responding to every SOS on the east coast
Sonal Dugar Probir Banerjee’s citizen advocacy group celebrates the local pond in a 2021 initiative and fights for Pondicherry’s coastal life, like a true coast guard.
The Glass Ceiling Has Been Shattered, Says ZSI’s First Woman Director
Sahana Ghosh Science administrator and biologist Dhriti Banerjee, speaks to Mongabay-India on becoming ZSI’s first woman director. The 105 yr. old Zoological Survey of India is the nation’s premier taxonomic research organization.
Connecting culture to climate change: The many WIPs of Vinod Nambiar
Anushree Pratap Is caring about a living culture by a river, just an emotion? In this Open Axis chat, Kerala’s Nambiar shares insights on an eighteen year journey of revival.
Rewilding Jaipur’s first desert park: Pradip Krishen on Kishan Bagh
Rishita Chaudhary How exactly does a self-trained naturalist revive a degraded edge of town? Pradip Krishen tells Open Axis in an eye-opening chat.
Get ready for Ruddy: Detective fighting crime in the wild
Devanshi Daga Rohan Chakravarty, founder of Green Humour is back with a new book: Naturalist Ruddy: Adventurer, Sleuth, Mongoose. But how did he come up with it during the pandemic? In a video chat with Devanshi Daga he opens up about his artistic journey, a love of birds and drawing people to the wild.
From animal rights to mining bans: Why this Padma Shri awardee is a pioneer to learn from
Ishita Ahuja While Norma Alvares’ animal rights work is pioneering in its range, she speaks frankly to Ishita Ahuja about what happens after she wins or loses.
Cameras for community conservation? Rita Banerji on Green Hub
Devanshi Daga Devanshi Daga finds out from award winning wildlife filmmaker and Founder Green Hub, Rita Banerji, how a unique fellowship programme can kickstart a dialogue in the village communities, the Green Hub fellows and alumni come from.
‘India can be a R&D centre for the poor to be sustainable’: Harish Hande’s decade as a catalyst
Cefil Joseph Soans SELCO, a foundation set up by Hande, is in the top 50 COVID-19 last-mile responder India list of the World Economic Forum. In this Open Axis chat, he talks about what India is getting right.
Bittu Sahgal: “Young people want to protect the environment, but don’t have their hands on the wheel”
Gopikrishna Warrier Bittu Sahgal’s Sanctuary Asia magazine turns 40. S. Gopikrishna Warrier speaks to him about a lifetime in nature journalism and raising public awareness through the print media.
A Litigating Life: Meet the Indian environmental lawyer who won the Alternative Nobel 2021
Meera Anand An environmental lawyer for over 15 years, Ritwick Dutta, in his video conversation with Meera Anand, sheds light on the urgent need for environmental democracy in India.
Issue XV: Editor’s Note
Adapt to restore ecosystems and protect communities. Mobilize major climate finance. Collaborate and accelerate actions that keep the 1.5-degree target within reach. These are the COP 26 focus areas at Glasgow’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), between October 31 – November 12, 2021. As global leaders discuss the doable, we feature interviews with doers. Ordinary…
How will China’s decision to stop funding coal overseas impact developing countries?
Anushree Pratap China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world and has not pledged to phase out coal nationally. Anushree Pratap unpacks what its no new coal funding overseas means for emergent economies and global renewable energy.
When a people’s eyes are as moist as a land: The Tharu speak
Tisha Srivastav The Skin of Chitwan, an online multimedia exhibition by the Nepal Picture Library, gets inside a long history of dislocation, with a sensory, multidisciplinary vitality.
The revolution begins from the street (art)
Devanshi Daga With street art gaining momentum in India, Devanshi Daga discusses the street as a social space, the impact of street art on its large audience and the messages it seeks to convey about the environment through discussing the works of three Indian street artists.
Book Review: The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis
Mehak Bhargava Through the tale of Nutmeg, Amitav Ghosh makes a strong case of what must be done to survive the planetary crisis & come out thriving.
Who is riding pillion on the e-scooter buzz in India?
Cefil Joseph Soans Reading between the lines of the pitch and sale in India’s e-scooter scene, Cefil Joseph Soans tests if the buzz is sustainable?
The Politics of a Climate Strike: Three Young Activists Talk Impact, Space, and Privilege
Ishita Ahuja On September 25, FridaysForFuture called for a global climate strike, with Uproot the System as its theme, addressing climate problems faced by MAPA (Most Affected Areas and People). Ahead of the next strike on October 22, Ishita Ahuja speaks to three activists to understand the politics driving their protest.
The Storyteller approach: Scientific writing since Silent Spring
Rishita Chaudhary Rachel Carson’s famous work, Silent Spring turns 60 in 2022. Rishita Chaudhary tracks how fact, fiction, and non-fiction are speaking to each other in a new emerging genre.
From Zurich to Wayanad, Can The Data Modelling Highway Restore Farmer Science and Soil?
Cefil Joseph Soans As Restor, a data modelling collaboration with Google goes public this October 2021, Cefil Joseph Soans tracks what this can mean for environmental conservation work on ground.
A Climate-Friendly Autobahn Ahead For The Berlin & EU? Analysing Germany’s 2021 Elections
Aritro Sarkar Aritro Sarkar discusses the growing tide of climate issues washing over electoral politics in Europe’s strongest economy, with three German voters.
Issue XIV: Editor’s Note
With the leaders of the world – most of whom chosen by us – preparing to meet at the critical Conference of Parties 26 (COP26) gathering in the first weeks of November, this axis of environment and politics, is one whose outlines are becoming increasingly apparent. Before we get to unpacking what may be in…
Mapping a Movement: Two Activists Tell-All
Isha Pareek Isha Pareek navigates the journey of two urban Indian eco-activists, as they champion causes and communities, contours and blind spots of environmental justice.
Bats in a pandemic: Why should we care?
Devanshi Daga In India’s National Wildlife Week, Devanshi Daga connects several 2021 studies and a leading Indian field scientist’s focus on bats. What our attitudes are and what can shift them?
The End Of The Zoo: Has The Pandemic Changed The Way We See Zoos?
Aritro Sarkar In 2020 – 2021, when you and I have had to forcibly stay indoors, the idea of captivity itself has come to be belatedly resented, although it took the human experience of a generational pandemic for that to happen. In that light, how do we look at zoos, as venues premised on this…
Deconstructing the NEP: how important is experiential learning in wildlife conservation?
Ishita Ahuja The National Education Policy drafted in 2020 makes wildlife education under environmental studies, a new option for college students. “Towards the attainment of such a holistic and multidisciplinary education, the flexible and innovative curricula of all HEIs shall…
Issue XIII: Editor’s Note
India’s 67th National Wildlife Week from 2– 8 October, 2021 is focusing on Forest & Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet, thematically. Through the 1950s, this commemoration went from a single day Wildlife Diwas to a whole week. Since then annually, Indians shine a torch on understanding what we have, what we are losing and what is shifting, in the life…
Armed with Phones and Spreadsheets, How These Teenagers Took on the Second Wave
Aditi Dindorkar The Indian student community that aided the country in its hour of need is here to stay and is only growing stronger. Even the girls of STV are planning more posts, events, and community building in the months to come. All while preparing for the upcoming Class 12 board exams, of course!
An extract from India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present
Shivshankar Menon The problem is that several generations in India have been taught a version of history that ignores that India has for much of its past been well connected to the world and its prosperity and security have waxed and waned in direct proportion to that link.
Delineating the Consumption of Luxury Goods in a COVID-hit World
Muskaan Kanodia The COVID-19 pandemic shook the luxury goods industry from its bubble, putting their revenue and loyal clientele at stake. Not only did the brands face economic downfall but were also socially and culturally challenged to create more inclusive products. With visions of recovery and rebounding in 2021, luxury brands have a long road…
Censorship in India and the Abolition of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.
Sahir Avik D’Souza The FCAT, set up under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, was the last stop for filmmakers who did not agree with the decisions of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Often colloquially dubbed the “Censor Board”, the CBFC’s guidelines and suggestions for cuts have occasionally been met with distaste from filmmakers.
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai
Rujuta Singh The city of dreams is known for its gritty underworld as much as its glittering movie sets. The life of disgraced encounter specialist Sachin Vaze may help us see the link between the two.
Issue XI: Editors’ Note
The past year saw COVID-19 and lockdowns as the only issues one extensively engaged with, both in their personal and professional lives. The question, “how has the pandemic been treating you?” slipped into every catch-up conversation with peers, friends, family and colleagues. With the current surge of cases in India once again, it is safe…
Examining India’s Falling Rank on the World Happiness Index
Aanya Poddar As the world is getting wealthier, it is also becoming increasingly unhappy. Talking specifically of India, it has just dropped down on the World Happiness Index released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This article explores India’s relationship with its neighbors and the reasons for the observed trends on the happiness index.
The Cost Of Peace in Afghanistan
Akanksha Mishra The rising violence by the Taliban in the past few weeks raises pertinent questions about its moderation and commitment to peace, as well as the U.S.’s priorities in Afghanistan. Should the U.S., in its haste to end the war, agree to a deal that will leave Afghanistan at the mercy of the Taliban,…
To Have Loved and Lost
Advaita Singh Paid leaves for parents after stillbirths or miscarriages are certainly a social issue. However, the effects of grief on productivity make it an economic issue in tandem. This gives the opportunity for inclusive legislation that can improve economic conditions and boost economic growth.
The Curious Case of the Electoral Calendar
Vaibhav Parik The fact that the ECI has conducted swifter elections in much larger states with equally (if not more) complicated situations, should refute any claims that they are not capable enough or do not possess the required resources. The fundamental question then is not that of the ECI’s capability, but of its prerogative.
The World ‘Wild’ Web and Why It Is No Place for A Woman With An Opinion
By Devika Goswami As the pandemic strengthened our online presence, it also led to violence against women spilling over to online spaces. Women who use social media as a part of their jobs, such as politicians, journalists, activists, academics, celebrities and artists, routinely face harassment for openly expressing their views online. To what extent is…
Modern Science v. Law: Revisiting the case of Kathleen Folbigg, Australia’s Worst Serial Killer
By Debojeet Chakravarty When new evidence surfaces, a case changes. The case of Kathleen Folbigg is a perfect example. However, the idea of justice is put to test when a legal system overlooks medical evidence to avoid the off-chance that it may have to retract from its previous judgment.
100 Days of Biden
Karantaj Singh The Biden administration has been highly optimistic by promising to meet an expansive agenda that includes controlling the coronavirus pandemic, enabling economic recovery, revising US climate policy and reviewing their health care system. Biden has also taken active steps to reverse Trump’s isolationist policies and decisions, alongside catalysing the process of restoring America’s…
Exploring Crevices in Global Healthcare Systems: An Analysis of Health Beyond COVID-19
Saman Fatima The response to this second wave of the virus is yet again lockdown impositions, curfews, shutting down of hospitals, conversion of these spaces into temporary covid wards, thereby, posing a halt on other medical services, while the question remains – can we sustain our healthcare systems in periods of crisis? And can we…
Electric Vehicles in India: Focus on the Consumer, not the Car
By Rohan Pai India’s growing environmental concerns have pushed the Government of India to re-evaluate its energy choices, and look into sustainable modes of production. Some of the key initiatives being carried out are focused on the electrification of vehicles, and the long-awaited launch of Tesla Motors in the Indian market. These initiatives will be…
What makes the News?
By Madhulika Agarwal In this ever dynamic world, it often feels like multiple things are taking place simultaneously making it extremely difficult to keep up. But, with the overload of information available, how do the news outlets decide what to pick and what to leave behind? Who decides what makes the news?
Girlhood in Isao Takahata’s Only Yesterday
By Saadia Peerzada Coming of age films largely rely on romanticization of youth and fail to explore the humane aspects of the same. With Studio Ghibli coming to Netflix internationally in 2020, how does it bring its exploration of the human experience to the coming of age genre? How does Takahta’s Only Yesterday break away…
The Hamartia of Human Reasoning: Why Do We Deny Climate Change?
By Aarohi Sharma Why do people tend to deny climate change – and what does this denial represent?
The Frailty of Quasi-Federalism in India
Saaransh Mishra The structure of federalism adopted by India to tackle post-independence challenges appears to be compatible with the unitary agenda of the Central government. Additionally, the BJP’s majority forming the Centre and its recurrent tendencies to bypass state governments’ and its citizens pose an extreme danger to federalism, which is one of the basic…
E-commerce Platforms and The Continued Mistreatment of Delivery Personnel
Samyukta Prabhu & Rohan Pai While Amazon’s Twitter antics have made news for all the wrong reasons, it has taken attention away from the delivery workers’ strikes worldwide. Hectic shifts, decreasing pay and lack of basic benefits are problems faced by delivery personnel across several e-commerce platforms. This article highlights the poor working conditions faced…
Has Mercedes Slowed Down F1 Revenue Growth?
Kavya Satish F1 has lost 129 million viewers since 2008, resulting in sponsors losing their incentive to use F1 as a way to advertise. What is it about the sport that has led to this loss – and what implications does it hold for its future?
Vote Banking the Temple Beautification Drive
By Muskaan Kanodia The drive to beautify temples might create history for the political parties and the government, but can it justify decades of individual and family histories that are simultaneously being erased from the cities?
Assam Assembly Election: Litmus Test for CAA and BJP
By Ridhima Manocha After less than 18 months of violent protests erupting against CAA in Assam, Assam’s assembly elections are underway. While the BJP has remained tactfully silent on CAA, the opposition has made Anti-CAA sentiments a plank to rally against BJP. Will the Assembly election be a litmus test to show if BJP will…
Issue X: Editors’ Note
In the past year, a major breakthrough in Science has been the Covid-19 vaccine but as the pandemic continues to take centre-stage in our lives—we wish to use this issue as an opportunity to highlight other important developments in Science and Technology. As footage from NASA’s Perseverance Rover driving on Mars’ terrain first came in,…
Power, Violence and The State: Can one exist without the other?
Rujuta Singh The idea that the state should have control over legitimate violence is widely accepted around the world. However, with several incidences of police brutality in the past year, this power is beginning to be questioned. Do states use violence to legitimize their sovereignty, and should this power be curbed?
Women in STEM: Nipped in the Bud.
Rama Akondy, Trivedi School of Biosciences, Ashoka University. Learned behavioural traits that are important for developing STEM career goals in children such as decision making, critical thinking, curiosity and making independent choices outside of care-giving duties are either neglected or actively discouraged in a girl child from a young age.
Delhi’s Water Crisis: Not Just a Water Shortage Issue
Rohan Pai At the surface level, the Delhi-Haryana water dispute might seem like a problem with a straightforward solution, but in reality it is riddled with legal and political baggage that pose a serious threat to the availability of water for Delhi in the future. It is the need of the hour for elected representatives…
The Power Under My Burqa — Sri Lanka’s Proposal to Ban the Burqa
Harshita Bedi Sri Lanka’s ruling government recently announced a proposal for banning the burqa as well as more than 1,000 Islamic schools as they are seen to propagate ‘religious extremism’. With a clear Sinhalese Buddhist majority within the country as well as the current ruling government, why are markers of the minorities like the burqa…
University Spaces: Where the ‘Personal’ Becomes the ‘Political’
Ariba Universities can be understood as spaces where “private lives of people come together as public.” That is, where the personal becomes the political. These resistance movements, therefore, necessitate academic freedom in universities. Without the freedom to read and express ideas that do not adhere to the boundaries defined by the status quo, it is…
Decimating the Ego: Exploring the Discourse Around Dreams, Drugs and the ‘Trip’ to Scientific Discovery
Ashana Mathur The inspiration for scientific discoveries like The Theory of Relativity, the structure of DNA and the discovery of Insulin, literary masterpieces like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, Satisfaction and The Terminator, lies at the intersection of dreams, psychedelic drugs and the unconscious mind. A recent breakthrough, in which scientists were able to…
The Viability of Utopia Today
Alexandra Verini Does imagining perfect worlds serve our present or our future, or do utopias simply set us up for disappointment and failure?
Commodification of Female Passing Bodies in the Age of OnlyFans
Madhulika Agarwal With everything getting digitalised, sex work too is moving online, offering more liberty to the content creators of the same. However, a lot of conversation regarding online sex work focuses only on the progressive aspect of it, choosing to ignore the dangers that come associated with the same.
‘Mining’ Nothing but a Grave
Tanish Bafna With the Parliament gearing up to pass a new cryptocurrency bill, investors and entrepreneurs are desperately scrambling to keep a dialogue open with the government. Given that the State is unlikely to change its stance, will India be potentially missing out on the next big thing since the Internet?
New Beginning for Humanity or Anarchy?- A look into Space Laws
Saman Fatima While both of these projects are still in the making, with predictive claims for the future, the presence of these ideas makes one question how society would be structured in the future. These projects also leave room to think about climate change, the future of the earth and who will be offered an…
Unpacking History: The Nexus Between Politics and Academic Freedom
Open Axis Staff Time and again, the freedom of universities, faculties and students in places around the world has come into question by the state and has often been curbed through laws and regulations. In some instances, even violence has been used to clamp down on the freedom of these voices. This piece shall explore…
The Scramble For Mars: Why Are We So Obsessed With the Red Planet?
Aarohi Sharma Be it the buzz around Elon Musk’s calls to nuke Mars, or the global emotional outpour due to the “death” of robotic rovers on the red planet – why are we so obsessed with Mars, and what does this obsession represent?
Menstrual Health in Rural India
Ananya Rao The state’s emphasis on sanitary pads above all other forms of menstrual hygiene, without the ability to provide enough, is not only economically expensive and environmentally unsustainable but also weans women away from traditional methods such as cloth without providing a viable alternative. Further, the solution is also ineffective as it does not…
Silence of the Players: The FIFA World Cup and Human Rights in Qatar
Shourjo Chatterjee Many footballers who are aware of the situation unfolding in Qatar are likely to face some degree of moral conflict or external pressure whether or not to use their reach to advocate change, or even a complete boycott. The risk of losing one’s place in the team, being restricted from speaking out by…
Covid-19 Vaccines: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Amrita Singh What are the differences between all the Covid-19 vaccines out there? Why does the Pfizer vaccine have to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius? Is it true that Covaxin can give you Covid? What are vaccines, anyway? This article explains how the immune system actually works, how vaccines confer immunity and why the…
How Mamata’s Trinamool Broke The Glass Ceiling For Women In Politics
Gilles Verniers and Maya Mirchandani While the Trinamool Congress sails ahead of its opponents on fielding women candidates, the relatively higher numbers of women in Bengal politics is part of a longer trend of gradual inclusion, to which more than one party has contributed.
The Road to Mars – A Tale of Betraying and Befriending Physics
Kartik Tiwari To millions like me, it remains an incredible source of optimism to know that the first human who would walk on Mars is, arguably, studying in some school right now; a hopeful reminder of the fascinating days that we will witness in our lifetime and a humbling inspiration for the work that is…
Politics of Postering – What the Walls Say in Tamil Nadu
Nandan Sankriti Kaushik From larger-than-life banners, to small party symbols painted on walls along roads, these political references are a part of the states’ everyday life. It’s impossible to go anywhere without noticing a political symbol, a word of glowing praise emblazoned onto a wall, or the smiling face of a political leader.
Remo D’Souza: The Man Who Changed the Face of Indian Dance
Anushka Bidani Despite its importance, dance had always been a background element. It has always been present, but it was seldom the main focus of the film. However, in the past few years, this subsidiary status has changed. Dance films and…
Banking on the Government
Advaita Singh Trade Unions all around the country are protesting because they believe that the privatisation is bad for the economy. This article explores the role of Public Sector Banks to understand the impact of privatisation.
Issue IX: Editors’ Note
As the world approaches the one-year anniversary marking the global shutdown due to COVID-19, it is important to reflect upon how life has been altered at its behest. The ninth issue of OpenAxis, hence, attempts to encapsulate the various spheres of human functioning that have been reimagined and transformed in the light of the pandemic. …
What’s in Your Pocket – Your Office or Your Sanitizer?
Ariba While multiple online sources guide one to a productive and healthy work-life balance during the lockdown, a year into it, conversations are shifting to that of an eager return to the workplace. Opinions on the way “this is the end of the office as we know it” along with changes that could be observed…
Humouring an Ill-Humored Audience
Ashana Mathur With the recent arrest of Munawar Faruqui, the court order against Kunal Kamra and Rachita Taneja, it is quite evident that the general public perceives political comedy quite differently today. So how did comedy suddenly become so offensive? How has our relationship with comedy changed? And is there any scope for political satire…
Personal Lives and Private Bodies: The State’s Vested Interest in Heteronormativity
Rithika Abraham In the midst of the ongoing hearings in the Delhi High Court about the possibility of legal recognition of same-sex marriage, the Central government released a statement declaring that non-heterosexual marriages have no basis in the Indian Constitution, and is, as such, against the ethos of the nation and its culture. The State’s…
Ancient Pandemic, Modern Eyes
Mali Annika Skotheim A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to read Thucydides’ account of the Athenian plague without seeing parallels in our own time.
Caste (In)Justice: Inadequacies in Addressing Gender and Caste Violence
Shreyashi Sharma The law is brought to life by the human hand that upholds and implements it. If the human hand continues to be governed and conditioned by these structures of patriarchy and caste, then it is impossible for the law to be effectively applied in letter and spirit. How can such a law ever…
India’s Fight Against a Pandemic Leads to an ‘Infodemic’ Targeting Minorities and the Poor
Maya Mirchandani The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it large-scale paranoia and panic. Existing divisions within society were quick to worsen – at the core of which were poor and minority communities.
The Growing (In)Significance of the Nobel Peace Prize
Saaransh Mishra Nobel laureates are meant to be harbingers of peace in this excruciatingly peaceless world that we inhabit. In order to set healthy precedents, the onus is on the Nobel Peace Committee to award this significant honour only to the ones that can leave a legacy for future generations to follow, and currently it…
Democratizing Art: How the Pandemic Has Transformed Art Spaces
Muskaan Kanodia Virtual Tours for Museums around the world were initially made for in-person support to make the galleries accessible and their experiences better. However, with a worldwide lockdown, the virtual experience has encouraged many of us to explore uncharted territories of art history and museums sitting at our desktops in pyjamas. This has made…
All Bets Are Off: Trust and Antitrust Among Large-Scale Corporations
Gauri Bhawkar The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how profitable large firms, such as Amazon and Facebook, can be even during times of global turmoil. Is there a check on how firms can become so all-encompassing such that consumers can’t avoid purchasing their products even if they tried – and what implications does this phenomena hold…
Alliance of new parties alone may not be enough: Mrinal Borah on Assam 2021
Jyotirmoy Talukdar With Assam elections due in April 2021 and the first phase beginning on 27th March, various parties aim at defeating the ruling BJP- alliance in the state. Currently, Akhil Gogoi, an Assam activist who has been in prison for more than a year continues to strongly influence Assam politics. Jyotirmoy Talukdar and Mrinal…
On Building A Virtual Therapeutic Relationship
Avantika Bhatia Rising mental health concerns are being increasingly recognized as a significant implication of the pandemic. Psychotherapists are on the frontline of providing support for these concerns while adjusting to the new online medium of conducting therapy. What does it mean to do therapy online? How can one establish a framework for therapy and…
Food Beyond the Mess: Why Campus Outlets are Invaluable to Indian Colleges
Devika Goswami The pandemic meant nearly a year-off campus for college students. Of the many things lost, the shared memory of food is difficult to measure and yet an important part of the college experience. How do campus outlets positively shape student life and support small business owners? How might the pandemic change this shared…
Where Fashion Trends Come from and Why You Should Care
Rujuta Singh While it might seem like fashion trends come out of nowhere, there is a method to the madness. These trends eventually permeate into all aspects of our lives in some form, whether we realize it or not.
Dating From A Distance
Harshita Bedi For the longest time we have been told that once we find that special someone, our life becomes better, happier and worth living. While many choose to disagree with this view, it cannot be denied that humans are social beings who have been collectively living in a society and mating. With the pandemic,…
Novak Djokovic: The Controversial Champion
Kartikay Dutta Novak Djokovic is a dangerous man to idolize, and a dilemma within himself. Everyone should want to be him, but nobody should. The border is too smudged for there to be a clear line down the middle — the Venn diagram of Djokovic the tennis star and the person has to be considered…
The Way We Were – Gossip (Or Lack Thereof) In A Pandemic
Akanksha Mishra Looking back, I realised most of my interactions with people through the pandemic have a key element missing. At the risk of sounding like a nosy aunty from your neighbourhood – where is the gossip?
Under the Precipice Rolls the Sea
Tanisha A When you’re working with a zero budget project, you have to rely on a lot of things outside of your control to capture a frame that tells the story you want it to tell, how you want it to.
WhatsApp With India’s Travel Plan?
Tisha Srivastav Tisha Srivastav writes on the first two months of a buzzing Indian WhatsApp group post-Lockdown. With zero fake news, it coordinated a spirited effort to rethink responsible travel in India.
Encounters with the Black Cloud
Deeksha Puri I wonder, am I the only one? It certainly does seem so when everyone else is seemingly coping fine.
Evaluating the Implications of Privatization in India’s COVID-19 Inoculation Drive
Anjana Ramesh India’s vaccination drive has witnessed considerable private sector involvement – from the development of vaccine candidates, to their mass-production. The recent announcement confirming the allowance of private distribution of vaccines has furthered this involvement. What implications does privatization of inoculation drives hold for India and its public healthcare capabilities?
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge On Zoom?
Ridhima Manocha The wedding industry in India has been the second largest wedding industries in the entire world and it’s estimated to be 50 billion dollars in India. However, with the onset of COVID-19, it came to a near halt as safety measures took the priority while a big fat wedding took the backseat. As…
Issue VIII: Editors’ Note
Still reeling from the financial losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India plunged into the new year shaken by widespread protests and environmental disasters while simultaneously hoping for economic revival. Ankur Bhardwaj explores the ramifications of the jump in India’s fiscal deficit from 3.5% to 9.5% of the GDP, in the Revised Estimates of the…
Budget 2021 and Fiscal Deficit: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Ankur Bhardwaj This steep revision in fiscal deficit estimates for the current financial year (2020-21) as one of the highlights of the Budget. If we take a closer look at fiscal deficit revision and the path the government wants to take in the future, we find three important points to underline – the good, the…
Wages for Housework: Giving Wives Their Due?
Ashwini Deshpande Since the suggestion is about valuing women’s work in India, a good starting point would be to explicitly recognize their contribution to household enterprises as workers, on the same footing as the men, and share the earnings from the household enterprise fairly.
Feminist Bollywood, Really?
Geetanjali Chanda It is common to witness individuals who are vocal about the misogyny that is prevalent within Bollywood music, to be seen tapping their toes to the same problematic lyrics on a dance floor. Is it ever okay to listen to music that is degrading to a particular gender? And if we do, does…
The Ineffectiveness and Brutality of Economic Sanctions
Saaransh Mishra The rational logic behind sanctions is that since actors are concerned about economic outcomes, they would be compelled to commit to certain behavioral norms as a result of expression of official displeasure through sanctions. Yet surprisingly, in a landmark study spearheaded by economist Gary Clyde Hufbauer showed the success rate of sanctions at…
Leading up to the Historic Mahapanchayat: Hindu-Muslim Relationship Since 2013 in West UP
Nakul Singh Sawhney What we do know is that the recent events at West UP will go a long way in healing and bringing back some peace in the troubled parts of West UP. Even personal relations between Hindus and Muslims will witness renegotiations. This is not to suggest that this changes everything. But each…
Racy Raj Tales: Miscegenation in British India
Ipshita Nath Recent feminist historiography has revealed that such rumours stemmed from biases and prejudices rather than actual realities, and were meant to perpetuate the fear of the ‘Other’ among the British officers/community/etc. in India. However, such notions served to deepen the prejudice against interracial marriages.
Whose History Is It Anyway? – A Call For Inclusive Heritage Conservation
Akanksha Mishra To create an environment where heritage is not only admired but lived in, conservation needs to be inclusive of the people and the culture that has sustained the very monument that is being preserved.
From Reddit to Revolution: How Memes Propel Movements
Aarohi Sharma The surge in GameStop stock drastically altered current understandings of the United States stock market. At the heart of this rise in stock value were disillusioned users on the internet, and countless memes. How was a movement propelled by internet memes – and what does that imply for our understanding of online spaces?
Translation As Preservation: Understanding the Worlds Within Languages
Pratiti and Ipsa Samaddar “A work of literature can become the voice of a people through its language.” Through this piece, members of Sandhi, Languages society at Ashoka delve into their process of translation from their mother tongue, Bangla to English.
Development: A Disaster in Disguise
Muskaan Kanodia In recent years, India’s trajectory mapping the disasters and calamities has gone up at an alarming rate. However, is it fair to dismiss and disregard them as acts of nature without bearing the responsibility of their occurrence? By increasing development projects in highly sensitive and fragile areas, will India’s economic policy be able…
Whose language is it anyway? A critique of linguistic imposition by the NEP
Swati Singh This article discusses the National Education Policy of 2020 and the implications of using the mother tongue as the medium of instruction up until primary schools, along with the exclusion of English from the NEP’s definition of languages native to India, through a personal and academic lens.
Why making money isn’t the Recipe for Social Change: A response to Manu Joseph’s suggestion for youngsters
Saman Fatima Following the arrest of Disha Ravi, Manu Joseph, a recognised journalist, and columnist for live mint magazine wrote an opinion piece, suggesting a plan of action for the ‘sound minded’ Indian youth, to truly bring about social change. Joseph not only critiqued various young Indians’ choices to be activists but also suggested they…
(Mis)leading Spotify Chart Toppers: What is India listening to?
Rohan Pai Spotify’s algorithmic mechanisms tend to create a deluding image of what is actually trending on the ground. Brown munde, a Punjabi song by AP Dhillon, has been a chart topper for nearly three months now. Alongside homegrown artist AP Dhillon is The Weeknd, an American pop singer who is currently #1 in the…
Digital Detox in Isolation
Ridhima Manocha At a time of the COVID pandemic when screen time is at an all-time high, a digital detox is being touted as a solution for mental well-being. But is it too late and futile to deprive yourself of all technologies?
Can Banksy Bring Dadaism Back To Life?
Shrishti Agrawal Banksy’s work, ranging from Kissing Coppers and Unwelcome Intervention to Hammer Boy and Girl with a Balloon, embraces social commentary through provocative visual depictions. But the true essence, the philosophy behind his art is often related to the 20th-century art movement, dadaism.
Queering Valentine’s Day: Navigating singlehood and ‘compulsory heterosexuality’
Roshan Roy Cultural expectations around Valentine’s day can be very choking. Since the culture around it is heterosexual in nature, it fails to cater to the needs of ‘other’ identities. This piece explores the question: Can there be a queer valentine’s day that celebrates not only multiple identities and sexualities but also singledom which is…
Boomers’ Guide to Gen Z: Intro to Texting 101
Devika Goswami Prerequisites: anyone who’s been hit with an “ok, boomer” or is still confused about why people keep texting “ded” after a joke. By the end of this piece, you will understand why Gen Z is so hell-bent on texting instead of calling, what in the world ‘ghosting’ even means and why that full-stop…
A Monochromatic Tug of War: A semiotic analysis of black and white in Black Swan
Nidhi Munot Black Swan is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece for its depiction of the obsessed artist. A closer look, however, reveals the utilization of color to add to its storytelling. How did color theory contribute to the cinematography of Black Swan—and what does it convey about its power in film?
Madhulika Agarwal SOPHIE’s loss is enormous for the music industry, but it is an even bigger loss for her family, friends and fans, whose lives SOPHIE coloured with compassion above everything else. They will live up to her legacy and keep honoring what was so close to her heart.
The Economy Of Stories
Varsha Ramachandran Why reimagine Juliet in 2020, as opposed to creating a new Desdemona or Laila or Heer? What about these particular characters makes us want to bring them to life again, albeit in a new socio-political scenario, or a reimagined world? I argue that it is our need for familiarity.
Issue VII: Editors’ Note
Straying from a long-standing tradition of burdening the New Year with all our hopes, dreams and expectations, with our first Issue of 2021, we bring you a newfound sense of cautious optimism. Aditya Burra revisits the recent test series between India and Australia to commemorate the heroics of Miya Bhai Mohammed Siraj whose grit paved…
Decoding the Union Budget 2021: Q&A with Professor Nishant Chadha
As Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget on 1st February 2021, setting India forward on the road to economic recovery, the writers of OpenAxis sat down with Professor Nishant Chadha to better understand the nuances of the Budget and its implications.
Bridgerton: A Regency Tale of Surveillance and Information Control
Ashana Mathur The Netflix latest show, Bridgerton displays how powerful a nexus between the media and mass surveillance can be. What is this nexus? What are its implications? And how has Republic TV emerged as India’s very own Lady Whistledown?
The Biden-Harris Campaign: Representation or Presentation?
Madhulika Agarwal Kamala Harris is widely popular for being one of the most progressive US politicians right now. She goes by the nicknames “Top Cop” and “Progressive Prosecutor”. According to her campaign, part of this “progressiveness” comes from the fact that unlike her colleagues, she is neither white, nor male. But, is that all that…
Godspeed, Miya Bhai
Aditya Burra Despite the “good other” comments that he attracts, or the vitriol that he has to face on social media, the identity of Mohammad Siraj, Miya Bhai is one that he wears proudly, defiantly, and effortlessly, one that is expressly similar to his bowling action
Road to Recovery: A Conversation on Covaxin with Prof. Gautam Menon
“Whenever one is administering a vaccine to a healthy person, one would like to know that it has been worth it. Does the vaccine, for example, provide protection against the disease to more than 50% of the population it is administered to?”
Creators, Creativity and Instagram: Are We Losing Ourselves to Social Media?
Rujuta Singh The more content you create and the more engagement you receive, the higher the reward. Striving for influencer levels of fame is only a natural progression in the Instagram addiction cycle.
Activity, Art and Activism: Anjali Dalmia’s Experiences as an Environmental Activist
“I think activism is very often taken in the wrong way that it’s just holding up signs and protesting or marching to places, but I would say that even education is a part of activism, state policies are a part of activism, even having conversations is part of activism. Activism just means being active, it…
The Violence We Inherit
Harshita Bedi With the current showcase of violence within the farmers’ protests, various views regarding ‘who is responsible’ for it have surfaced in the media. Does each view with regards to the violence witnessed in the protest have a history? Is there something hereditary about our views on violence as a country?
Who is Deciding What You Watch? Fiction and Move Towards New Indian Censorship
Ariba This act of taking decisions on behalf of the viewers, undermining creative freedom of the producers and digital space of the OTT platforms, restrains freedom of the consumers to access specific content and their right to critique. Are you really the one deciding what to watch?
Pets of the Pandemic
Vanishree Research indicates that the pandemic has showcased an increase in the adoption of pets, as a distraction from the uncertainty and discomfort. How has the relationship between the pet and the owner changed during the pandemic? And what impact does the opening up of the world and transiting back to life before COVID, have…
The Cost of the Cure: Understanding the Implications of India’s COVID-19 Inoculation Drive
Aarohi Sharma India’s vaccination program is in full swing. However, absence of trial data assuring the safety and efficacy of one of the vaccine candidates has attracted sharp criticism and created public apprehensions about the safety of the program. How did India’s vaccination program reach this point – and what implications does it hold for…
Regional Rap for a National Cause
Rohan Pai With Indian rappers carving out their own niches by choosing to represent and reach out to their people with regional vernacular, they provide a voice to the communities that were never heard before, while also instilling a sense of belonging to the larger community of India.
Taking from the Rich: Reddit, GameStop and the Consequences of Greed
Vibhor Garg The actual nature of power within market structures has been exposed, and it cannot be allowed to fade from public memory. The “free” market is a selectively free market.
“Mark as Read” to “Mark has Read”: Privacy Policies in India
Debayan Gupta One thing is very clear: individual-level policies are insufficient. Most people do not (and cannot be expected to) have a deep understanding of privacy issues – just like we don’t all have a deep understanding of food safety norms. Some kind of aggregated negotiation tactic, then, appears to be the only solution.
Farm Bills 2020 and The Future of The Indian Economy
Karantaj Singh Farmers have been protesting the newly passed farm bills across the country. But what exactly are the components of this bill and how can it potentially impact the future of the Indian economy?
Arnabgate, TRPs and What you need to know about the ‘Business’ of Journalism
Saman Fatima Fiery debates, screaming news anchors and a flurry of accusations or honest news and analysis—-what makes journalism sell?…
The White Tiger: Poverty Porn or Gritty Realism?
Shivani Deshmukh Adiga’s The White Tiger presents a cutting, throttling tale of class injustice. Renovated as a movie, it is caricatural and stereotypical, tailored to the Western Gaze.
Issue VI: Editors’ Note
Come December, we always look back at the year gone by – introspecting, making resolutions for the coming year, and subconsciously accepting that these promises won’t be followed through. 2020 has been different. We have seen the repercussions of being lax with our concerns about safety. We have had a lot to think about, much…
India and the World: Looking into 2021
Karantaj Singh India has witnessed economic downturn, unemployment and a pandemic. What does India’s economic standing mean for its position in the world?
Back to the Future: “Seamlessly” transitioning to a ‘Post-Covid World’
Students of Sociology, Ashoka University What might a transition – a seamless transition – into a ‘post-covid world’ look like? What exactly is “seamless?” And for whom is such a transition “seamless?
India’s Dominant Family Businesses Need Newer Challengers
Sundeep Khanna The tragedy is that going forward the Indian business world could end up looking more like that of the pre 1990s era when a handful of names reigned supreme. How and why did this happen?
Technology will change, but what about ethics?
Shrishti Agrawal Many of the ethical dilemmas we face today are an outcome of technology. While it is essential to use technology ethically, maybe we need to take a step back, and ask: Is it morally right or wrong to use it in the first place?
MSP: What has it Meant Historically and What does it Mean Now?
Amlan Bibhudatta 2020 has seen widespread farmer protests against proposed laws. What is the history of the contested issue? What are the perspectives for and against it?
2020: A year to forget or remember?
Rohit M Nair One must be wary before equating 2020 as solely the year of the pandemic: a flurry of natural disasters have quietly made their appearance in the background, declaring that climate change is here and now. Where do we go from here?
The Job Market in 2021
Zahabiya Kinkhabwala (Naukri.com) Unemployment has been the lowest in decades after companies laid-off and furloughed employees in record numbers in a crashing economy. With the economy in a constant state of flux and the uncertainty of the job market and remote working conditions, anxiety about employment is high, especially for new graduates entering the workforce.…
Indie Films You Probably Missed and Must Watch
Utkarsh Bansal Edited by Tanvi Achwal Even without theatres, 2020 had a constant flow of movies to watch. Inevitably, some of the smaller releases slipped through the cracks. Here are five recommendations to remedy that!
Garden of Feedin’
Deepti Jayakrishnan I’m living a lifestyle that’s been meticulously organized into little unhealthy blocks. Every day is the same day, and that day is Self-Love Saturday. How far can I take my pursuit of umami without crossing the limits of self-care?
Rethinking Productivity: A necessary reappraisal after 2020
Nirvik Thapa The pandemic has challenged what we knew about ourselves. Isolation may have hindered our productivity and well-being, but has it also forced us to revise our notions about these otherwise unnoticed aspects of daily life?
Politics of Viewership : What can Patriotic Films Tell Us?
Jaskiran Gill With differences in government, have our conceptions of patriotism evolved? What explains the shift in storytelling on screen?
What was Fashionable in 2020
Isha Deshmukh When we think of the fashion industry and COVID, we think of malls and fashion shows. What other elements does the industry consist of? Here we examine ways in which 2020 affected and changed the fashion industry in ways that haven’t been heavily discussed.
Book Review: How to Make the World Add Up by Tim Harford
Samyukta Prabhu Through ten simple rules, Tim Harford breaks down how one can question and understand the data presented in everyday news.
How Can Environmental Movements Be Successful?
Mehek Bhargava With the climate crisis upon our heads, it has become even more important to urgently mobilize people. How have recent environmental movements garnered interest and what role does social media play in their success?
Issue V: Editor’s Note
On October 16, Samuel Paty, a history teacher, was beheaded by a Muslim man in Paris, France, over his use of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on the freedom of speech. On October 29, three church goers were also stabbed to death by a Tunisian man in Nice. These…
Aritro Sarkar Diego Maradona stood with the world at his feet, driven to his exalted status globally pretty much through his ridiculous talent and skill alone.
Understanding the French Principle of Laïcité
Shrishti Agrawal While the principle of laïcité was intended to instill secularism in France, it was created at a time when the French Constitution did not need to worry about the practices of many religions. Although the complete removal of religion from public spaces may have worked in the past, growing religious and cultural tensions…
Bidenomics For America and The World
Karantaj Singh President elect Joe Biden seems to have very different views from President Donald Trump on most socio-political issues, and his economic policies seem to be very different as well. So what will Bidenomics mean for America and the world?
A case for caution: India’s path to economic recovery
Rochak Jain The problem facing the Indian economy is threefold- demand has dipped significantly, inflation is rising and the supply chain has been disrupted. How steep is the road to recovery and how may we be able to walk it?
Dosa: A Culinary Marvel
Shrishti Agrawal The Dosa is a culinary gift from South Indian cuisine that has become a popular breakfast snack all across India. Although debates about the origin continue to persist, what most can agree upon is that the Dosa is not similar to a pancake or crepe.
A Stymied Transition: How the Class of 2023 is adapting to ‘college life’ online
Mansi Ranka The class of 2023 had their life plans upturned right when school got over. After finally getting into colleges, for them, all of ‘college-life’ has only been available through screens. How have they made it work online?
The compass of war is centered right at home.
Sanya Chandra While aerial surveillance may hint at the future of warfare, it also hints at the future of humanity. Drones reveal how.
Is COVID over? – Why we have stopped talking about COVID-19
Isha Deshmukh The world is seeing yet another major wave of COVID-19 infections with many countries re-enforcing lockdowns. While the virus continues to dominate our lives, it seems to have stopped dominating our conversations. Why have we stopped talking about COVID?
Family Law: UAE’s New Marketing Strategy
Karantaj Singh ‘Progressive’ isn’t the first word that comes to mind when speaking about the Middle East. But the recent changes made in the UAE family laws, shows that the country is adapting to norms of the 21st century.
‘It’s only words’ – The Normalisation of Hate Speech
Purnima Mehrotra Until recently, Love-Jihad was just another popular phrase used as hate speech. But with it now having informed the creation of unimaginable divisive and intrusive marriage laws, it is time to reexamine the impact of this vitriol on our lives. Is hate speech just that — only words? Or is it something much…
The Dichotomy Of Constitutional and Social Morality In India
Aradhya Sharma Despite being a relatively conservative nation, India houses many progressive laws. How do these laws come about and are they actually able to thrive within India’s conservative culture?
Editor’s Note: Issue 4
Image: REUTERS/Mark Makela (All credits to the owners) CNN’s Van Jones broke down with tears of relief on live TV, minutes after President-Elect Biden was projected as the winner of the election. The basic decency and empathy in Biden’s victory speech were jarring as it finally faced us with the vitriol that President Trump had…
Maya Mirchandani America breathes a sigh of relief and joy on the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President elect, narrowly defeating incumbent President Donald Trump. But what does the path forward look like in a country with deep fissures made apparent in the election?
A Vaccine isn’t The End – Distributional Challenges Lie Ahead
Pravish Agnihotri Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are nearing their release for public usage. But availability is just the beginning. How does the distribution look like in terms of prioritisation and infrastructure? Who gets it first and how will it reach them?
The Infamous Smog: Crop burning and much more
Hiteshi Ajmera Year after year, almost every newspaper prints scathing columns condemning the smog that settles in the Delhi-NCR region due to crop burning. Why do farmers continue to burn crops? Is the smog caused solely due to crop burning?
OTT Platforms: What controls the content we watch?
Sanya Chandra The libraries of content available on OTT platforms make your choices feel seemingly limitless. But do you freely choose what you are going to watch? Can someone influence your content choices?
China’s Vaccine Diplomacy: Strategic Ascension to Global Power?
S D Sreeganga Arkalgud Ramaprasad Take a look at how Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy may pan out in the midst of the current pandemic.
The COVID-19 Vaccine: Will It Flatter To Deceive?
Dr. Kasturi Pal Are vaccines truly key for our survival in the COVID era? What are the most promising vaccines in the pipelines to combat the coronavirus pandemic? Let us find out what makes an efficacious vaccine trigger a robust anti-viral immunity.
TRP Or News? The Existentialist Dilemma of News Channels.
Aradhya Sharma The TRP system is killing the quality of TV News. Is it time to shift away from consumer based metrics?
How a Jailed Activist Continues to Influence Assam’s Politics: Conversations Regarding Akhil Gogoi
Jyotirmoy Talukdar How has Akhil Gogoi continued to remain one of the most relevant figures in Assam’s politics even today?
The Next Stage
Abhinaya Penneswaran The lack of a physical setting for performance art due to the pandemic has led to the creation of a new stage for artists and performers.
The 5G Conundrum: Can we achieve carbon neutrality?
Nirvik Thapa Global internet usage is responsible for 1.7 million tonnes of annual emissions. The advent of 5G might exacerbate this.
Reforming Antitrust Law To Regulate Big Tech
Samyukta Prabhu The economics of Google and Amazon seem to fundamentally differ from regular brick-and-mortar stores. Can we factor this into antitrust law? Or are monopolies inevitable in the tech world?
Busting Kangana’s Myths: The Science of Mental health
Aradhya Sharma Kanagana’s recent tweets are proof of how little the average Indian understands mental health and its science. Here is a short crash course.
Uncovering Recovery from COVID-19
Mansi Ranka Behind every single statistic is a person. What has going through it all and recovering from COVID been like? We look at some personal stories!
Issue III: Editors’ Note
What did coronavirus, the border clashes and the ban of many apps do for the Indian people? They made discussions surrounding China everyday and commonplace. And yet, we still approach the topic in a myopic manner. The mainstream gaze refracts China under the lens of war, economics, diplomatic relations, concerns about democracy among others. Is…
China’s Kintsugi: How it filled cracks in India’s diplomacy, gaining influence in South Asia
Nirvik Thapa India’s neighbours have been leaning more towards China and this has put the kibosh on India’s influence in South Asia. What have been the conspicuous and strategic shifts that have put the northern giant in a position that India was once in?
Forget the Rhetoric: India cannot be the next China!
Karantaj Singh It is going to take a lot of planning, spending and sacrifice if India is going to even be a contender for becoming the world’s factory. The country has abundant raw material and a mammoth working population, but falls short on investments and planning.
AI Could Be China’s Next Big Foreign Policy Tool
Pravish Agnihotri China has ramped up its investment in the development of AI surveillance technologies and has also begun exporting them. What does this mean for Chinese foreign policy?
How the Economics Nobel Laureates help us Understand the Way the World Works
Samyukta Prabhu Does the ‘dismal science’ have any bearing on our lives? Here are a few insights from Nobel-winning economists to help us model our way through the world.
Tanishq: Victim of an uncontrollable beast
Anant Rangaswami After being bashed on social media for promoting ‘love jihad’, jewellery brand Tanishq took down their advertisement depicting an inter-faith marriage. A look at the process of news generation and its use of social media shows that this controversy is not a one-off event, but part of a larger systemic problem.
Everyday Forms of Geopolitics
Swargajyoti Gohain We think geopolitics is all about international politics, where nations and national governments are involved. Yet, geopolitics can also shape the personal and social lives of individuals and communities. The geographical location of the border influences decisions about marriage, local elections, commercial exchanges, cultural expressions, regional unities and transnational affiliations.
Putting Civil Society In Its Place
Ingrid Srinath The government seemed to appreciate civil society’s humanitarian response to the pandemic, but the recent amendments to India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act are ill-conceived, ill-timed and probably ill-intentioned. What explains this contradiction?
Louise Glück Wins a Prize She Never Needed
Kanishk Devgan Louise Glück recently won the Nobel Prize in literature. Does she really need it, though? And what of all those who say she doesn’t deserve it?
Divorced from Reality: Why are we attracted to the Disinformation Ecosystem?
Purnima Mehrotra No matter how many times scientific evidence refutes these new and old claims/conspiracy theories and fake news, legions of people continue to believe in them. What makes the false information ecosystem so pervasive and appealing?
Stoned, Shamed, Depressed – A Conversation with author Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava
Isha Deshmukh Young minds have now become more overwhelmed than ever with social media generating our sense of self and technology assuring us a place in the status charts. How do we deal with impressionable teenagers being exposed to virtues and vices that even adults have difficulty navigating?
Remembering Eddie – 6 Essential Songs
Shaayak Chatterjee Eddie Van Halen brought joy to rock and roll. An idol for an entire generation, he broke the stereotype that virtuosos should always be brooding characters. Twenty days after his death, here are six songs to define his legacy.
Do Social Media Protests Amount To Anything In India?
Isha Deshmukh #DalitLivesMatter is the latest in a series of Indian hashtag protests. But these hashtags are temporary as is the memory of the event that spawned them. Online social movements are more popular than ever. What challenges does India face in adopting these movements? Do they have a lasting impact or are they simply…
A Life on Our Planet: an appeal to all of us, on nature’s behalf
Shrishti Agrawal David Attenborough’s witness statement, A Life on Our Planet, isn’t just another story about the global decline of the natural world. It could create collective consciousness towards the environment and bring about change, if we let it.
Issue II: Editor’s Note
As we continue living our lives online, we are forced to confront and challenge our world through our screens. We debate and deliberate over real-world politics and elections, moderated and manoeuvred by the rules of the internet. With the potential to consume the content of the world, and the ability to have the world as…
Liberalization at the Margins in Hard Times
Bann Seng Tan Trump’s America First doctrine is considered as an invalidation of the United States’ commitment to democracy promotion. However, Trump does not represent a fundamental break in US foreign policy. There is no Golden Age of democracy promotion to harken back to.
Culture Wars: When Private Goes Public
Deep Vakil The revolution of social media in culture wars has been likened to that of industrial weapons technology in conventional warfare. Some of the strategies and tactics deployed are justified by inflating the political stakes to such an extent that no means seem morally unjustified.
Humans v. AI: How automated decision making is a game changer for legal liability
Arushi Massey What can the self-driving car crashes teach us about ethics and responsibility in the digital age? Are the trends shifting legal liability away from Big Tech? Can the State regulate? The intersection of law and technology poses new problems for moral philosophy, legal scholars and regulators. Product Liability may hold the answer.
Am I my Map? Cartography and Reworking Identity
Sanya Chandra Cartography creates an ‘India’ on paper while simultaneously conversations, laws and political mechanisms create the ‘Indian’ in our minds. While robust borders and stagnant maps reinforce security, should we be conscious of them?
Bringing The Boys to Life in Trump’s America
Karantaj Singh Blonde hair, white male, cheeky smile, self-obsessed, xenophobic, erratic, and a public image built over love for his country. Is Homelander Donald Trump in a cape?
How COVID-19 is adding to the existing NPA crisis in India
Shrishti Agrawal The crisis of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) has been looming over the Indian banking sector for a while now. Since lockdowns are being imposed in the country as a means to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, will the sudden slowdown of the economy drive the crisis to its brink?
To End or Not to End Privacy
Debayan Gupta Should governments be given a key to encrypted software? Can we manage to keep this key hidden from hackers? Let’s explore the role of encryption in the privacy and security of our digital lives.
Give Me Liberty, COVID, or Cow Urine
Isha Deshmukh COVID-19 has already claimed more than a million lives. Despite the very real threat, people continue to politicise the virus, deny it and spread baseless facts and treatments. What has happened to our scientific temperament in a time when we needed it most?