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.
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.
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.
Tanvi Rupakula reviews the Korean space western movie, Space Sweepers, set in 2092 AD.
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 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.
Open Axis takes a historical stroll uniting nature and film.
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?
Can mankind learn to use technology to respect nature? OpenAxis examines this via Studio Ghibli’s first-ever production.
Open Axis scrutinizes Ecoflix for the global wildlife viewer.
With Netflix’s new animation movie out, a look at the pros and cons of portraying animal species like us.
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?
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
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 […]
Cefil Joseph Soans
Authors are collaborating creatively on the internet as NFTs. But can NFT go from guzzler to green?
Did Youtube’s literary community fail to produce CoP26-inspired reading lists and create unsustainable haul videos instead? Open Axis examines BookTube.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mukul Sharma in conversation with Professor K. Sivaramakrishnan in 2011, on his then new book Green and Saffron: Hindu Nationalism and Indian Environmental Politics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How exactly does a self-trained naturalist revive a degraded edge of town? Pradip Krishen tells Open Axis in an eye-opening chat.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
Through the tale of Nutmeg, Amitav Ghosh makes a strong case of what must be done to survive the planetary crisis & come out thriving.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Aritro Sarkar discusses the growing tide of climate issues washing over electoral politics in Europe’s strongest economy, with three German voters.
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 […]
Isha Pareek navigates the journey of two urban Indian eco-activists, as they champion causes and communities, contours and blind spots of environmental justice.
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?
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 very idea of confinement. How do we rethink them?
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 include credit-based courses and projects in the areas of… forest and wildlife conservation.” Yet it does not seem to bat for field-based learning to be mandatory in such courses. University professors, students and professionals employed in the wildlife sector, discuss with Ishita Ahuja.
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 […]
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!
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.
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 to walk.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 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, it would be detrimental to all actors involved.
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 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.
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 online harassment, in its volume and content, different for women than for men? What are the impacts of it on women, their work and their freedom of expression?
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.
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 place in the international community. With only 100 days of his term completed Biden has taken some notable steps towards meeting his agendas.
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 afford to interrupt other ‘essential’ medical services in times of a pandemic like Coronavirus?
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 a step in the right direction for the GoI’s plans. However, it is crucial to examine whether India is prepared to host these initiatives and if we can provide the right environment for these developments.
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?
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 from the mainstream narrative on girlhood?
By Aarohi Sharma
Why do people tend to deny climate change – and what does this denial represent?
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 features of the Constitution and must be protected at all costs.
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 by Indian gig workers over the course of the pandemic, and examines what lies ahead.
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?
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?
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 be able to recover from the Anti-CAA sentiment and discontentment?
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, […]
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?
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.
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 to avert any emergencies in the foreseeable future, by working in tandem to ensure sustainable provision of the basic necessity
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 seen as a ‘threat’? Why does such a strong majority feel the need to ban symbols of an already weak minority?
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 nearly impossible to extend these conversations to the realm of national politics.
Decimating the Ego: Exploring the Discourse Around Dreams, Drugs and the ‘Trip’ to Scientific Discovery
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 establish contact with people while they were lucid dreaming, has reignited the interest of people in the science of dreaming. What are the implications of this experiment? Can it help us hack into our unconscious minds and change the way we think about art, literature and science?
Does imagining perfect worlds serve our present or our future, or do utopias simply set us up for disappointment and failure?
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.
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?
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 alternative planet if this one fails.
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 some historical instances of academic freedom, or the lack thereof, in different countries around the world at different times.
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?
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 address larger issues such as lack of infrastructure or restrictive social stigmas, both of which are systemic problems in maintaining menstrual hygiene in India.
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 sponsor companies, the influence of PR teams, football organizations and countries present several possible explanations for the relatively low amount of condemnation that the tournament has received from players.
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 new mRNA vaccine technology is important.
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.
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 yet to be done, in space and on Earth.
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.
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 dance reality TV shows have become more common, and dancers have steadily gained celebrity status. This shift in perception can be credited to various reasons, one of the principal ones being Remo D’Souza.
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.
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. […]
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 in a post-pandemic world of work have been put forward by many organizations
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 left in India?
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 interest in perpetuating heteronormative relationships is as much about self-preservation, as it is about protecting a particular cultural identity.
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.
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 be just and fair?
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.
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 is miserably failing at that.
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 previously inaccessible museums and galleries a more democratic and inclusive space. However, what lies ahead this road is to see whether this continues to be the case in the post-COVID world.
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 for economic systems across the world?
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 Borah sit together to discuss the impact of Akhil Gogoi and the future of Assam politics.
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 build a relationship with the client while working across a screen?
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 experience of food?
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.
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, the need for human connection was sought to be satisfied. How has the world of dating adapted to the pandemic? What is different about online dating now?
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 one circle, as it sadly must be for those who come under the critical eye of the public. It is the legacy he must live with.
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?
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.
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.
I wonder, am I the only one? It certainly does seem so when everyone else is seemingly coping fine.
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?
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 we complete a year since the lockdown, the weddings are yet to be back to normal. In this piece, we revisit how couples and companies coped in the face of pandemic, and what then is the possible future of the wedding industry.
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 […]
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 bad and the ugly.
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.
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 that make us less of a feminist? Are we truly #SmashingThePatriarchy?
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 a meagre 34% in the 116 examined cases since 1914. A further reanalysis of the same data by political scientist Robert Pape pins the figure at an abysmal 4%.
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 of these steps count for something.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 to ensure any sustainable growth? Or will the environment continue to be exploited for short term monetary gains?
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
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 would serve the country better if they found jobs, started on a ‘doomed business’ and aided the economy instead of “fighting battles they do not understand.”
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 world on Spotify, and Arijit Singh. But is this what India is listening to?
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?
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.
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 overlooked by our heteronormative world? After all, love does not have one meaning. Love begins when you set out to understand yourself and counter these structures that govern our societies.
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 might be making your texts sound a tad bit insincere to the Gen Z-er in your life.
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?
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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?
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 there is to her?
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
“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?”
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.
“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 means being an active citizen.”
Do you think of history beyond cliched images of forlorn academicians sifting through tomes and archives? If not, perhaps you should.
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?
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 on this relationship?
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 the future of medical treatments in the country?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Fiery debates, screaming news anchors and a flurry of accusations or honest news and analysis—-what makes journalism sell? What makes news sensational and how does the business of television journalism work? These are questions that most of us asked after Republic TVs TRP scandal, Arnab’s WhatsApp chat leak and the BARC chiefs chilling confessions.
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.
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 has witnessed economic downturn, unemployment and a pandemic. What does India’s economic standing mean for its position in the 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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. Here, experts from naukri.com explain the predicted trends of the job market and how to stay prepared for the same.
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!
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?
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?
With differences in government, have our conceptions of patriotism evolved? What explains the shift in storytelling on screen?
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.
Through ten simple rules, Tim Harford breaks down how one can question and understand the data presented in everyday news.
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?
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 […]
Diego Maradona stood with the world at his feet, driven to his exalted status globally pretty much through his ridiculous talent and skill alone.
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 have raised many questions with regards to this French notion.
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?
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?
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.
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?
While aerial surveillance may hint at the future of warfare, it also hints at the future of humanity. Drones reveal how.
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?
‘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.
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 more insidious, especially in the age of social media, WhatsApp and hyper-nationalism?
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?
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 […]
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?
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?
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?
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?
S D Sreeganga
Take a look at how Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy may pan out in the midst of the current pandemic.
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.
The TRP system is killing the quality of TV News. Is it time to shift away from consumer based metrics?
How has Akhil Gogoi continued to remain one of the most relevant figures in Assam’s politics even today?
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.
Global internet usage is responsible for 1.7 million tonnes of annual emissions. The advent of 5G might exacerbate this.
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?
Kanagana’s recent tweets are proof of how little the average Indian understands mental health and its science. Here is a short crash course.
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!
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 […]
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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?
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?
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.
#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 fads?
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
Girl in White Cotton is a story that revels in its ordinariness. It proceeds in such a way that by the time one is done reading, it feels like it’s time to read it again.
Ever since Trump became President, the international reputation of the United States seems to be in free-fall. During the elections in November, what all is at stake?
What could be the security implications of the new National Digital Health Mission? Will security and privacy policies be followed? If not, why should we be worried?
Most of the social media apps are based on the psychology of persuasion and more dangerously, addiction. This type of learned behavior is extremely difficult to extinguish and can lead to extreme polarization amongst other well-being concerns.
Aftermath of the Hathras case has revealed the problem with savarna feminism and anti-caste allyship — hypocrisy and tokenism. So what should genuine anti-caste allyship look like?
In the 16th issue of OpenAxis, our writers will give you a glimpse into the unique ways of expressing environmental ideas – covering all bases, from graphic novels to eco-poetry.
All the good girls go to hell: A Soul-Stirring Yet Undeniably Catchy Single By Breakthrough Singer-Songwriter Billie Eilish
Meera Anand recommends a song that draws a grim picture of what the world might look like unless our leaders come to a consensus on taking proper climate action.
Meera Anand recommends a web series our COP-26 leaders could do well to watch. An eight-parter on the cusp of environmental degradation and what coming together can mean.