Daughters in the mill

[First published in Frontline magazine in October 2007] Thousands of teenaged girls are exploited for labour in the textile mills of Tamil Nadu “Earn Rs.40,000. Work as an apprentice for three years,” said the bold print in Tamil on the colour pamphlet. This was “a unique opportunity for young women”, it said. There were otherContinue reading “Daughters in the mill”

From a warrior's withered memory

Kuppusamy Andal is 84 and can no longer recollect the heady days of the Second World War when she and her husband dug trenches and hid in them while the Japanese hurled bombs targeting their house. A native of Sivakasi, she migrated with her husband to Singapore soon after marriage in 1940. Along with thousandsContinue reading “From a warrior's withered memory”

The case of the disenfranchised

The last time Vishnu Tavudu went to the polling booth was 26 years ago. He vividly recalls the days when Telugu Desam leader N.T. Rama Rao held sway over the people in his village on the Andhra Pradesh-Orissa border. This 86-year-old has not cast his vote since, as his family took up construction work inContinue reading “The case of the disenfranchised”

Law college violence – the ground reality

The recent clash between groups of students at the Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College has brought campus politics under a shadow of disapproval. Facts that have emerged thus far reveal that caste-based political mobilisation was taking place inside the campus for a long time. Ahead of the Thevar Jayanthi celebrations on October 30, students belonging toContinue reading “Law college violence – the ground reality”

They turn rags into riches

Kantamma is up for work every morning before the sun. She treads barefoot the 12-km distance from home to her workplace, geared with a plastic sack and a long pointed metal rod. She stops on her way at every street corner, rummaging the piles of garbage for something worthwhile. The woman is a rag pickerContinue reading “They turn rags into riches”