Weapons of the Weak? RTI and the story of Mangla Ram

Mangla Ram being carried on a stretcher by volunteers of the Dalit Atyachar Nivaran Samiti in Barmer, Rajasthan. (First published in Governance Now, issue dated September 1, 2011) Three magic wands–Right to Information, social audits and the Lokpal–have been offered as the means to fight corruption in the largely urban middle-class discourse. However, the questionContinue reading “Weapons of the Weak? RTI and the story of Mangla Ram”

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”