Class fault lines are as deep as ever!

Luxury townships, modest buildings, and slums share space in an immensely crowded city. Affordable housing remains a distant dream in Mumbai.

It is 2018 and the bridging of the gaps is yet to be done.
The class fault lines are as deep as ever!

Are Dalits “Others” ? Ask Indian Cinema

Dalits and caste discrimination have been frequent subjects in Indian cinema, from Achhut Kanya (1936) to Sairat (2016). The general consensus about these films is positive, that they are courageous attempts to deal with an issue that has stubbornly refused to be resolved, and will probably continue to resist resolution for the foreseeable future. Still, it would be useful to look at the representation of Dalits in Indian films, because it informs our point of view on social victimhood in this country, and stretches beyond the big-screen, into every aspect of culture.In Indian cinema, one often find victimhood treated differently, which is true of the portrayal of Dalits as well. The tendency is to show the Dalit victim protagonist as belonging to a monolithic category transacting only with those outside.A common issue here is that of the forbidden inter-caste romance in which one of the lovers is Dalit.

Achhut Kanya

Caste related tweet lands twitter CEO in hot water

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey’s first visit to India had been going so well. He got to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi (an avid Tweeter with 44.5 million followers), “King of Bollywood” Shah Rukh Khan (36.8 million followers), and the Dalai Lama (18.8 million followers). Then a single tweet, to “smash brahmanical patriarchy”,  had him being accused of hate mongering. There was talk of an Indian boycott of Twitter, and even of developing a rival Indian platform like China’s Weibo. A senior parliamentary official saw a case to prosecute Dorsey for attempting “to destabilise the nation”. A court in the northern state of Rajasthan ordered a police investigation. The poster was given to Dorsey by Sanghapali Aruna, an activist for the rights of Dalits, the bottom most group in the Indian caste system. The controversy resulting demonstrates just how potent caste remains, and how blind to it are the multinational corporations eyeing off the Indian market.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with the controversial poster


Class divide decides how India’s youth use the web, says new study

Despite affordable smart phones having taken the market by storm and more Indians being online, the internet is hardly a level playing field-  as is reflected in the usage patterns. Surveys have shown that watching videos and using streaming services have become the norm, but this does not capture the reality of how millions of Indians use the internet. An interactive website is changing perceptions. Life in a Metro, the site showcases a day in the life of an ordinary Indian who can’t always afford wifi-enabled cafes when the internet isn’t available. It uses the example of lower middle-class college student in the IT hub of Pune, Maharashtra.

Designed and researched by Rahul Advani, a PhD student at King’s College London, Advani wanted to see how the world’s largest youth population engages with the internet. “I wanted to know if there is anything they’re doing on the internet that’s very different from how social media is used in other countries where there’s been a much longer history of Facebook and WhatsApp and things like that,” the 27-year-old researcher, who moved to Pune briefly for his research in 2016, told Quartz.


Drone photos capture the staggering inequality in Mumbai

Mumbai’s startling inequality presents itself in a variety of ways. It is visible when driving down the busy roads and from the windows of its suburban trains—swanky high-rises often stand in proximity to a sprawling network of shanties. But the clearest view of the disparity comes from up in the sky. It was from this vantage point that photographer Johnny Miller recently trained his lens on Mumbai. His images, focusing on Dharavi, Mahim, and the Bandra Kurla Complex, show a dense and divided city with clear lines separating the poor from the rich.

Luxury townships, modest buildings, and slums share space in an immensely crowded city. Affordable housing remains a distant dream in Mumbai.