/2021

Why Modi and Shah Fear Young Activists


NDTV.com

Why would the Indian state arrest a twenty-one-year-old woman activist who seeks a cleaner and safer planet? Should not the country want young people to look beyond their narrow personal interests to the interests of society at large? Why did our Government lock up a young citizen seeking to build a better future for herself and [...]

The Moral Evolution of Mohandas K Gandhi


The Telegraph

The American writer Louis Fischer is best known for his book The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, which Richard Attenborough drew upon while making his award-winning film of 1982. Fischer’s book was published in 1949, a year after Gandhi’s assassination. Seven years previously, he had written a much slimmer (and now far less well known) volume entitled [...]

In Praise of Archives and Archivists


The Telegraph

In the third week of January 2020—exactly a year ago—I was in New Delhi, working in the collections of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. I first discovered the archival riches of the NMML in the early 1980s, and explored them most fully while living in Delhi between 1988 and 1994. In those years I would [...]

A Man to Match His Mountains


from the Introduction to The Chipko Movement by Shekhar Pathak

I first came across Shekhar Pathak’s name in the files of the Uttar Pradesh State Archives in Lucknow. The year was 1983, and I was working on a dissertation on the social history of forests in the Uttarakhand Himalaya. In those days the U.P. State Archives were well run; the files one ordered came to one’s [...]

Making Indian Cities Habitable – The Legacy of Patrick Geddes


India Forum

‘India lives in her villages’, said Mahatma Gandhi, and that maxim of his has been resolutely followed by Indian environmentalists. From celebrated popular struggles like the Chipko Andolan and the Narmada Bachao Andolan to quieter, more low-key work in rehabilitating village tanks and pastures, the environmental movement in India has been substantially focused on the countryside. [...]