India’s mainstream national media has “predominantly two modes of representing Adivasis”, writes Akash Poyam in the Caravan magazine. “They are either represented through a racist lens – in which Adivasi dance, dress and culture are exoticised – or their stories are presented through narratives of pity and victimhood.”

Even in states with large Adivasi populations, such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, “local newspapers are filled with celebrations of Hindu festivals, while Adivasi festivals find no space in them”.

But a new wave of Adivasi media platforms is challenging this misrepresentation and invisibilisation of Adivasi communities, Poyam writes, “by defining journalism on their own terms.”

Read the piece here.

The Omicron threat

In the past week, as Omicron overtook Delta to become the dominant coronavirus variant in the United States, essays published in The Atlantic capture the confusion of the moment.

Ed Yong, the science journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for his explanatory writing on the Covid-19 pandemic, wrote about why he decided to cancel his 40th birthday celebrations in the wake of the Omicron wave. More pointedly, another piece co-authored by Yong with Katherine J Wu and Sarah Zhang cautioned against taking Omicron lightly: “A milder but more transmissible virus can spread so aggressively that it ultimately causes more hospitalizations and deaths.”

But political scientist Yascha Mounk took a contrarian view: “Scientists have their own way of deciding that a pandemic is over. But one useful social-scientific marker is when people have gotten used to living with the ongoing presence of a particular pathogen.”

“By that definition, the massive surge of Omicron infections that is currently coursing through scores of developed countries without eliciting more than a half-hearted response marks the end of the pandemic,” Mounk writes.

Read the pieces by Yong and others here and here. Read the piece by Mounk here.

Tainted drugs

An investigation by independent journalist Priyanka Pulla, published in Mint, has uncovered shocking gaps in India’s drug regulatory system.

During the deadly second wave of Covid-19 in the summer, when patients were being indiscriminately given the antiviral drug remdesivir, over a dozen hospitals across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar reported patients falling seriously sick after they received the medicine. “The batches and formulations overlapped, and the manufacturer was always Cadila,” Pulla writes.

But only the Bihar regulator tested a contaminated batch and found it contained bacterial endotoxins. The Gujarat regulator, which was responsible for ensuring drugs produced in Cadila’s manufacturing units in the state were safe, neither tested the tainted batches, nor it seems asked for their withdrawal.

Read the piece here.

The crisis in philosophy

In Aeon magazine, Chris Daly, a professor of philosophy, takes head on the question of philosophy’s lack of progress. “The contrast between science, which had a much later start date, and philosophy is striking. Philosophers can’t even agree about what they’ve achieved, other than remorseless argument and debate,” he writes, and then goes on to propose five answers to the question of why ​​philosophical problems resist solutions.

Read the piece here.