Weekend Reads

  1. A piece in the BBC by Sanjoy Chakravorty, based on his new book, suggests that the caste system as we know it today was “shaped” by the British. The article prompted much discussion and debate, as with this Twitter thread by Ananya Chakravarti.
  2. Pavan Dahat reports for HuffPost on how organisations set up by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena are allegedly siphoning off funds meant for cattle in drought-hit Maharashtra.
  3. Why are so many children dying in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur? T Jacob John writes in the Hindu about identifying the disease that is responsible for these deaths and adds that it is little errors that compound and result in deaths – glucometers not being maintained, doctors not being trained, the wrong dosage given, ambulances taking the patients to far-away big hospitals instead of nearby clinics.
  4. “My daughter recently celebrated her birthday,” writes Pa Ranjith in Firstpost. “This birthday, I wanted to write something for her. I wanted to tell her: ‘You see everyone as they are. Ten years later, I am not sure if you will still see everyone and everything as they are. By the time you grow up, things would have changed drastically. But now, a Dalit is being fed human feces. A couple has been drowned because their families do not accept their relationship. Both of these incidents have taken place in the span of three days, when I have sat down to write something for you.’”
  5. India has 75,000 public libraries, but we have little understanding of how much money is spent on them. B Preedip Balaji, Mohan Raju JS and Vinay MS in Indiaspend give us a glimpse into their research of how much money goes into this system.
  6. “Simply put, Kodumanal saw to it that the ancients were dressed to kill and armed to the teeth.” Zac O’Yeah, writing in the Hindu, tells us about a visit to a nondescript village near Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu, which was an important centre of commerce in ancient times.
  7. “Are Foreigners Tribunals being given targets to meet in terms of the number of persons they declare foreigners?” Vakasha Sachdev in the Quint raises urgent questions about Assam’s Foreigner Tribunals, building on the reporting of Scroll.in’s Arunabh Saikia.
  8. Casey Newton in the Verge writes a horrifying, graphic story about what it is like to be a moderator for Facebook, where each person has to screen the most depraved, violent, unpalatable content so that it doesn’t reach our screens, often leading to severe mental illnesses and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  9. “I’ve always understood the core principle of anarchism to be the recognition that structures of domination and control are not self-justifying. They carry a burden of proof, and when that cannot be met, as is commonly the case, they should be dismantled.” Scott Casleton in the Boston Review talks to Noam Chomsky about “socialism, anarchism, and the fight for progress in US politics today.”
  10. This isn’t a “read” per se, but the New York Times’ daily podcast, called The Daily, did a whole week’s worth of episodes on the rise of populism in Europe, coming to the conclusion that what is in danger is not the European Union but the very idea of democracy automatically being “liberal”.