Between the bathroom and the kitchen, there is caste

First published in Scroll.in on 1 December 2014.

A new survey shows that untouchability is still rampant in India. This is important because many like to pretend caste is a thing of the past.

The survey of over 42,000 households across India by the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the University of Maryland shows that 27% of India still practices untouchability. More than one in every four people.

Even in rural India, there is awareness that caste discrimination is politically incorrect. So if you ask people if they practice it, they will probably claim that they don’t. Travelling as a journalist in north India, I have often heard people say, “Here there is no caste.” Ask them specific questions about inter-caste relations, and the lie is exposed. Continue reading “Between the bathroom and the kitchen, there is caste”

Why Dalit radicals don’t want Arundhati Roy to write about Ambedkar

For Scroll.in on 12 March 2014

As blogs and social media took India by the storm in the mid-2000s, their big target was Big Media. For the first time, journalists and editors got a taste of their own medicine. They began to hear criticism of their work on a minute-by-minute basis: some fair and some unfair, some in long prose and some in nasty one-liners. They did not take to it nicely. They complained about the language used by bloggers and social media enthusiasts, they went on and on about the abuse. One often heard the grouse, “On the internet, anyone can say anything!” Continue reading “Why Dalit radicals don’t want Arundhati Roy to write about Ambedkar”