How PM Modi destroyed rivals in India's Uttar Pradesh

  • 11 March 2017
  • From the section India
Indian supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrate outside the party office as state assembly votes are counted in Lucknow on March 11, 2017. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Narendra Modi personally campaigned in the absence of a chief ministerial candidate from his party

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) decisive win in elections in India's politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh - it sends 80 MPs to the lower house of parliament, has produced nine prime ministers, and is located next door to the capital, Delhi - is clearly being seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr Modi was the face of the campaign in the absence of any clear chief ministerial candidates.

Mixing rhetoric with promises of development, he campaigned hard against what looked like formidable opposition - a coalition of the ruling regional Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, headed by the young satrap Akhilesh Yadav, and the powerful Bahujan Samaj Party, (BSP) led by Dalit leader Mayawati.

So what does this victory mean for his party?

For one, the balance of power in India has now decisively swung in favour of the BJP, and reinforces the party's position as the central pole in India's politics.

Read full article How PM Modi destroyed rivals in India's Uttar Pradesh

How India uses recycled pipes to detect ferocious solar storms

  • 1 March 2017
  • From the section India
Earth's magnetosphere Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Artwork: The Earth's magnetosphere protects the planet from a continuous flow of cosmic radiation

What does a sensational scientific discovery about a solar storm in the Earth's magnetic field have to do with old, recycled steel pipes which lay buried for more than a decade under a now-defunct gold mine in India?

Almost everything.

Read full article How India uses recycled pipes to detect ferocious solar storms

The Indian tribesmen catching giant snakes in Florida

  • 6 February 2017
  • From the section India
Irula snake catchers in US Image copyright Jeremy Dixon, USFWS
Image caption Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal have caught 27 pythons in Florida so far

Every morning, two Indian tribesmen in T-shirts and long trousers, leave their dwellings in southern Florida and head into the Everglades to hunt for some of the world's biggest snakes.

Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal, members of the once-nomadic Irula tribe, are armed with crowbars and machetes. Wearing fleece jackets and baseball caps, they slash and wade their way through the largest subtropical wilderness in the world to hunt down Burmese pythons.

Read full article The Indian tribesmen catching giant snakes in Florida

Inside India's first department of happiness

  • 30 January 2017
  • From the section India
Happiness day in Bhopal Image copyright Prakash Hatvalne
Image caption People receive certificates for participating in 'happiness programmes'

On a crisp weekday afternoon recently, hundreds of men and women, young and old, thronged a dusty playground of a government high school in a village in India's Madhya Pradesh state.

Hemmed in by mobile towers and squalid buildings, the ground in Salamatpur was an unusual venue for a government-sponsored programme to "spread cheer and happiness".

Read full article Inside India's first department of happiness

Why India bull-taming protest may not be just about bulls

  • 21 January 2017
  • From the section India
A bull about to attack a young contestant at a Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu (file photo) Image copyright J Suresh
Image caption The sport is a 2,000-year-old tradition and a way of life with people

India, wrote author VS Naipaul, is a country of a million little mutinies, reeling with rage and revolt.

One such mutiny has brewed almost all of this week in southern Tamil Nadu state, where people have been protesting against a ban on a traditional bull-taming contest, known as jallikattu. They say the ban is an attack on their culture and identity.

Read full article Why India bull-taming protest may not be just about bulls

Why do Indians vote for 'criminal' politicians?

  • 16 January 2017
  • From the section India
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi overlooks the Indian parliament building as lawmakers from opposition parties form a human chain to protest against the government demonetizing high-value bills in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption A third of MPs in the Indian parliament faced criminal charges

Why do India's political parties field candidates with criminal charges? Why do the voters favour them despite their tainted past?

Political scientist Milan Vaishnav has been studying links between crime and democracy in India for many years now. His upcoming book When Crime Pays offers some intriguing insights into what is a disturbing feature of India's electoral democracy.

Read full article Why do Indians vote for 'criminal' politicians?

How myths and stereotypes colour rape sentencing in India

  • 10 January 2017
  • From the section India
Indian students of Saint Joseph Degree college participate in an anti-rape protest in Hyderabad on September 13, 2013. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tough new anti-rape laws were introduced after the brutal gang rape and murder of a student in 2012

India's Supreme Court once gave an array of curious reasons about why an Indian woman would not make a false rape claim.

In a 1983 judgement, the top court said that western and Indian women were vastly different.

Read full article How myths and stereotypes colour rape sentencing in India

Why are Indians being arrested for sitting during the national anthem?

  • 14 December 2016
  • From the section India
Indian movie goers stand up as national anthem is played at a movie hall before the screening of a movie in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption The top court has ruled that the national anthem be played before every film and that audiences stand

Twelve people were arrested on Monday evening at a cinema in India, after they remained seated while the national anthem played.

The cinemagoers, who were attending an international film festival in the city of Trivandrum in Kerala, were later freed but they face charges of "failure to obey an order issued by a public servant, thereby causing obstruction or annoyance to others".

Read full article Why are Indians being arrested for sitting during the national anthem?

Can jet engines clean up Delhi's foul air?

  • 13 December 2016
  • From the section India
Traffic drives through smog in Delhi, India November 7, 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world

Sometime next year, if all goes well, a retired jet engine will be mounted on a flatbed trailer and taken to a coal-fired power plant in Delhi.

With the exhaust nozzle pointed at the sky, the engine will be placed near the smokestack and turned on.

Read full article Can jet engines clean up Delhi's foul air?

'My baby isn't dead, she was stolen from me'

  • 8 December 2016
  • From the section India
Media captionThe Sarkars were told their baby had a heart problem

More than two years after doctors at a clinic in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata told her that her newborn had died, Kanon Sarkar believes that her baby girl is still alive.

On a summer evening in July 2014, the clinic handed her family the corpse of an infant, tightly wrapped in white cloth, and told them to go home.

Read full article 'My baby isn't dead, she was stolen from me'