How an Indian writer 'returned from the dead'

  • 25 August 2016
  • From the section India
Perumal Murugan
Image caption Perumal Murugan is seen as one of the finest writers in the Tamil language

For months after Perumal Murugan declared himself "dead" as a writer following vicious protests against his novel by Hindu and caste-based groups last year, he couldn't read or write.

"I became a walking corpse," says Murugan, who is considered to be one of the most accomplished writers in the Tamil language.

Then something happened. Murugan went to see his daughter in the temple town of Madurai, and spent a few days in a friend's house. There were two rooms on the first floor: one stacked with books, and the other had a bed.

"With nothing to do I lay dazed night and day," he told a gathering in Delhi on Monday evening.

"I wallowed in a dark hole without the urge to see or talk to anybody. But as I ruminated over my existence, there came a certain instant when the sluice gates were breached.

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Indian women make history in Rio

  • 19 August 2016
  • From the section India
ndhu Pusarla V. of India in action against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan during their Rio 2016 Olympic Games Women"s Single Semifinal match at the Riocentro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 18 August 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption PV Sindhu is the youngest Indian to win an Olympic medal

On Friday evening, a 21-year-old became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games.

Ninth seeded shuttler PV Sindhu, lithe and lethal on court, also became the youngest Indian ever to win an Olympic medal.

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Why flying kites in India can be deadly

  • 18 August 2016
  • From the section India
In this Aug. 15, 2013 file photo, a boy flies a kite from the roof of a house as other kites seem to flock in the sky above as Indians celebrate Independence Day in New Delhi, I Image copyright AP
Image caption Kite flying is a popular sport in India and Pakistan

Kite flying seems like a harmless sport. But it can also be deadly - earlier this week, two children and a man were killed after their throats were slit by kite strings that had been coated with glass.

Kite flying is a popular sport in India and Pakistan. There was even a time when men fought brutal battles in the skies with their kites.

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The 'puzzling' disappearance of an Indian military plane

  • 16 August 2016
  • From the section India
File photo of An-32 Image copyright Indian Air Force
Image caption The Indian air force operates more than 100 Antonov-32 aircraft

On 22 July, an Indian military plane with 29 people on board, including six crew members, went missing over the Bay of Bengal.

More than three weeks and a massive search operation later, there is no trace of the plane.

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Irom Sharmila: What's next for world's longest hunger striker?

  • 10 August 2016
  • From the section India
In this Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 file photo, Irom Sharmila, center, walks out of a security ward after her release in Porompal district, in Imphal, India. T Image copyright AP
Image caption Irom Sharmila has been fasting against a draconian military law

"Don't make me a goddess. I am an ordinary woman with ordinary desires," Irom Sharmila, seen as the world's longest hunger striker, once told an associate.

"I want to eat good food, get married, want to have children. Please don't put me on a pedestal. I am just an ordinary person engaged in an extraordinary struggle."

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Why India's GST is one of the world's most complex tax reforms

  • 4 August 2016
  • From the section India
India construction site Image copyright AFP
Image caption India is the world's fastest growing large economy

Will India, a $2 trillion (£1.5tn) economy with 1.3 billion consumers, now become a truly single market?

Many believe the landmark goods and services tax bill - passed by parliament on Wednesday evening, after years of filibustering by the ruling BJP and main opposition Congress - is a key step in that direction.

Read full article Why India's GST is one of the world's most complex tax reforms

Why are Dalits in Narendra Modi's India angry?

  • 2 August 2016
  • From the section India
An Indian member of the Dalit caste community holds a placard saying "In Gujarat, Cow Slaughter is a Sin while Killing Dalits is pardonable" (L) as he participates in a protest rally against an attack on Dalit caste members in the Gujarat town of Una, in Ahmedabad on July 31, 2016. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Anger among Dalits in Gujarat has been mounting in recent weeks

Four years ago, a group of upper-caste men arrived at Mehul Vinodbhai Kabira's modest two-room home in Gujarat and threatened to burn it down.

Bhayla is a nondescript village of around 450 low slung brick-and-cement homes straddling a highway dotted by pharmaceutical, engineering and bio-tech factories.

Read full article Why are Dalits in Narendra Modi's India angry?

Reassessing India's 'forgotten prime minister'

  • 25 July 2016
  • From the section India
Narasimha Rao Image copyright Hindustan Times
Image caption Narasimha Rao was India's 10th prime minister

He won eight consecutive elections and spent more than 50 years in his Congress party before becoming the prime minister of India. A father of eight children, he spoke 10 languages, and was a proficient translator. He first travelled abroad when he was 53, mastered two computer languages and wrote computer code in his 60s.

That's not all. Before becoming 10th prime minister of a fractious democracy, PV Narasimha Rao campaigned in three languages, won from three states and was more connected to the grassroots than most modern-day Indian leaders. He also held a wide range of ministries - foreign, defence, home, education, health, law - with mixed results.

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Why the Kashmir killings could have been avoided

  • 14 July 2016
  • From the section India
Media captionIndia troops accused of using "excessive force" in Kashmir

When security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir killed a prominent militant leader in a gunfight last week, they would have surely anticipated a civilian blowback in the Muslim-dominated valley.

After all, the young, social-media savvy Burhan Wani had become the mascot of a new generation of home-grown rebels fighting Indian rule in the region - there are close to 100 local militants in Kashmir today, four times as many as in 2011, Indian intelligence estimates. Wani's ability to "recruit [people] into militancy from the grave will far outstrip anything he could have done on social media," tweeted Kashmir's former chief minister and opposition leader Omar Abdullah after the killing.

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Why cracking down on cheating in India's Bihar state is tough

  • 3 June 2016
  • From the section India
Cheating in Saharsa Image copyright Dipankar
Image caption Cheating is common in exams in Bihar

On Friday, 14 students in eastern India's Bihar who topped school examinations will face three teachers in an office in the state capital, Patna, to be retested.

The examiners will be checking the handwriting of the students and will be asking questions to find out whether they cheated in their examinations.

Read full article Why cracking down on cheating in India's Bihar state is tough