'There is no water. Why should people stay here?'

  • 10 June 2019
  • From the section India
Hatkarwadi
Image caption Hatkarwadi hasn't seen decent rains in three years

Every morning Dagadu Beldar, 75, wakes up and cooks rice and lentils in his village home in India's western state of Maharashtra. After that, there's little else to do.

For the past three years, Mr Beldar has lived alone in his gloomy one-room hut in Hatkarwadi, a stony hillside outback ringed by forests. Drought forced his wife and three sons out of the village. The earth was parched and the wells were dry. There was little water to drink and bathe in, and the family's millet farm lay barren.

Two sons found work at a sugar factory in Sangli, a cane-growing district some 400km (248 miles) away. Their mother looked after the third son, who went to school there. Hatkarwadi had become a bad memory.

With age, Mr Beldare is going deaf. He mostly keeps to himself in his dark room.

"He's a very lonely man. He hasn't seen his family in three years. All because of water," says Ganesh Sadgar, a neighbour.

Image caption Dagadu Beldar lives alone after his family left the village because of lack of water

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How Britain tried to 'erase' India's third gender

  • 31 May 2019
  • From the section India
Eunuchs in India Image copyright Bridgeman Images
Image caption British judges described eunuchs as cross-dressers, beggars and unnatural prostitutes

In August 1852, a eunuch called Bhoorah was found brutally murdered in northern India's Mainpuri district.

She lived in what was then the North-West Provinces with two disciples and a male lover, performing and accepting gifts at "auspicious occasions" like births of children and at weddings and in public. She had left her lover for another man before she was killed. British judges were convinced that her former lover had killed her in a fit of rage.

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How Narendra Modi has reinvented Indian politics

  • 24 May 2019
  • From the section India
Narendra Modi Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many Indians seem to believe that Mr Modi is a messiah who will solve all their problems

Narendra Modi has scored a resounding victory in the Indian general election, securing a second five-year term. The BBC's Soutik Biswas looks at the main takeaways.

1. The second landside is all about Narendra Modi

India's polarising prime minister made this an election all about himself.

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India's next government will have a growth problem

  • 17 May 2019
  • From the section India
A high-rise residential tower is seen next to shanties in Dharavi, one of Asia"s largest slums, in Mumbai March 18, 2015. In Mumbai, the windows of new high-rise apartment blocks, old low-rise residential buildings and shantytown shacks portray the disparity in living conditions and incomes in the Indian city. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Economists say India's growth is powered by the 'top 100 million' people

As India lumbers towards the final phase of an exhausting general election and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP seeks a second term in power, there's some worrying news. The world's fastest growing major economy appears to be headed for a slowdown.

The signs are everywhere. Economic growth slowed to 6.6% in the three months to December, the slowest in six quarters. Sales of cars and SUVs have slumped to a seven-year-low. Tractors and two-wheelers sales are down. Net profits for 334 companies (excluding banks and financials) are down 18% year-on-year, according to the Financial Express newspaper.

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India election 2019: How sugar influences the world's biggest vote

  • 8 May 2019
  • From the section India
An Indian vendor sits among sugarcane kept at the main wholesale market ahead of celebrations surrounding the festival of Pongal in Bangalore, Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some 30 million farmers are engaged in cane farming in India

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a recent election meeting in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, he was compelled to make a promise relating to sugar, a diet staple.

Farmers who grow cane in the politically crucial state ruled by Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were angry because sugar mills had not paid their dues in time. They held protests and blocked railway tracks. "I know there are cane dues. I will make sure every penny of yours will be paid," Mr Modi told the audience.

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India election 2019: Meeting a 'foot soldier' of the Hindu far-right

  • 25 April 2019
  • From the section India
Sharad Sharma Image copyright Mansi Thapliyal
Image caption Sharad Sharma is a functionary of a radical Hindu group

Ever since Narendra Modi swept to power in 2014, India has seen a resurgence in right-wing Hindu nationalism. The Indian PM has made it the cornerstone of his ongoing re-election campaign. Soutik Biswas meets a self-proclaimed foot soldier of Hindu nationalism, and explores the forces driving the rise of the far-right in India.

Sharad Sharma was 20 when right-wing Hindu mobs tore down a mosque in his city, triggering one of the worst bouts of religious riots in independent India.

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'Strongman' image may not win votes for Narendra Modi

  • 22 April 2019
  • From the section India
Indian bottle artist Basavaraj displays bottles designed with photos of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the Indian National Congress Rahul Gandhi during general elections in Bangalore, India, 12 April 2019 Image copyright EPA
Image caption India's elections are keenly contested

Good intentions are ubiquitous in politics, wrote American economist Bryan Caplan. What is scarce, however, are "accurate beliefs". Elections are always a good occasion to test such beliefs.

Is India's Narendra Modi really a strongman leader in the mould of Turkey's President Recep Tayyib Erdogan and Russia's leader Vladimir Putin? Will he succeed in making the mammoth 2019 election a presidential referendum on his performance?

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Jet Airways: India's aviation boom runs into turbulence

  • 18 April 2019
  • From the section India
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionTaking the last flight of India's stricken Jet Airways

On the face of it, India's airline industry is flying high - the country is the fastest growing major aviation market in the world.

The airports are bursting at the seams: 138 million passengers flew last year, up from 51 million in 2010. International traffic has burgeoned. On-time performance has improved.

Read full article Jet Airways: India's aviation boom runs into turbulence

India election 2019: The mystery of 21 million 'missing' women voters

  • 14 March 2019
  • From the section India
Indians, including a woman, at a polling booth Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than half of India's "missing" women voters are from three northern states

Indian women got the right to vote the year their country was born. It was, as a historian said, a "staggering achievement for a post-colonial nation". But more than 70 years later, why are 21 million women in India apparently being denied the right to vote?

It is one of India's many social riddles.

Read full article India election 2019: The mystery of 21 million 'missing' women voters

India Lok Sabha election: 11 things you need to know

  • 10 April 2019
  • From the section India
This handout photograph released by India"s Press Information Bureau (PIB) on March 4, 2019, shows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a gathering during during the inauguration of various development projects in Jamnagar, in the Indian state of Gujarat. (Photo by Handout / Image copyright AFP
Image caption PM Narendra Modi remains his party's main vote-getter

Tens of millions of people will vote on Thursday in the first phase of India's giant general election.

Polls to elect a new Lok Sabha, or lower house of parliament, will be held from 11 April to 19 May. Votes will be counted on 23 May.

Read full article India Lok Sabha election: 11 things you need to know