India: Changing and Unchanging

 


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The life and times of a tiktok star

"I may not always be a TikTok star but I will always be a star."

Two years ago Israil Ansari was working as a handyman and didn’t even own a smartphone. Then things started to go crazy.

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INDIANS TAKE OVER YOUTUBE

“You want to race with us, go ahead and do it."

For many young Indians, YouTube is synonymous with the internet. They use it to ask questions, make friends and learn skills.

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the man who lived

“Imagine the pain of parents being consoled about the death of their son who was sitting in front of them!"

WhatsApp is a primary source of news for Indians, except most of what circulates as news in the private networks isn’t based on facts at all. The consequences can be deadly.



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A TINDER MURDER IN JAIPUR

“Stubborn. What she wanted, she wanted. Got angry easily. Couldn’t take no. Didn’t have the fear of anything."

In February 2018, Priya Seth and Dushyant Sharma met on Tinder. In May, Sharma was dead, and Seth was in jail on charge of murdering him.

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MURDER IN THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

Eight-year-old Pradhyumn Thakur was already dead when I first saw his face on a breaking-news broadcast.

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Indian youth struggles with identity, jobs and sex

“I am 23 at present, but the hollowness has begun to set in.” 

Millions of young Indians are heading online to make sense of their place in the world, expressing their unfiltered views on arranged marriages, joint families, the caste system. 

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small city, big dreams

"Not everyone can get every job."

The horizon of promise keeps receding in India’s rapidly expanding cities.


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india’s fake news challenge

“Even if five people at every booth install the NaMo app Modi will be PM for next 25 years.”

Many of India’s misinformation campaigns are developed and run by political parties with nationwide cyberarmies.

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NEW TURN TO CASTE CONFLICTS

“The Jatavs of Basai do what they say. And Sanjay Jatav is one of them"

Dalits are being attacked across India for asserting their strides in education, jobs, income. They aren’t backing off anymore.

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WHO IS A KANWARIYA AND WHAT DOES HE WANT

“It’s not for the ladies.."

What used to be a monsoon ritual undertaken in pockets of the Gangetic plains is today India’s biggest annual pilgrimage. The Kanwariya route is also 200 km of free-ranging masculinity.

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School killer to dreaded don: story of a life spiraling out of control

 “If Bhai has to kill someone, he does it himself. He never threatens but believes in eliminating.”  

At 19 years of age, Akash Yadav believed he had two options: to join a criminal gang or to start his own.

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THE GREAT INDIAN JOBS SCAM

“See, every call centre is engaged in one or the other kind of fraud. You can’t do much.”  

A scarcity of jobs and the anonymity of the internet have enabled an industry built around fake job promises. Some people who pay money to get jobs do end up employed, but as a job scammer. 

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THE RISE OF THE LYNCH MOB

"One of them is going to die" 

The victims of India’s mob attacks are often poor and marginalised: a woman beggar attacked in Tikamgarh; four Muslims, including an eight-year-old boy, attacked in Gaya; a pregnant deaf-mute woman attacked in Delhi.

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modi’s message: hindus first

“I hate all politicians. Except one.”

Why did millions of Indians give five more years to a man whose government had arguably left the country worse than it was in 2014? .

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how a MULTI-MILLION insurance scam preyed on disease, poverty, desperation

“They were making money off it"

Between 2017 and 2019, nearly hundred people from villages in Haryana officially died in road accidents. What actually happened to them is beyond imagination.

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the art and commerce of cheating IN EXAMS

“An army of unemployed youngsters has thus been built."

Inside the parallel examination economy in Kaushambi, the nerve centre of the exam cheating trade in Uttar Pradesh.

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why indians are clashing over water, electricity

“First this government makes your life hell and then the electricity people.”  

Poor and unequal access to water and electricity turn every Indian summer into a carnival of violence (state vs state, state vs individual, companies vs consumers, man vs neighbor).

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the cult of the hindu cowboy

‘We will keep the numbers of the cow mother intact with our corpses.It’s going to be a fight the enemies will remember.’

In 2015 Haryana became India’s thirteenth state to outlaw the ‘murder’ of the cow and/or the consumption of beef.


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defending rape

No one approaches rape in India in a more business-like manner than the lawyers who defend the accused. For them, every case of sexual offence is “bread and butter”. 

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india's suicide town

Life and death in Kota, a small town in India where a multitude of students prepare for the world's most competitive exam. 

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india at 70

Why big cities no longer translate to freedom for young Indians. What about the Indian idea of the ideal life has changed?

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KIDNAP, RAPE AND 'HONOUR' KILLINGS

On the road with a female reporter in rural India.The female journalists of Khabar Lahariya, rural India’s first feminist newspaper, speak up for women and other minorities in a notoriously patriarchal belt.

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hello from the other side

A day at 1090 call centre in Uttar Pradesh, where the local police is trying to tackle the problem of smartphones as the new site for everyday harassment Indian women face.

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DEVELOPING INDIA'S PERSONALITY

'Personality development' institutes are training Indians in “confidence” and “sophistication” – qualities deemed indispensable for success, social or professional, in a society increasingly preoccupied with image. .

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FeAR AND LOATHING IN BANGALORE

Information Technology companies are shedding thousands of employees across India. Once the face of a rising India, the IT workers are now faced with fear, fraud and isolation. 

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delhi's lady detectives 

The social media boom is playing havoc with the Indian urban marriage. There are 3,500 private detective agencies in Delhi alone, many run by women investigating unfaithful husbands and wives.

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the fixer

Pankaj Prasad believes it is through the sheer power of thinking big that he, the twenty-four year-old-son of a small-time construction supervisor, is a man of increasing importance in his village. 

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casting the net

The race to bring online dating to India.

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SEX, SCAMS AND SERIAL KILLERS

What keeps India's favourite true-crime magazine nice and juicy

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rich, cultured and lonely

How India's rising class looks for love now.