Six years ago, Irshad Ali’s family was forced to flee their home in Muzaffarnagar, in northern Uttar Pradesh (UP). They were among 50,000 Muslims who were displaced after the riots that killed 62 and injured scores of others. Sadly, Irshad’s experience is far from unique. Caste and faith are India’s biggest dividers and ironically, consolidators.
The state of Uttar Pradesh is a political battleground ahead of the upcoming polls, with the BJP investing in infrastructure and religious pomp. But is this enough to see the ruling party maintain the gains it made in 2014, as local coalitions seek to energise grass roots voters?
Social progressiveness has had a positive impact on Tamil Nadu’s economy – but what effect will have it have on the upcoming polls? We chat to a mixed-caste couple with firm views on identity to get a road map.
I have been spending time in India and even though I can’t speak Tamil, its mellifluousness is a part of my childhood memories, along with black-and-white MG Ramachandran movies, dosai, sambar and coconut chutney. So, when I began my travels, I knew that I had to start in the south, in the historic heartland of the Cholas, only to discover to my disappointment that the veshti (dhoti) had long been supplanted by stretch jeans and chinos.