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Samar Halarnkar

Samar Halarnkar is editor of IndiaSpend, a data-drive nonproft focussed on public-interest journalism. He has written two books and has been a reporter and editor for 25 years. He tweets as @samar11

Articles by Samar Halarnkar

Freedom of expression: Despite Trump, it is alive and kicking in the US

Among democracies run by populists, the United States is unique in its rule of law, popular defiance and the power of its institutions. Even the paranoia of the Trump era brings no threat of censorship, an enduring fear in India.

A journalist holds a placard reading
Updated on May 16, 2017 12:27 AM IST

‘Recall heritage of love, tolerance’: As new India rises, a father pens open letter to daughter

As a new India rises, a father urges his daughter to stay true to her country’s fading foundations

Much of what you heard when you were a child may now be myth. For instance, that great Ram temple at Ayodhya: There was once a mosque called the Babri Masjid there.(HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 06, 2017 08:36 AM IST

There’s a market for shared experiences, as Hussain Haidry shows

The almost euphoric adulation that Hussain Haidry attracts is a reflection that, as easily as hatred and separation are expressed these days, so too are common bonds and the feeling of being in it together

Hussain Haidry’s poem, Hindustani Musalman, echoes the sentiments of an average Indian Muslim whose identity is not restricted by the fact that he/she is born in a Muslim family.
Updated on Feb 22, 2017 10:38 PM IST

By banning NGOs from foreign funds, the govt is crippling its own services, laws

What’s at stake when NGOs are banned from foreign funds to implement India’s public services, laws? A doctor’s story

Diarrhoea, measles, respiratory infections and malnutrition continue to kill Indian children by the thousands. Although India has steadily improved its infant-mortality rate (a 53% drop over a quarter century), a million babies die every year at a rate higher than the average of 154 low- and middle-income countries. (Representative Photo)(Mujeeb Faruqui/ HT)
Updated on Feb 07, 2017 05:15 PM IST

Who cares about the facts? How transient rage is driving India’s politics

Pakistan or black money, smartphone-driven anger is shaping India’s politics, prompting swift, visible action

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy CM Manish Sisodia with social activist Anna Hazare at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.(PTI)
Updated on Dec 01, 2016 01:40 PM IST

Hindu republic: India is being recreated into a majoritarian state

The justice system is undermined. Minorities are shown their place. India moves inexorably towards a Hindu republic

(Left to Right) BJP MLA Sangeet Som addressing the crowd at Bisada with DM NP Singh, Union minister and Gautam Buddha Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma and SSP Dharmendra Singh.
Updated on Oct 21, 2016 08:12 AM IST

Mind your languages

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Published on Sep 29, 2016 08:16 AM IST

As Indian cities grow more diverse, public services shun inclusiveness

Vast migration should encourage Indian cities to be more multilingual and overall more inclusive. Instead, the opposite is happening. It is ironic that as our cities grow more diverse, public services are becoming linguistically less diverse than ever

The two-language formula is manifest in a host of new metro systems across Indian cities and is a metaphor for the exclusion of minorities from other government-run services.(PTI)
Updated on Sep 28, 2016 09:08 PM IST

Hate and hope in Kashmir

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Published on Aug 25, 2016 12:36 PM IST

Can Modi discard policy that has brutalised Kashmir?

The brutalising of Kashmir’s people is also reflected in a brutalisation of the security forces, a particularly disquieting development in a conflict where men in arms now largely represent the Indian State

A Kashmiri protester throws a tear smoke shell on government forces in Srinagar.(AP Photo)
Updated on Aug 25, 2016 05:17 PM IST

Kashmir unrest: More autonomy for states is the only answer

To address Kashmir’s fury — and unrest elsewhere — India would do well to embrace more azaadi from New Delhi.

The Kashmiris may not have had to live — and die — through the latest round of blood-letting, if they were treated with dignity, their demands addressed with some seriousness and at least some promises kept.(AP)
Updated on Jul 27, 2016 09:12 PM IST

Why girls must make trouble

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Published on Jun 30, 2016 09:08 AM IST

India needs women to stand firm and know that they are right

The latest diktat against women shows education isn’t enough. Indian women must break the rules — and know they are right

Female representation in politics continues to lag the emerging world. Women have indeed pushed their way into the police, the private sector, engineering, the space programme and the defence services — last week, India’s first three female fighter pilots (above) were cleared to fly — but progress is slow.(AP Photo)
Updated on Jun 30, 2016 07:50 AM IST

The past cannot be our present

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Published on May 30, 2016 09:09 AM IST

What India can learn from Masada

A new national narrative is unfolding in India, but the Israeli experience warns us why ideas rooted in exclusion tend to fail

An Israeli demonstrator stands in front of a section of the Israeli barrier during a Land Day protest by Palestinian and Israeli activists, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem .(Ammar Awad / Reuters file photo)
Updated on May 29, 2016 09:34 PM IST

Unrest in Kashmir: Threat to the idea of India

Many Kashmiris may not want to be Indian, but denying them rights that are due to all Indians only increases their alienation

To equate the security forces with disaffected young men only questions the training and competency of soldiers, demeans India’s democracy and confirms to Kashmiris that India wants their land, not them.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Apr 21, 2016 06:51 PM IST

The lunatic fringe is now the Hindutva mainstream

The empowerment of popular hate began after the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. Instead of taking a stand, the Congress often pandered to emerging prejudice

The Babri demolition: When popular governments legitimise hate, it is a matter of time before the majority follows suit.(HT file photo)
Updated on Mar 22, 2016 09:12 AM IST

India’s progress is crippled by Indians holding back Indians

Protect the strong, persecute the weak. The RBI governor reminds us that India’s progress is crippled by Indians holding back Indians.

India works for the top 40% of its people, not for the bottom 60%.(REUTERS)
Published on Feb 01, 2016 01:11 AM IST

Nearly half of India’s districts drought-hit as crisis accelerates

Half the country is drought-hit and the poorest areas edge towards famine. But it would seem India is otherwise engaged.

About eight of each 10 households in Bundelkhand were eating rotis with spices and salt. Up to 17% of all households had replaced regular meals with rotis made of grass, according to a survey conducted by Swaraj Abhiyan, an NGO.(HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 03, 2015 12:21 PM IST
Samar Halarnkar | By

Big city or village, India is waging a war against women

Educated women, despite the restrictions on them, flood India’s workplaces, only to eventually find that whatever else they may desire or achieve, they must ensure ‘there are hot chapatis on the table’.

Women of the Bishnoi community at a festival near Jodhpur. The strengthening of regressive attitudes is occurring at a time when women are desperate to work.(PTI/ REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 23, 2015 08:48 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

On India’s roads, there's a scary surge of rage

Congestion, stress and indiscipline push Indians to argue, fight, even kill, each other on the roads. Are we like this only? Writes Samar Halarnkar.

Updated on Apr 16, 2017 05:03 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Make-or-break century: India must choose right options

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters are fond of saying that the last 60 years of Congress rule has been disastrous for India. They are right about the time period. Except for the eight years of Janata and BJP rule, the Congress has held sway since the first post-Constitution general election in 1951.

Updated on Jul 23, 2015 01:57 PM IST
None | By

Just posturing: Yoga blitz won't solve India's health crisis

It’s hard to oppose the yoga blitzkrieg, but we need to focus at least half as much attention on a quietly worsening national crisis

Updated on Aug 12, 2015 12:04 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Desperate for 'timepass', Indians seeking the great outdoors

Desperate for ‘timepass’, Indians have overwhelmingly limited leisure spaces, most created before Independence.

Updated on May 28, 2015 08:52 AM IST

Govt's indiscriminate crackdown on NGOs will affect the 'marginalised'

An indiscriminate crackdown on NGOs will affect those on India’s margins like children, the poor and disabled

Updated on Apr 27, 2015 01:03 AM IST

Concerns of India's underclass could drive country's political narrative

Since India’s growth rate shot past China’s, it is easy for the Twitter-happy, mall-roaming, ever-aspirational urban Indian to believe that reports of cows on the roads are a western conspiracy and poverty may soon be a thing of the past. It would be even harder, for this proud person, to believe that there are Indians without a radio or bicycle, let alone a television or scooter.

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Updated on Feb 19, 2015 08:38 AM IST
By, New Delhi

What a movie, cabbie, saint, viral post tell about faith in India

A new film tries to exploit street bigotry, but it will be hard for bigots to pull apart fraying but still strong bonds among communities, writes Samar Halarnkar.

Updated on Jan 15, 2015 12:13 PM IST

Let's be adults, let's talk about tackling porn

There are three questions around banning porn: How do you define porn? Is porn responsible for violence against women? Can you really stop the flow of porn? Asks Samar Halarnkar.

Updated on Dec 11, 2014 12:17 PM IST | By, New Delhi

Impatience creeps in, aspiring India stressed and dissatisfied

A feeling of impatience appears to be spreading among Indians; perhaps, emerging in the form of ever-rising political expectations, writes Samar Halarnkar.

Updated on Oct 30, 2014 10:52 AM IST

Moment of truth: Floods expose the great divide in J-K

Natural calamities are times of great truth, of togetherness, of closing ranks, of forgetting hatred and bitterness. Unfortunately, the J-K floods initially appeared to be enhancing the bitterness between Kashmiris and other Indians, writes Samar Halarnkar.

Updated on Sep 18, 2014 12:10 PM IST
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