In the time of toxic air

Published in Himal Southasian, 29 June 2015 You are on life support, it’s fragile, it’s technical, it’s public, it’s political, it could break down – it is breaking down – it’s being fixed, you are not too confident of those who fix it. – Bruno Latour, from his essay on air. The debate on urban…

Ordinary Infrastructures and the AAP sweep in Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party’s stupendous victory in Delhi has been explained by several observers as the rise of populism constructed around the promise of various kinds of ‘freebies’ to, in particular, subaltern urban residents. This argument has been critiqued by AAP sympathizers as an elitist one that fails to recognize the various subsidies and state…

Criminalising Africans in Delhi’s Urban Villages

With Persis Taraporevala. Published in The Hindu. There is an eerie silence masquerading as peace in Khirki Extension. Previously home to a people of various nationalities, the recent fracas in the area has turned it into a shadow of its former self with many African residents fleeing the region. The raid and self-declared exposé against…

Modi and the ‘Urban Middle Class’

Notes in response to Arnab Ray’s ‘Deconstructing Modi’, published on his blog. —- — At the risk of being modeled, according to your schema, as a congenital Modi-basher, I must say that I abhor the person and much of what he stands for. Before Feb/March 2002 I did not. Fact is, Modi wears the killings…

The Crisis and Revanchist Resource Extraction

It is increasingly apparent that India is in the midst of an economic crisis. Most sectors are on a downward trajectory, the Rupee is in free-fall, and inflation has never really been adequately controlled despite government assurances. So much is clear from TV discussions and opeds in the last fortnight. It is, we are told,…