articles by Meena Menon


Rising debt, no widow pension: COVID-19 crisis brings Maharashtra's vulnerable women farmers to the brink

A survey of 940 single women farmers has exposed their increased vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown in Maharashtra.

Arts & Culture

In Jugalbandi, Vinay Sitapati unravels the relationship between Advani and Vajpayee, examining BJP before Modi

Jugalbandi has a strong narrative thread and it can open up the debate on the rise of the BJP before Modi, and the progression of the BJP as a political party in a post-Congress India


Oppressed for generations, women cane cutters in Maharashtra continue to work in inhuman conditions, shows study

Women cane cutters are required to work for 13 to 18 hours a day without any weekly rest day. They work even during illness, menstruation, pregnancy or delivery, which affects their health, the study said


In landmark move, Yavatmal pesticide contact poisoning victims file case in Bern against agrochemical company Syngenta

In 2017, over 60 farmers died, and hundreds were affected reportedly by the increased use of pesticides sprayed without any protective gear, on the cotton crop in Yavatmal and other districts of Maharashtra.


The politics of convenience: What we learnt from three books exploring the high drama of Maharashtra's 2019 assembly election

What emerges from the three books is something we know already — that democracy is much beyond elections


No Environment Impact Assessment for highway expansion in Goa: Violations continue as new draft seeking further dilutions released for comments

In a case involving the diversion of forest land to expand a highway near Goa’s Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, there is no EIA nor a study examining possible alternatives. A group of local residents from Canacona have filed a public interest litigation (PIL) to oppose this diversion.


How Uddhav Thackeray's govt implements lessons of war against coronavirus outbreak will be real test of his leadership

Let the government learn instructive lessons and hold on to this experience of the war against the coronavirus. That will be the real test of Uddhav Thackeray’s statesmanship and his true legacy to the state.


MHA's NPR manual excludes Muslim holidays for reference point to estimate date of birth of those who don't know when they were born

In the midst of a raging opposition, all over the country, to the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its recently-released Instruction Manual for Updation of NPR 2020 for Enumerators and Supervisors, has used only Hindu and Sikh religious festival holidays as a reference point for people who may not know their exact date of birth


Crackdown on Ramachandra Guha, other CAA protesters, exposes govt's inability to deal with democratic protests

The image of historian and writer Ramachandra Guha being dragged away by the police, during what appeared to be a non-violent protest in Bengaluru, seems to typify the state reaction in the wake of the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Every action has a reaction, but this time round, even simply shouting slogans or protesting at public places is not kosher.


In Rajura rape case, 17 minor Adivasi girls and their families await a seemingly elusive justice

While the country is aflame in more ways than one over the issue of sexual violence, a group of Gond Adivasi girls wait for justice in Rajura, in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district. What happened to them is no less heinous than the cases that are dominating the headlines today.


NCRB 2016 data: Delayed NCRB report, added categories don't take away from grim reality of farmer suicides

The death of so many farmers in the country, now close to 3.5 lakh, has not led to radical policy changes to revitalise the agriculture sector. The farmer is once again caught in the grip of uncertain rains and debt, with little hope on the horizon. And the suicides continue, even if the NCRB introduces new categories and delays its own reports.


Aatish Taseer OCI row: For individuals of mixed Indian, Pakistani decent, a long (and tricky) road to citizenship

Writer Aatish Taseer’s Overseas Citizen of Indian Card (OIC) being withdrawn has focused attention on citizenship issues faced by children of Indian and Pakistani parents.


Imprisoned Resistance: New report on Kashmir situation post-Article 370, questions govt's ‘normalcy’ narrative

An 11-member team visited various parts of Kashmir last month. A report of their visit, Imprisoned Resistance, 5th August and its Aftermath, was released on 31 October.


UP second to MP with 4,669 rape cases, finds NCRB: Unnao, Chinmayanand cases damning indictment of Adityanath govt

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its latest analysis released for 2017 has reported 4,669 cases of rape in Uttar Pradesh (second to Madhya Pradesh where at least 5,599 rape cases were reported) including 676 cases of gang rape, the highest in the country.


In The Cousins Thackeray, Dhaval Kulkarni pieces together Raj-Uddhav equation, legacy of the Shiv Sena

The most important point that emerges from Dhaval Kulkarni's book, The Cousins Thackeray, is that the Shiv Sena’s brand of identity politics has come to stay, despite its ups and downs, and found a warm home in Maharashtra.


Dahanu, a green zone in peril: Locals protest as taluka's environment protection authority faces the axe

Dahanu taluka has enjoyed special protection since 1991, when the MoEF — at the behest of the Supreme Court — passed a notification declaring it as ecologically fragile and restricting hazardous industries, among other things.


Flood and Fury: New book analyses how myopic industries, govts facilitated the Kerala calamity in 2018

Journalist Viju B’s new book, Flood and Fury: Ecological Devastation in the Western Ghats, is an important and engaging read weaving together data with the actual ground situation. It goes beyond news reports, images of the flood, and the destruction brought about by it, to pinpoint how nature has been wilfully wrecked by humans.


Kerala-born, Karachi-based activist BM Kutty's demise further diminishes movement for peace between India-Pakistan

The movement for peace between India and Pakistan will be severely diminished by BM Kutty's demise, but his optimism and humour will remain as a guiding light. His life in Pakistan is also a reflection of a different relationship with our neighbour, of an era without visas and more trust and positivity, and that is the legacy he leaves behind.


As Bhima Koregaon case accused await bail hearings, families decry dehumanising jail conditions

Conversations with family members of those accused in the Bhima Koregaon case reveal the problems they face, from the lack of chairs and bedding in jail cells to the long wait for copies of data seized by the police


Beed: High hysterectomy rate among sugarcane cutters signals unethical medical practices, poor work conditions

Contractors who get these workers to cut cane, often urged the women to go in for the surgery so that they stop menstruating and it makes their lives easier, and they can work uninterrupted, among other reasons. Many of the women regretted having their uterus removed but felt they had little choice.