Photo Essay

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In Hyderabad's Old City, once festive streets are bereft of usual Ramzan fervour in lockdown
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In Hyderabad's Old City, once festive streets are bereft of usual Ramzan fervour in lockdown

Hyderabad’s Old City, with the Charminar, Mecca Masjid and centuries-old Laad Bazaar, has long been the nerve centre of commerce, shopping and festivities during Ramzan. But these once boisterous streets are eerily quiet during the ongoing lockdown.

Let there be light: Chandannagar’s masters of illumination have brightened up festivals for years
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Let there be light: Chandannagar’s masters of illumination have brightened up festivals for years

Over the months of October to January, the streets of West Bengal’s towns and cities light up for a number of festive occasions — beginning with Durga Puja and Diwali, to the Jagadhatri Puja, Christmas, and then New Year’s. The dazzling illuminations seen in Bengal, especially Kolkata, owe much to a 60-year tradition, harking back to the world renowned light artist Sridhar Das

For Jaisalmer's camel owners, an uncertain future brought on by economics of change
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For Jaisalmer's camel owners, an uncertain future brought on by economics of change

The old tradition of breeding and herding camels, and using them as carriers for short distances for tourism, remains one of the primary professions for villagers around Jaisalmer. But changing fortunes have imperiled their livelihood.

As Naga Sadhus gather for annual Pushkar Mela, a glimpse into their philosophy of detachment
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As Naga Sadhus gather for annual Pushkar Mela, a glimpse into their philosophy of detachment

The 'Naga Sadhus’ (literally meaning ‘Naked Yogis’) are a part of the Shaivite sadhus' sect. They gather in the holy city of Pushkar for the Mela.

Along the Line of Control, a life marred by violence and wrenching separations
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Along the Line of Control, a life marred by violence and wrenching separations

Life along the Line of Control — the de-facto border between India and Pakistan — bears the marks of violence, and those who live here wage daily battles of their own.

Cauvery, a river under stress: In the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, little water to spare
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Cauvery, a river under stress: In the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu, little water to spare

The eight Cauvery delta region districts contribute 45.4 percent of Tamil Nadu's total paddy production, with Thiruvarur and Thanjore contributing the highest (10.7 and 9.9 percent, respectively) — making them the chief rice suppliers to the state granaries

Cauvery, a river under stress: Effluents to sand mining, examining the impact of human activities
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Cauvery, a river under stress: Effluents to sand mining, examining the impact of human activities

The Cauvery, flowing through the districts of Salem, Erode, Karur and Namakkal, is considered sacred by the locals. Triveni Sangamam — the confluence of the Bhavani, Cauvery and Saraswati — is a site of Hindu pilgrimage. Yet, the Cauvery runs barren for most of the year — the river and banks often exposed to harsh activities that impact them adversely.

Cauvery, a river under stress: The plight of Mandya's farmers — and of TN's fluorosis belt residents
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Cauvery, a river under stress: The plight of Mandya's farmers — and of TN's fluorosis belt residents

In part III of Anusha Sundar’s Cauvery — A River in Stress series, we examine the plight of the farmers of the Mandya plains, who rely on the river water for their paddy and sugarcane crops, as well as for their drinking needs. We also look at the Cauvery in the drought-prone Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, known as the fluorosis belt of Tamil Nadu. Here, the excess presence of fluoride, an acute salt in the groundwater, leads to severe dental and skeletal problems for the residents.

Cauvery, a river under stress: In Coorg, unwanted 'development' comes at a high environmental cost
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Cauvery, a river under stress: In Coorg, unwanted 'development' comes at a high environmental cost

The economic, political and social changes in Coorg have led to an environmental imbalance that has impacted the Cauvery

Cauvery, a river under stress: How the dispute over its waters was politicised
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Cauvery, a river under stress: How the dispute over its waters was politicised

Hydro politics over its rivers is not a new phenomenon in India, but the Cauvery water dispute is one-of-its-kind, in that it has continued for over two centuries now.

At the Banni Pashu Mela, a unique glimpse into the lives of Kutch's maaldhari communities
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At the Banni Pashu Mela, a unique glimpse into the lives of Kutch's maaldhari communities

The Banni Pashu Mela is organised by the Banni Breeders Association. It brings together all maaldhari communities in Banni. There are animal beauty contests, milking contests, races, and freestyle wrestling for men (locally known as bakhmalakdo) during the day, and soirées featuring Sufi and folk music in the evenings.

Mumbai Pride 2019: First march post-Section 377 verdict sees city's queer community, allies celebrate
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Mumbai Pride 2019: First march post-Section 377 verdict sees city's queer community, allies celebrate

Mumbai witnessed its 14th Pride Parade on Saturday, 2 February 2019. It was the city's largest pride march yet, also its first after the September 2018 judgment decriminalising homosexuality.

Living and loving in Queer India: Aarti Singh, Jake Naughton look on 'both sides of the veil'
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Living and loving in Queer India: Aarti Singh, Jake Naughton look on 'both sides of the veil'

The exhibition Both sides of the Veil, which features images, audio and visual installations, explores what it is to be queer in post-377 India

Love in the City: In no-nonsense Mumbai, couples steal quiet moments of togetherness
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Love in the City: In no-nonsense Mumbai, couples steal quiet moments of togetherness

Mumbai is not always kind to its lovers; perhaps it doesn't intend to be cruel, but romance must navigate tricky terrain here nonetheless. Intimacy in public places — exalted in Bollywood movies but frequently frowned upon in real life — requires some delicate maneuvering on the part of couples.

Go, Goa, Gone: Stories from a changing paradise — and a look at what the future portends
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Go, Goa, Gone: Stories from a changing paradise — and a look at what the future portends

When you speak to long-term residents of the state, you'll hear phrases like “Oh, but it’s not like it was in the old days…” It seems, however, that everyone has a different take on the evolution of Goa

Dhanushkodi's residents battled nature's fury; but will they survive government apathy?
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Dhanushkodi's residents battled nature's fury; but will they survive government apathy?

Dhanushkodi, lying just 20 km west of the pilgrimage town of Rameswaram, is a long strip of land at the southern tip of India. Flanked by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, it is one of the most beautiful coastal stretches of India.

After the March: Farmers on their way home from Delhi speak of anger, hope, and bleak futures
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After the March: Farmers on their way home from Delhi speak of anger, hope, and bleak futures

On 30 November, Delhi saw one of its largest congregations of farmers with over 35,000 of them from across the country marching from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament street, protesting a wide range of issues that have plagued the agricultural community for decades.

Farmers protest in Delhi: Portraits from the Kisan Mukti March's vigil at Ramlila Maidan
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Farmers protest in Delhi: Portraits from the Kisan Mukti March's vigil at Ramlila Maidan

Thousands of farmers camped overnight in the open cold at Ramlila Maidan, preparing to march towards Parliament Street on Friday

From Manipur's trans community, stories of hope, despair, triumph and rebellion
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From Manipur's trans community, stories of hope, despair, triumph and rebellion

Five stories of transgender individuals from Manipur, and how they navigate personal conflict and societal strife