Projects


Rural Social Media – A Meta-Digital Divide


Of all the progenies of contemporary technological development, Digital Divide fascinates me the most. Its iatrogeny — problem inducing ways of problem solving — and capacity to reinvent is matched only by a few other problems of our age. Many scholars have tried to reconceptualise digital divide as a socio-technical problem, by pointing out the continuum of gradations between the information haves and have-nots, still there are several nuances left to be grasped…

‘Lahore is a lot like Delhi’: Digital Discourse on Histories and Places across the Border


I am interested in seeking answers for the following questions: Why does it matter for these younger generations to document and, in so doing, relate to memories of Partition? What is the impact of this desire to understand Partition on modern Indian/Pakistani/’South Asian’ identity? What is the impact of the digital space and new media technologies on our relationship with history? How do we imagine the ‘lost’ spaces and times of our ancestors?

Hinglish Workshop, 18-19 August 2014 – Readings


The Hinglish workshop is being organised by The Sarai Programme, CSDS, and SOAS, University of London. This workshop seeks to explore and understand the new porousness of Hindi and English in everyday and cultural practices and the relationship between language use and social and cultural imaginaries, along lines of inclusion, stratification, and exclusion. Read the… Read More

Hinglish Workshop, 18-19 August 2014 – Abstracts


The Hinglish workshop is being organised by The Sarai Programme, CSDS, and SOAS, University of London. This workshop seeks to explore and understand the new porousness of Hindi and English in everyday and cultural practices and the relationship between language use and social and cultural imaginaries, along lines of inclusion, stratification, and exclusion. Read the… Read More

Hinglish Workshop, 18-19 August 2014


The relationship between Hindi and English has undergone enormous changes in contemporary India in the last ten years or so. After over a century of language nationalism and almost as long a period of intense competition and mutual contempt, in post-liberalisation and post-low caste assertion India the boundaries between English and Hindi have suddenly become more porous… [T]he relation between English and Hindi (and in variable terms between English and other Indian languages) has become less a zero-sum game and more a relationship of parallel expansion.

Decoding the Big Indian Sting


I revisit the inaugural moment of Tehelka’s Operation Westend. Journalists Mathew Samuels and Anirudh Bahal, posing as arms dealers from a fictitious London-based company called West End International hawked a non-existent Defense product called ‘hand-held thermal cameras’ to the Indian government by bribing several ministers and top-level bureaucrats… This post also contains excerpts of interviews conducted with … [technicians] to outline common technical practices the ‘industry’ follows in carefully constructing and packaging sting operations.

Alternative Media: An Agent and of Change in Kashmir


In conflicts like one in Kashmir, news and information gets buried due to the pressure from conflicting parties, collusion of the news sources with the various agencies or simply because of the lack of will to explore. With the social media, the chances of the burial of the information reduce…

On that small mobile phone shop in your street corner


I began fieldwork in selected market areas … of Bangalore to observe the mobile phone usage of vegetable vendors, street peddlers etc. I regularly visit these streets … and build rapport with potential informants. I document my observations and follow the leads that I gather when speaking to these users about the types of phones they use, the peripherals and accessories they buy along with the phone, the costs they pay for accessing the Internet, their modes of consumption of media content etc.

The Camera Membrane


The Image physically remained the product of a chemical reaction, being non-reversible in character. To reproduce it was also the act of eroding it, and it was to be distributed along with a story in the print, very often claimed to be a push medium. Digital photography made the process of image making reversible. The Image was now generated on a sensor instead of a film, was now an array of RGB values ready to be copied like any other data file, to be infinitely replicated, to be analyzed, post-processed, and to be reconstructed from data.

Santosh Pandit: Negative Publicity and Durablity of the “Superstar of the Poor”


Till the release of the song sequence on YouTube, the name Pandit was unknown even to the most avid film enthusiasts in Kozhikode, the place from where he hails. Except a few who knew him as an enthusiastic man in his forties who was struck by the cinema-bug and attempted to make a few albums, no one had any clear memory of his talents exhibited otherwise. But, in no time he mobilized a huge fan following and a strong virtual presence through fan pages…