India Ink

By India Ink Team

Quick summaries and explainer videos relevant to today's debates.

Quick summaries and explainer videos relevant to today's debates.

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Issue #16: 100 Years of Backward Caste Politics in Bihar

The popular understanding of backward caste politics in Bihar is linked to the rise of Lalu Prasad Yadav in the 1990s. But the struggle for upliftment of these groups goes back to the early 20th century, when the dominance of the landowning upper castes had l…


Issue #15: Why India's Upper Caste Minority is Scared of a Caste Census

Hello!Our latest video is out now! This time, we bring you the story of the caste census and why the demand for a new one is building up steam. We explore why it's a tricky issue for the ruling party and why India's upper castes might not want it to happen at…


Issue #14: How Hinduism Is Used To Erase Tribal Identities

Over the course of Indian history, indigenous groups have been given many names by non-indigenous people. In various old Hindu or Sanskrit texts, they are referred to as rakshasas and nishadas – words meant to insult and dehumanize them.In the colonial era, t…


Issue #13: How The Sangh Parivar Invents And Spreads Fake History

For almost a century, the Sangh Parivar has relied on the discipline of history to sustain itself and normalise its Hindutva vision of society. Inventing and spreading its own version of Indian history is as fundamental to the Hindutva political project as fl…


Issue #12: How Brahmins and the British Created India's Hindu Majority

Hello readers!It's been a while since you got one of our updates but better late than never hopefully. It's been one of our busiest months at India Ink. We wrapped our sixth and final video in our Past Continuous series. It's all about the invention of the Hi…


Issue #11: Hindu-Muslim Politics + Caste + Partition

Hello, everyone!It has been a while since you've heard from us. Our latest video ended up being much more labour-intensive that we imagined. We spent probably close to double the amount of time that we would have spent normally. But the results are clear. In …


Issue #10: Crazy Rich Indians

Hello, everyone!Our 4th video in the Past Continuous series is out. In this video, we talk about wealth inequality in colonial India ... and how that continues till today. The Tatas are a great example of a huge business family that got their start under colo…


Issue #9: In 100 years, India’s response to a pandemic hasn’t changed much

In the beginning of the summer of 1918, Indian newspapers announced that a deadly new disease, the “Spanish Flu,” was spreading rapidly across the world. By June, it had arrived in Bombay, which quickly became “a huge incubator of the germs of the disease.” B…


#8: How India became independent but its women did not

It has been almost a month since our last update. Since then, one of our team members contracted and recovered from Covid and we had major challenges with funding. But now we're back with a new video!This video is all about how as nationalists were inventing …


Issue #7: The Case That Threw Delhi Into Chaos

The PIL known as Writ Petition (Civil) 4677, filed in 1985, completely transformed the city of Delhi. It was initially a case about air pollution caused by stone-crushing units. Over the years, it expanded to deal with pollution in the Yamuna river, mining in…


Issue #6: How PILs Can Turn Judges Into Kings

In the 1980s, a lawyer named MC Mehta filed a number of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) cases in the Supreme Court of India. Unlike other cases, PILs can go on indefinitely, focusing on new concerns as they go on. Four of Mehta’s PILs are still in progress t…


Issue #5: Iyothee Thass and Dalit History Month

Towards the end of the 19th century, decades before Periyar would lead the non-Brahmin movement to prominence, the Madras presidency of British India witnessed the emergence of a number of Dalit intellectuals.One of the most important of these intellectuals w…


Issue #4: New Video + The Momins

In the decades leading up to the partition of British India, the Julaha Muslims of Bihar and its adjoining regions began to call themselves by a new name — the “Momins,” which meant “faithful men of honour”. Traditionally involved in weaving, the community ha…


Issue #3: Castelessness

1. There is a strange paradox in India today. Upper castes constantly insist that they don’t see caste or benefit from it. For them, caste identity is no longer associated with hierarchy and discrimination, but with modern concepts such as merit and developme…


Issue #2: The Dravidian Movement

1. At the end of the 19th century, the British-controlled regions of South India were dominated by Brahmins (both politically and socially) even though they were a tiny minority.2. These powerful Brahmins mostly identified themselves with English and Sanskrit…


Issue #1: The Launch

(We spent an hour adding subtitles to the video today. One of the many things we'll be learning as we go along.)