In-depth Features & Reported Pieces

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Inside a relief camp in Kokrajhar district of Assam where many families have been residing since the aftermath of an ethnic riot in 1996.

2019

In Odisha’s residential schools for tribal girls, education comes at a cost – IndiaSpend

Odisha government has been pushing for institutionalised system of education for children of tribal communities. But the residential schools are poorly run and ripe for abuse, with many reported deaths and cases of sexual abuse. A longform report.

A city in India almost ran dry. What will prevent a repeat?The Christian Science Monitor

The threat of taps running dry grabs attention. But what happens when water starts to trickle back through? As Chennai breathes a sigh of relief, many highlight the long-term need for more sustainable policies. A ground report.

The biggest gender pay gap in Asia: why are Indian women so undervalued?South China Morning Post

Female participation in the workforce is lower in India than almost any other country on Earth, creating a lack of financial freedom. Tackling the underlying societal and cultural reasons behind this absence of women in the workforce may prove to be an uphill battle.

How Indian women silently suffer the consequences of unpaid workTRT World Magazine

With the highest chore gap in the world, women in India currently spend 352 minutes per day on unpaid work, compared to the 52 minutes that men spend carrying out unpaid tasks.

Letter from India: Lessons from an election with 900 million voters – The Christian Science Monitor
Many fear that the rise of Hindu nationalism has tied ‘Indianness’ to religion. But being Indian also means taking part – not just on election days, but every day – in the largest democratic experiment on earth. 

Thousands of Bengali women must prove their citizenship or face statelessness. Most can’t. Public Radio International (PRI)
Women in the state of Assam are indiscriminately affected by a process to identify illegal immigrants. “Lack of education, awareness, poverty and a larger patriarchal structure has rendered many women invisible, and when the state started enumerating, they had no proof to support their identity,”

To fight trafficking, Indian groups turn to the experts: survivors – The Christian Science Monitor
Survivor’s perspectives are key to prevention and rehabilitation efforts, advocates argue. Young women are helping each other heal, while challenging the attitudes that contribute to trafficking in the first place.

2018

India’s hill country is the first stop on heroin’s deadly route – Foreign Policy
Mizoram has an HIV rate of almost 20% among injecting drug users — highest among all states in India. How it’s handling the HIV and opioid crisis then becomes extremely important. I try exploring how community and faith based groups are at the frontline of the struggle but they’re also coming in the way of finding real solutions for people.

Why the opioid crisis in a remote state in India requires the church’s interventionThe Sojourners
Even as the government in Mizoram announced its plans to roll out prevention and aftercare programs for drug users, there continues to be consensus among residents that the church has to play a major role for any intervention to be successful. A village is setting an example for the rest of the state.

How 5 Catholic nuns are propelling India’s #churchtoo movement – The Sojourners
A short report on the protests in Kerala by Catholic nuns demanding the arrest of a Bishop accused of sexual abuse.

2017

The Price of Life – The Caravan
In the July issue of The Caravan magazine – my longform reportage (9 pages in print) on the trafficked children of Silchar’s red light area (in Assam) and how authorities failed them. Reported over a period of eight months.

Assam floods drive trafficking, child marriage and women’s ill-health – News Deeply’s Women & Girls
A short report on the disastrous effect of annual flooding in Assam on women and girls.Women lose access to adequate sanitation and maternal healthcare, while girls are forced into child labor or marriage to make ends meet.

In Sikkim, football is weaning drug users away from the dark – Mint on Sunday
My reported feature on the way football plays a therapeutic role in the lives of many former drug users in Sikkim, giving them a healthier identity and creating much-needed support systems.

In Nagaland, missing health services are a matter of life and death – The Wire
Massive central funding for health and development go missing on the ground, leaving residents of remote districts to fend for themselves. My reported story on this human cost of corruption.

Text messages save lives in state with highest maternal deaths – IndiaSpend
A reported feature about the problems faced by pregnant women in accessing healthcare in Assam, and the efforts made by a non-profit project to reduce maternal deaths by training women of the marginalised Adivasi community to report violations.

Why a rich, orderly Himalayan state has India’s highest suicide rate – IndiaSpend
Despite all-round progress, the state of Sikkim has been recording India’s highest suicide rate, has high unemployment rate, and also widespread abuse of pharmaceutical drugs. In this cover story for IndiaSpend, I investigate the link between suicides and drug abuse in Sikkim – problems made worse due to government apathy.
The piece has been republished by several publications like Hindustan Times, Scroll.in, and Firstpost, among others.

In Northeast India, women run the streets – The Development Set
Manipur’s women are seen as a mighty force when they protest, but 100 years on, they are still locked out of politics. What lessons can they offer Women’s March participants?

2016

The ascent of Manipur’s women – and their descent into drugs – IndiaSpend
Dire circumstances have been leading hundreds of women to drug abuse in the conflict-ridden state of Manipur. A longform reportage about their lives and struggles as well as the kind of health mechanism and social support that exists for them.
The piece has been republished by several publications like Scroll.in and Business Standard, among others.

This Village in India was completely relocated because of elephants – TakePart
Longform reportage about a conservation and development project in Assam that is helping a village co-exist peacefully with elephants, and an in-depth look at the lives of its residents.

These Kids in India are saving others from a Life of Child Slavery – GOOD
Illiteracy and poverty in many parts of the Indian state of Assam has been leading to child trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. A few programmes attempt to educate and empower children to stand up for themselves.

India’s Nagaland drowning in Taxes and Corruption – Al Jazeera English
Residents claim they are being mercilessly taxed by armed groups, and short-changed by a corrupt state government.

India’s ‘gun widows’ on the road to recovery – Al Jazeera English
Young widows who have lost husbands to gun violence face financial, legal and social hardships in India’s Manipur.

Hope for a better life on the India-Bangladesh border – The Atlantic’s CityLab
A historic agreement in 2015 was supposed to bring 162 isolated villages into the modern world. A lot of them are still waiting.

2015

India – The disappearing children of Assam – Al Jazeera English
Children are being trafficked into forced labour and sexual exploitation in large numbers from Assam state.

Hunting down witches in Northeast India – Al Jazeera English 
Accusations of black magic causing disease and death have led to dozens of deaths during mob attacks in Assam state.