The Fall of a Sparrow – Salim Ali

The Fall of a Sparrow – my current read, is an autobiography of the maverick Indian Ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. He borrows the title from Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “…there’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow”. Striking is the man’s spirit for adventure and passion for studying birds. Birwatching, he writes is one of the most […]

First things first – bombings & governance

Derek Gregory at Geographical Imaginations shares this interesting special issue – Game of Drones of the New Inquiry. From the set of essays, Madiha Tahrir’s reportage on bombings in Pakistan is a painful read of what the human condition looks like amidst the killer drones which has been more frequent in the Pakistani skies that the birds […]

Anatomy of a Disaster: Cyclone Phailin

This month we are on an assignment which takes us to cyclone affected districts of Orissa. Reflecting on what we saw from our travel in the region in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin (which struck India’s eastern coast on October 12, 2013) it appears that Odisha’s preparedness and response to the disaster is an extraordinary example […]

Absurdity of fasting as activism (or fancier still – social intervention)

Here is a crude joke which sums up whats happening at this place I attend. An ageing philanthropist, a promising young mountaineer and an activist are flying in a small plane. Half way in their journey the plane develops a snag. The pilot declares that the plane will crash soon, grabs a parachute and jumps […]

Footloose Livelihoods: Living with hawkers of Kuppam

Our last field study on vegetable hawkers of Kuppam comes to a close with a presentation and a small poster exhibition that was put up in the university. This one shares the presentation that includes a synthesis of our observations, as well as some highlights as posters. For a look at Field Notes from our […]