On The Move With Radhe Shyam Mithulal Verma of Faizabad


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I’ve studied till class five.

Ab aap din bhar kheti mai kaam krengi, thak jaengi toh padhengi kya?
[Now for an entire day if you were working in the field, later being tired, would you study?]

I was 14-15 years old when I ran away from my house without telling anyone, neither, mother father, nor anyone else at home.
The first job I did was of washing glasses at a hotel in Surat. I didn’t know anybody there. I didn’t know the place either.

Kuch bhi maloom nahi tha. Bas aise hi bhaag gaye.
[Didn’t know anything, just ran with nothing in mind]

I left with only Rs 40 in my pocket at that time. I used to be paid Rs 10 for work of 12 hours-

subah 8 baje lgta tha, raat ko 8 baje chooth ta tha, lekin usme bhi do mahine ka 200 rupaya bach jata tha mila kar.
Rehne ke liye jaise ye hotel hai, iske band ho jane par , uske chajje ke neeche so jata tha.


Radhe Shyam Mithulal Verma of Faizabad (Photograph with permission)

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On The Move With Dinesh Kumar Jaiswal, Rickshaw Driver, Mumbai

29-year-old Dinesh Kumar Jaiswal brings forth the underlying aspirations and dreams of every individual.

“Time hi nahi milta yahan. Pehle kaam phir ghar. Yahan kisi ke paas samay hi nahi hai.

 Mumbai se accha hai gaon. City se accha hai gaon. Wahan kam kaam krunga tab bhi khana kha skta hun, yahan kon khilayega?

[We don’t get extra time here. First work then home, nobody has extra time here.
Our village is better than Mumbai. Our village is better than a city. There, even if I work less, I’ll manage to fetch food, who will feed me here?]”


Dinesh Kumar Jaiswal, 29, Rickshaw Driver, Mumbai

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On The Move With Mohd. Jamaludin, Rickshaw Driver, Mumbai


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Mohammad Jamaludin , a 27 year-old, owner and driver of the Rickshaw I sat in seemed super excited when I told him about my personal project of collecting life stories of Rickshaw/Taxi Drivers. “You’ll get the best story from me,” he exclaimed.

I like the life where there is saving- where someone in front of me says that yes man; he’s done something in his life!


Mohd. Jamaludin, 27-year-old Rickshaw Driver, Mumbai (Photograph with permission)

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On The Move with Mishra Ji, Taxi Driver, Mumbai


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“Hum to Mishra hain. Hari Shankar Mishra. Zyada tar log hume Pandit Ji keh kar bulate hain. Kisi ne ek baar naam bula diya Driver Sahab, toh ho gye Driver Sahab. Ab sab Driver Sahab bulate hain”.

[I’m Mishra, Hari Shankar Mishra. Most of the people call me Pandit Ji. Once someone called me Driver Sahib, I became Driver Sahib for all. Now everyone calls me Driver Sahib]


Hari Shankar Mishra, Taxi Driver, Mumbai (Photograph with permission)

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Being Fat.


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As I complete the 30th crunch of this evening workout in the balcony of my corner house in Mumbai, the last twist brings forth some old memories.

I remember the 9 year-old me lying on the bed, sucking my loose-pouched belly (though it never really went in), holding my breath and constantly feeling the denim’s stretch suffocating at the waist.

“A bit more,” mom would tell directing a firmer pull of my well-rounded stomach.

Short of air and stamina both, jaded and irritated of the pull and push, I’d take one final gasp and hope for the tummy muscles to tighten. Sensing the opportunity, mum would smartly yank the sides and somehow make the ends of my jeans meet- the button in the loop, zip dragged up and the only pair of pants done right.

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Our Inked Wounds

She says she wants to write a story on our loss.

I smirk.

She expects me to say something. I refuse to respond.

I take out a white wax strip from the new packet and check for the smoother side. I dip the silver knife in the hot golden wax tin and apply a smooth layer of hot wax on her naked right calf as she sits comfortably on her black leather couch.

While I sit on the floor, her right foot rests on my folded thighs; she clasps my shoulders and closes her eyes. I suggest her to hold her meaty leg instead.

She thinks I’m offended by her question.

I smirk.

Her deer eyes squeeze as I strongly pull the white turned golden strip towards myself. She wriggles at the pull of her hair.

Hairless. Loose. Soft.

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14 Years Lost In A Lie

Khan’s memoir, Framed As A Terrorist, reflects stories of Muslims caught in the web of farcical terrorist investigations

Avantika Seth
21 June 2016

There he was. Prime focus of the stage lights. Addressing a largely decent crowd, achingly answering to the questions posed by Sidharth Bhatia, Founding Editor, The Wire, as we all sat in another hollow wooden room of National Centre for the Performing Arts at Mumbai. His bated breath while recollecting the horror evidently choked something inside him and silently within us too.


Sidharth Bhatia(L) in conversation with Mohammad Aamir Khan(R)


I was listening to the same story for the second time in over a year. While the narrator was constant, the setting had considerably improved. “My education has been so much different from you,” Khan had said while we were travelling in a local bus from Delhi to Muzaffarnagar, in the wee hours of cold February 2014. He’d also said about how he wanted more young journalists to cover situations like Muzaffarnagar Riots and how exuberant he was to accompany me on my way to interviewing victims of the riots.

While I observed that a lot of things had transformed in him since then, his smile had the similar tinge of fright and melancholy. Mohammad Aamir Khan was here to speak about his autobiographical account, Framed as a Terrorist: My 14-Year Struggle to Prove My Innocence, co-written with Nandita Haksar, released in February 2016 by Speaking Tiger. The book vividly talks about him being kidnapped by the police, accused of being a terrorist, planting bombs and being in league with dreaded Pakistan-based militants. He was tortured and framed in about nineteen bomb blast cases at the age of 21 in 1998.
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Will acquittals mark the tragic end of Muzaffarnagar riots, 2013?


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It has been over two years since the Indian media wrote expansively on the brutal riots in district Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh in September 2013. According to Harsh Mander, part of a fact-finding team who submitted a report entitled, Muzaffarnagar 2013:Violence by Political Design, officially, about 39 people had died in the riots out of which six were Hindus or more specifically Jats and the rest, Muslims and about 25,000 people were displaced, out of which all, except about 700, were Muslims. However, unofficial counts the number as 53 killed on the basis of autopsies done in hospitals around the district and puts the displaced number as 53,000. Among the main accused were BJP leaders, Hokum Singh, Suresh Rana, Sanjeev Baliyan, Virendra Singh, Umesh Malik and Sangeet Som. An FIR was also lodged against BSP leader, Kadir Rana, for making an inflammatory speech. The riots not only marked the growing hate between two communities namely, Hindu Jats and Muslims but also highlighted how the vicious circle of violence and brutality ultimately leads to mass rapes and sexual violence against women. Continue reading

 Charged with sedition?


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My father calls me up and asks what I’ll be writing today.

I say, “sedition it is”.

“You might get arrested,” he laughs.


Source :Google Images

I smile.

Today, as I write this article I’m scared of the crime I might be committing. I’m not very sure if the reader is on the safe side too. When anything can be tagged as anti-national, I’m skeptical that this write-up might not even fit in the right framework of being respectful to apna bharat mahaan!

By the way, I’ve always considered myself to be pretty country oriented- I prefer not loitering around, I’m not very biased towards any religion, I stand upright as I hear the national anthem, I do this and I do a lot of that and the regular things that most of us do everyday in the name of the nation. However,I’m not much supportive of beef ban, haven’t judged Aamir Khan for his views on tolerance/intolerance, I precisely hate caste politics, mourn the recent tragic death of Rohit Vemula and sincerely feel sad for the current mayhem at the much worshipped Jawaharlal Nehru University’s campus.

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