In the decade until 2018, at least 69 manual scavengers did in Karnataka, the majority of them while cleaning septic tanks. This is the story of some such workers in a rural town, who were made to do illegal and dehumanising work, and not even paid.
– Anusuya Som
The freedom fighter’s letter was written in 1931, amidst concerns about the Congress seeking a compromise with the British Raj. In it, he outlines when a compromise is permissible and when it isn’t. He advises the working class youth of the country in particular to adopt Marxism as their ideology, work among the people, organise workers and peasants, and form a communist party.
After Bhagat Singh’s execution, the letter was published in a mutilated form; all references to Soviet Union, Marx, Lenin, communist party were deleted. It was only published in full by the colonial government in a secret report in 1936.
– Sakshi Rakshale
This film, directed by Kabir Khan, is a historical tale that needed telling. It is about the Azad Hind Fauj, which was launched by Subhas Chandra Bose to overthrow the British Raj. It is an aspect of India’s freedom struggle that is often ignored, so due credit to Kabir Singh for bringing it to the big screen.
– Ivneet Kaur
Maria Konnikova explains how the open office was evolved after cubicles came to be regarded as inhuman for treating people as machines. And how, far from being a better alternative, it’s inducing stress by making employees multitask unrealistically. The open office also reduces the attention span.
– Veena Nair
It's a fictionalised take on the Indian Premier League and follows all major controversies that have dogged the league over the years, including match fixing. The first season came out in 2017 and the second one in December 2019. The first season was better to watch, though. Nevertheless, the series, with 20 episodes in total so far, can be a fun weekend watch.
– Ayan Sharma
The Vegetarian Han Kang
The book won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016. It narrates the story of the South Korean society where patriarchy and expectation of loyalty to routine are the norm. This leads to an ugly expression of suppressed desires, causing a complete breakdown of the societal and familial structures. It questions the relationship between sexuality and madness; art and the human subject; and perception and fluidity.
The book deconstructs institutions and puts forward some disturbing yet important questions.
– Chahak Gupta
1619 The New York Times
In August 1619, more than 400 years ago, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. With this, 250 years of slavery followed. This podcast, broken into five episodes, looks at the brutality of capitalism by tracing it back to the plantations, the story of black land ownership, the civil rights movement, and so much more. It's an extremely compelling, impactful and moving listen.
My favourite episode is "The Birth of American Music". From Toto and Supertramp, Steely Dan and Kenny Loggins, David Bowie and Amy Winehouse: you don't realise how much black history courses through music.
– Jayashree Arunachalam
The Photographer of Mauthausen Netflix
The film tells the history of the photographer Francisco Boix during his life in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex. Based on real events, the photographer tries to save evidence of the horrors committed inside the walls of a Nazi concentration camp.
– Atul Chaurasia
Delhi Crime Netflix
Since the execution of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case has been postponed (again), watch this 7 episode series based on the case. The series follows the story in the aftermath of the gang rape, where Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Vartika Chaturvedi is tasked to find the culprits responsible for the assaults and death of the victim.
- Anukriti Malik