The hairy story behind India’s ‘black gold’ exports

It’s an overcast Monday morning in a low-income housing colony in Bengaluru’s Kamala Nagar. Malleesh, 21, Parasuram, 21, and Ravi , 24, are on a peculiar quest. Swinging a large sack slung over one shoulder while balancing a hefty net, crammed with aluminium vessels, they make their way through the neighbourhood, hollering ‘Kudalu patre kasu’ (vessels for hair), a boisterous call in hot pursuit of something valuable to them: balls of fallen human hair.

The Mindhunters: How brain mapping detects memories of crime

In the shadowy realm of crime, the human brain isn’t merely a cunning accomplice. It can also be the ultimate snitch. Over the last two decades, ‘ Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature (BEOS) profiling’ — also referred to as ‘brain-mapping’ or ‘brain fingerprinting’— has emerged as a forensic tool meant to unlock criminal secrets within the grey matter and crack open a case when traditional investigative methods hit a wall.

How Chhattisgarh's 'live-in' tradition is taking a toll on Adivasi kids

In the lush forests of Surguja district in northern Chhattisgarh where the Mahabharata still resonates, live two primitive tribes — the Pando claiming lineage to the Pandavas and the Korwa to the Kauravas. However, despite their unique cultural heritage, children from these tribes have been bearing the weight of a time-honoured tradition. More and more couples are embracing the tradition of dhuku to save expense of a lavish wedding but for the children they neglect or abandon, there is a heavy price to pay

Decoding the fictional country of Kailasa that catfished 30 US cities

It was a usual scene at the annual meetings hosted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in the UN Office headquarters at Geneva, last month. Conference-goers — NGOs, permanent missions, academic institutions from different countries — filed into a room inside the historic Palais Wilson building to discuss their rights.What was unusual was a delegation of about a dozen women — decked in gold jewel

An app to take the sting out of snakebites

From far flung farming villages to semi-urban towns as well as cities, tales of snakebite — a neglected tropical disease — abound. Over 58,000 people in the country succumb to snakebites every year and even though snakes are at the heart of the human-wildlife conflict in India — which also bears the highest burden of snakebite in the world with a record of 2.8 million cases between 2000 and 2019 according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) — there is little or no awareness.

India asked to tackle FGM at UNHRC meet

Just when efforts to end FGM — also called khatna/khafz and involves partial or total removal of the clitoris as part of a well-guarded religious practise among Bohra Muslims in India — was hitting a stalemate, the issue garnered global attention earlier this month when Costa Rica asked India to tackle the issue at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva when 14 UN member states, including India were having their human rights records examined.

Why so many Shraddhas get stuck with abusive partners

Rather than pointing fingers at the victim, experts say it’s important to understand the complexities of intimate partner violence

The news cycle this past week has been dominated by the gruesome killing of 26-year-old Shraddha Walkar by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala, 28, who strangled her, cut her up into 35 pieces, stored them in a refrigerator and went on with life until he fessed up over drinks with a friend.

While the killing has sparked a debate about the impact of true crime show

Schemes for Covid orphans hit roadblocks on ground

The ferocity of the pandemic has killed parents of young children around the country. And out of nearly 10, 386 children who lost their parents - according to data from the Ministry of Women and Child Development in February 2022 - as many as 718 are from Maharashtra , which has the second highest number of vulnerable children in India after Odisha and among the top five states with the highest number of children orphaned during Covid-19.

Battlefield to boardroom, transition for many veterans is drill of a different kind

In his 20 years of military service, colonel Sabyasachi Rath , 43 has flown helicopters in treacherous terrains including the Siachen Glacier, commanded units along the Northern Borders and clocked in 2500 hours of flying time for the Indian Army. Lately, Rath's survival skills have been put to test over a conflict he did not anticipate when he decided to retire in January, 2023.

Why trafficking survivors need more than 'rescue'

There are endless stories of human trafficking rescues — of women, girls and a handful of minor boys from far flung corners of the country sold into brothels, construction sites and even middle class homes — flooding our news feed every day. The world now knows about those caught in the trap of what is referred to as modern day slavery but the stories of struggle after they manage to escape the clutches of their traffickers, remains largely untold.

Schools embrace inclusivity, adopt gender-neutral uniforms, language

No more “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen!” at the annual day function at Birla Open Minds International School from now on. The school in Walkeshwar and its 138 branches across the country have decided to do away with its traditional greeting at events and meetings by replacing it with gender-neutral alternatives such as “Dear guests” or “Hello everyone” as a step towards inclusivity.
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