Tuesday, December 22, 2009


In Manipur, education is under lock and key. Not one single official class has been held in this Indian state for the last 4 months. Schools, colleges and universities have been shut officially. Watch VIDEO.

Student bodies want justice in the alleged fake encounter killings that took place on July 23 in Imphal and the Chief Minister to resign.(post on encounter) Hence the call for boycott. Such is the law and order breakdown in the state, parents are afraid to send students to schools. Schools are apprehensive of attacks by boycott supporters. The state government is not able to provide security, probably couldn't care less. Most ministers have their sons, daughters studying in expensive boarding schools in other states. The Indian education minister has not issued a single statement. He would probably say that this problem does not fall under his jurisdiction. The Indian Home Minister is mostly busy in meetings and talking to TV reporters (trying to bring law and order under control). The photograph was taken in Manipur this August.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little Buddhas

And all of them waiting for the 14th Dalai Lama in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh


The journey back to Tawang on the 50th year of his (The Dalai Lama's) escape from Tibet in 1959, drew Tibetan Buddhists from different corners to this town. People not only came from different corners of India, some have even come from Bhutan and Nepal on foot. And all of them came to meet the person they believe to be the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the living god.

Chasing The Old Monk

He spoke to the media twice inside the Tawang Monastery. That was the first day of his visit. And he spoke at length. Dalai Lama: I am not the issue, issue is 6 million Tibetan people’s well being, their basic rights, unless the Chinese govt address these basic issue seriously, there is no question my return, the very reason why we left Tibet because of there is some problem so unless the Chinese govt you see address these basic problem you see no use

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kurseong Morning

At the Kurseong Tourist Lodge

Thursday, October 8, 2009


My favourite Kurseong photograph

Assam October


On Sunday, October 4, 12 people were killed by the anti-talks faction of the National Democractic Front of Bodoland. This group was primarily responsible for the October 30 serial blasts in Assam in 2008 that killed 90. But the intentions of the Centre or the State government in containing the NDFB remain unclear. As government officials/ministers keep rushing from one TV studio to another and talking about Mumbai Blasts or so-called Naxalite violence, these deaths it seems go unnoticed. It's almost as if life in this corner of India is expendable.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Fifty years ago, the 14th Dalai Lama made his escape into India through Tawang. He stayed in this monastery, the 328 year old Galden Namgey Lhatse Monastery, Tibetan Buddhism's biggest monastery after the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Fifty years later much has changed. We now have the 1962 war and a defeat--deep imprint of which still remains in the minds of Indians and residents of Tawang. Fifty years later, we also have the Tawang Lhasa highway. A highway that I thought looked better with all the distance maths on this beautiful yellow board. I visited Tawang to find out if indeed people were waiting for the Dalai Lama's much talked about November visit. Last year he had cancelled his visit reportedly after he was denied permission to travel by the Ministry of External Affairs. This year the story so far seems to be different. Tawang remains the shortest route from Tibet into India. When we went, it was early morning, very few people and the monastery was just waking up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sela Pass

Sela Pass is the second higest motorable road in the world. It's named after Sela, who apparently was the girlfriend of an Indian army soldier Jaswant Singh. In the 1962 war Jaswant was killed at this place. Story goes, Sela used to bring him supplies and help him. She killed herself after Jaswant's death.

Another version( from the web): The hill in the background is called Sela Top in memory of Sela who (during the 1962 War) took Chinese soldiers to its top on the pretext of showing Jaswant Singh ( Indian Army Jawan); and from there she pushed the Chinese soldiers down killing all of them; she also committed suicide before being shot by others. Jaswant was the soldier who stood his fort alone against the Chinese. Finally he was caught but he shot himself before the Chinese soldiers could take him. Jaswant Ghat is the place in his memory.

Arunachal II

Second Arunachal visit. This time, I was travelling to Tawang district and then to Bum La on the Chinese side of the border. This photograph was taken at the Dirang area.


Shobabajar Durga Idol in North Calcutta. My first visit to this place. Managed to start early morning and do a bit of Puja pandal hopping. ( was there in Calcutta for 3 days) . Shobabajar has an interesting history. In 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, the British decided to build Fort William in the heart of Gobindapur. The people who stayed here were compensated and provided with land in Taltala, Kumartuli and Shobabajar. Nabakrishna Deb built his Rajbari at Shobabajar. After the death of Siraj ud-Daulah, Nabakrishna Deb, Mir Jafar, Amir Beg and Ramchand Roy earned eight crore rupees from the secret treasury. These were people who colluded with the British. That's how the people of Shobabajar Rajbari made their fortune. This place witnessed more. After his return from the Parliament of World's religions at Chicago, Swami Vivekananda was given a civic reception at the Shobabajar Rajbari. Also the famous widow remarriage debate between the upper class orthodox Hindus and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar took place in Shobabajar ( wikipedia has a good entry under Shobabazar)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Just back from Arunachal Pradesh. The state goes to elections on October 13

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Manipur II


On July 23rd, 27 year-old Chungkham Sanjit and 23 year old Rabina Devi, seven months pregnant was allegedly shot dead by the Manipur Police Commandos. After two months, the two deaths are still caught in the cycle of enquiries and protests. Manipur, today, presents a picture of extremes. The state has over 30 militant outfits and is under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, that was imposed in the state in 1980. Caught between the army, paramilitary, police commandos and the underground outfits are the people of the state. No development, almost no water, no electricity, schools closed in protest and yet no one seems to care about Manipur.


Jama Masjid area. Al Jawahar. Besides Karim's

Shillong II

July, 2009


Police Bazaar, Shillong

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sikkim 2009

Back after a long break. Garhwal, Sikkim, Delhi, Calcutta, Shillong--waiting to upload some photographs. This photograph was taken in Yumtham valley in Sikkim in July this year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

German Bakery, Rishikesh, 2009

One of our favourite spots in Rishikesh


Bridge, just after Rudraprayag


Biru ( background) with Senior Lala. Biru is our friend and the magic-man of the mountains.


Near Tunganath. Biru, Raju, Banerjee, Whitney and Dharmaraj

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lord Of The Lofty Heights

Just back from a trek to Tunganath in Uttaranchal. Photograph taken at Tunganath ( 13,000 feet)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tura Friends

My two friends on the road to Tura in Meghalya. Water is precious in Tura. My blue t-shirt friend is carrying water in a beer can. His big brother is carrying the umbrella. Both are helping their mother.

Garo Hills

The contrast between the roads that lead to Tura and the villages are stark. Though Phiding is on the other side of the divide, his love for the Sangmas is evident on his NCP-Agatha-t-shirt. But for many like Nere ( photograph at the top)--a mother of ten living in the remote Chibragre village--entitlement is an alien idea. "We need water, roads. What else do I ask for", she says. Nere stays in Chibrage village in Garo Hills.