On India’s COVID-19 frontline, female health workers push for fair pay

Rushing from one home to another in a village in western India, health worker Ashwini Mhaske cannot afford to take a breather. Working to keep COVID-19 at bay while caring for mothers and babies, Mhaske races between households to meet job targets and earn bonuses for a average monthly wage of 4,000 rupees ($54) that […]

Graphic artist Sayra Begum reveals her atypical British Muslim story

by LAUREN CODLING A BRITISH MUSLIM has revealed the inspiration behind her autobiographical debut graphic novel, which explores her multi-cultural upbringing. Sayra Begum’s Mongrel explores a number of issues, including immigration and racism, from the perspective of the Muslim protagonist, Shuna. The story also centres on mixed heritage relationships and intergenerational experiences. Of mixed heritage […]

Northeast India’s Nagaland recalls ‘Stalingrad of the East’

TO Kuozeu Vizo, the landscape was as spellbinding as a rice field, golden and ripe for harvest, but it was her village burned black. “I still wonder how they even knew which land belonged to whom when they started rebuilding the village,” said Vizo, 98. She and fellow Naga people in northeastern India recalled the […]

‘Losing my brother and mum has not been easy’

by LAUREN CODLING A MOTHER-OF-TWO with an inherited heart condition has vowed to raise awareness of the disease in memory of her mother and brother, who have both died from the illness. Thanieth Khan was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) when she was 14 years old. According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), around one […]

New Tara Arts boss strives to make culture accessible

by LAUREN CODLING THE new artistic director of Tara Arts theatre in south London has promised to engage with the local community, describing the Covid-19 crisis as a “real moment  to listen and think about where we are”. Abdul Shayek was last week announced as the new leader of the arts institution, known for its […]

Ganges River flows with history and prophecy for India

More than 2,000 years ago, a powerful king built a fort on the banks of India’s holiest river, on the fringes of what is now a vast industrial city. Today, little of the ancient construction remains, except for mounds of rubble that tannery workers pick through for bricks to build shanties atop what was once […]

Virus rages in smalltown India, and so does stigma

Sarthak Anand says his neighbours treated him like a “criminal” when he got coronavirus, a common experience in India’s vast hinterland where the pandemic — and stigmatisation — are now raging. “Even though I have recovered fully, no one wants to come near me,” Anand, a government employee, told AFP outside his home in Meerut, […]

‘Lack of Covid advice for Asians has impacted us’

by LAUREN CODLING A YOUNG British Asian has spoken about the difficulties of living in a multi-generational home during the Covid-19 crisis, claiming the government “failed to provide specific messaging” for those in shared housing. Aashi Begum*, 18, lives with her parents, grandmother and aunt in Newham, east London. In an interview with Eastern Eye, […]

Textiles industry faces scrutiny after Leicester outbreak

Earlier this summer Leicester and its thriving textiles industry found itself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. As the government was starting to ease coronavirus lockdown measures, the city of around 355,000 people became a COVID-19 hotspot, prompting officials to reimpose the social distancing regime. This in turn led to renewed allegations modern […]

Virus rules leave Bollywood’s low-paid army stricken

India’s coronavirus lockdown made little difference to Bollywood superstars but for the industry’s vast army of low-paid, unskilled workers it meant unemployment, hunger and homelessness — with no end in sight even as shoots gradually resume. Fahim Shaikh used to earn 800 rupees ($11) a day as a “spot boy” on sets, doing odd jobs […]