In Delhi’s Wazirabad village, all of India’s modernity vanishes. This settlement of over 9,000 Afghan refugees is a squalid reminder of South Asia’s civil strife. There are over 23,500 refugees and asylum-seekers in Delhi. For the majority, exile meant long, arduous journeys over harsh terrain with little in their pockets. Most have no legal right
The death penalty has historically enabled tyranny. King Hammurabi of Babylon (1800 BC) codified the death penalty for 25 different crimes, omitting murder. By the 7th century BC, the Draconian code of Athens offered death for every crime committed, while the Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets codified it, crucifying Jesus Christ by 29 AD.
The usurious moneylender was well-known, even in colonial times. “The ryot cannot cultivate without borrowing because his crop goes largely to the long-term creditor,” says the Central Banking Enquiry Committee Report of 1929. India’s poor still remain vulnerable: 51.4 per cent of all farmers are excluded from both formal and informal sources of finance. Thirty-one
Espionage in India has a long pedigree. Rigvedic hymns invoke Agni as the deceiver of foes, with spies detecting and catching criminals. Kautilya classified nine different types of spies—a fraudulent disciple (kapatikachhatra), a recluse (udasthita), a householder (grihapaitika), a merchant (vaidehaka), an ascetic (tapasa), a colleague (satri), a firebrand (tikshna), a poisoner (rasada) and a