Paradigm / Shift: Stories of innovation, shaped by intelligence.

P/S 04

Greener

A new wave of Indian start-ups are thinking up innovative ways to deal with the climate crisis. Their tools are artificial intelligence and a whole lot of resolve.

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Week Eighty One
The Match by Bhavya Dore; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in

The Match

Season Two
A generation of Europeans is now returning to Sri Lanka, a country from which they were adopted as children, to search for their birth mothers. What they learn about their families, and themselves, has deep consequences.
bhavya dore
Week Eighty
Knife in the Back by Kapil Kajal; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in

Knife in the Back

Season Two
In western Rajasthan, Dalits may be murdered for the endearments they call their children, for twirling their moustaches—or for their social media. This is the story of one young man’s death and how it is foregrounded by a legacy of caste crime.
kapil kajal
Week Seventy Nine
Title Deeds by Madhuri Karak; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in

Title Deeds

Season Two
For a decade now, Ruby Hembrom has been publishing stories that aim to get close to the lived experience of Adivasis. Her own life story reflects the big themes of that project.
madhuri karak
Week Seventy Six
Relish by Nikhita Venugopal; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in

Relish

Season Two
Hot. Sweet. Sour. Tangy. Food companies trying to turn tomato ketchup into an Indian condiment attempted every trick in their book. This is the story of how they succeeded.
nikhita venugopal

More stories

Week Seventy Five

Human Touch

Artificial intelligence may be making some jobs obsolete but it has given a new lease of life to one group of people who play an unglamorous but critical role in the machine learning pipeline: first generation women workers in Indian towns and villages.

Week Seventy Four

Pen Friend

Even as the mass nationalist movement was gaining steam and popularising its ideas in print, one family’s own smaller newspapers insisted on a different kind of freedom—from the shackles of caste, illiteracy and poverty. Meet the Bhalekar-Patils of Tarawadi.

Week Seventy Three

Horses

An unusual sight pops up along the highways veining southern Jharkhand: paired statues of horses. Soon after moving to the Seraikela region, the author set out to find their origin story. It turns out there are more than one.

Week Seventy Two

Eulie

Chandigarh, one of the great projects of the new Indian republic, is forever associated with the genius of its Franco-Swiss chief architects. But it was also a fresh beginning for a generation of brilliant young Indians. One of them was the only woman architect in the group, who made the city her own.

Week Seventy One

The Adversary

Karnataka and Naxalism are not often spoken about in the same breath. But for a whole decade, an enigmatic man named Saketh Rajan led the movement in the state. It wasn’t even his sole name, or claim to fame.

Week Seventy

Restricted Code

Many Indians believe Sanskrit is a perfect language for computer programming and AI research. State-led programmes have deepened the impression. Indian scientists working on AI research would like a word.

Week Sixty Nine

Cast Away

For two decades now, fish have dwindled along Gujarat’s shores. So local fishermen have to go further out, closer and closer to danger: the unmarked, watery border between India and Pakistan.

Week Sixty Seven

Man of Culture

A bacterium found on a remote Pacific island first became the obsession of a Punjabi microbiologist. It then became a wonder drug that gave hope to millions around the world.

Week Sixty Six

Resistance

In the mid-1970s, a remarkable cohort of women found themselves in Bombay. They believed there was more to science than labs and male geniuses. Some of them would pioneer the cause of feminist science studies in India. These are the women who paved the way for themselves.

Week Sixty Five

Exceptions

The ‘disturbed areas’ and ‘illegal migrants’ of today’s India were yesterday’s ‘scheduled districts’ and ‘criminal tribes.’ The line between the past and present is straighter than you think.

Week Sixty Four

Crossfire

Two trends mark the Great North Indian Wedding today. The first is gunshots. The second is orchestra dances performed by women artistes. Together, they’ve created a minor epidemic of crime headlines.

Week Sixty Three

Off Balance

In places like Saharanpur and Buldhana, a rare genetic disease has been taking away control of bodies, lives and livelihoods from entire neighbourhoods. Against all odds, a few scientists and doctors are determined to ease the pain.

Week Sixty Two

Home Alone

In the 1990s, most Pandits were displaced from the Kashmir Valley. The ones who remained are still fighting to be heard and seen.

Week Sixty

Brown Hunters

Shikar: the sport of kings, the symbol of colonial power play, legacy of an unfair age. But for a few years in independent India, it was also a source of income for a poor country—and a calling for the brown hunters, men trying to adjust to a changed world.

Week Fifty Nine

Estate

Forty years ago, there were two parallel movements in Bihar. One wanted a separate state. This is the centuries-old story of the second one: the movement for the independent country of Kolhan.

Week Fifty Eight

Footsoldiers

Political violence in West Bengal isn’t a new phenomenon. It isn’t dominated by election cycles. It doesn’t follow the same patterns as elsewhere in India. This is an explainer from those who’ve survived it for half a century.

Week Fifty Seven

Doctor Who

He was a doctor on a tea estate in Assam. He studied at a prestigious college. Like thousands of other medical professionals in rural India, he was also not the person he claimed to be.

Week Fifty Six

Ire on the Mountain

Some years before reality TV in India went full rogue, a primetime show had five civilians reach the basecamp of the world’s highest mountain. An oral history of ‘Mission Everest.’

Week Fifty Five

Your Honour

Priya Ramani spoke up during 2018’s MeToo movement. A Union minister filed a criminal case against her. The consequences were severe—but also offered hope for the future.

Week Fifty

Stamina

India’s marathon culture came of age thanks to liberalisation. It jump-started the career of many athletes, birthed new marketing strategies—and changed the lives of dozens of girls in a drought-prone village of eastern Maharashtra.

Week Forty Nine

Source Code

Liberalisation helped make India the world’s software capital. This is what it looked like to the men who built its most successful company, Infosys.

Week Forty Seven

Majority Report

For most of independent India’s history, President’s Rule was imposed on an average of 2.5 times a year. Now it’s rarely invoked. Here’s what changed the game for Indian federalism.

Week Forty Three

Homelands

For the nomadic Gujjar-Bakarwals of J&K, the abrogation of Article 370 came with a sliver of hope for their lands and livelihoods. But they’ve been losing both for years.

Week Forty Two

Mysore Star

Not all new Indian cinema was born in Bombay, Calcutta or Madras. One pioneer helped build the Kannada movie world in Mysore. In the year of his birth centenary, this is the story of Shankar Singh.

Week Thirty Nine

Hi, Dear

The internet was meant to transform how India falls in love. Instead, it revolutionised how we creep each other out.

Week Thirty Eight

Tornado

Long before the people of Delhi had to worry about the climate apocalypse, a twister ripped through its university campus.

Week Thirty Six

Ambassador

She aced independent India's first civil services examination. Then she made history by exposing the misogyny of the country's elite diplomatic corps.

Week Thirty Four

Friends

Twenty years ago, a film about the bond between three posh Bombay boys changed the rules of Hindi cinema. Here’s an oral history of ‘Dil Chahta Hai.’

Week Thirty Three

Scales

Over 50,000 Indians die of snakebite every year. We know how to save these lives—but producing the cure is easier said than done.

Week Thirty Two

The Testimony

Hundreds of children from Bihar's Gaya district had been trafficked to Jaipur's bangle workshops. Then, a group of boys escaped against all odds.

Week Thirty One

Borders

Many in Pakistan have considered the sari a foreign item of clothing. Generations of Pakistani women have insisted on wearing it anyway.

Week Thirty

The Knife

Firebrand revolutionary, renowned administrator, betrayed communist icon. K.R. Gouri will go down in history as one of the tallest leaders of her time and place.

Week Twenty Seven

Hathi

Millions suffered through terror and upheaval in the turbulent years following the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. One of them was a baby elephant from India.

Week Twenty Five

The Dig

The Keeladi excavations may alter the world’s ideas about the earliest Indians. But progress hasn’t been smooth for one of the country’s most sensational archaeological projects.

Week Eleven

Kamla

She was shunted out of the history of India’s most prestigious business school. On her birth centenary, a researcher redresses the record.

Week One

Collision

Twenty-four years ago, two burning planes plunged into the mustard and cotton fields of a Haryana village. It changed the way we fly

weeks stories writers