fiftytwo

vikram shah

Vikram Shah is an associate editor at 52. His writing has appeared in Mint Lounge and The Hindu's Sunday Magazine.

Stories vikram has worked on

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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
09 Oct 20
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Kingdom

Aristocrats, enigmatic wives, and spymasters in the drama of Sikkim’s merger with India
16 Oct 20
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Powder

From an English chemist to YouTube cooks via refugees from Rawalpindi, how custard changed India’s sweet tooth
23 Oct 20
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Shift

A personal history of how the internet came home, became magazine fodder, and changed a life
30 Oct 20
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Milk

For a few days in 1995, many Indians believed a religious idol had developed a lifelike ability to drink milk.
06 Nov 20
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Power

An open letter to the Supreme Court changed the way many Indians thought about women’s rights. The rest should be history.
20 Nov 20
Accord - Week 8 on FiftyTwo.in - Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Accord

From the jungles to the negotiating table, a short history of India’s longest-running insurgency.
27 Nov 20
The Woods - by Mohit Rao, illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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The Woods

One man’s quest to save a Nilgiris forest, and how it changed Indian environmental law.
04 Dec 20
Gallops - Arun Janardhan for FiftyTwo.in; Illustration - Akshaya Zachariah
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Gallops

Name, place, animals: the things that keep horse racing alive in India.
11 Dec 20
Kamla — by Chinmay Tumbe; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Kamla

She was shunted out of the history of India’s most prestigious business school. On her birth centenary, a researcher redresses the record.
17 Dec 20
Labels — by Meher Varma; Illustrations by Pia Alize Hazarika
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Labels

It’s shopping season, and you’re buying the same thing over and over again.
24 Dec 20
Asylum — Alok Sarin & Sanjay Jain; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Asylum

A brief history of the Tezpur mental hospital through epidemics, wars and partitions.
08 Jan 21
Whitewater - by Shail Desai; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Whitewater

Exactly thirty years ago, an Indo-Japanese contingent set off on an audacious rafting trip on the Brahmaputra.
22 Jan 21
Succession - Aathira Perinchery; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Succession

Evolutionary ecologists keep finding new species in the Western Ghats. Here’s how it happens.
29 Jan 21
Smashed - Namrata Kolachalam; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Smashed

How Prohibition came to Andhra Pradesh, and how it’s going.
12 Feb 21
Reels - Vinay Aravind. Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Reels

The changeover that revolutionised the Indian movie theatre, and the projectionists who watched it happen.
19 Feb 21
Walkover - Deepti Patwardhan; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Walkover

In 1974, India boycotted the most consequential tennis tie in its history. It was a moral victory, but it took its toll.
26 Feb 21
Fissile by Urvashi Shankar; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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Fissile

India has big plans for new nuclear power plants. What does it plan to do with the old ones?
05 Mar 21
Setting by Aditya Mani Jha; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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Setting

How cricket got over one of the biggest scandals in its history.
12 Mar 21
Ballot - Rajeeva Laxman Karandikar and Srinivas Bhogle; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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Ballot

Everything you wanted to know about election forecasting but were afraid to ask.
19 Mar 21
Masters - Aditya Shrikrishna; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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Masters

Politics, social tensions, and comedy all found a home in Tamil cinema. The Tamil meme needs all four things to work.
26 Mar 21
The Dig - Sowmiya Ashok; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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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.
02 Apr 21
Hathi by Supriya Roychoudhury; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
16 Apr 21
Coupling by Joshua Muyiwa; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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Coupling

Stories from the spectrum of queer marriage in India, beyond the pale of law and identity.
23 Apr 21
The Cure by Kiran Kumbhar; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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The Cure

When it comes to life-saving, even India’s jingoists take modern medicine for granted. This is how that happened.
30 Apr 21
The Knife by Leena Reghunath; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
11 May 21
Borders by Saba Imtiaz; Ilustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Borders

Many in Pakistan have considered the sari a foreign item of clothing. Generations of Pakistani women have insisted on wearing it anyway.
21 May 21
The Testimony by Monica Jha; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
28 May 21
Scales by Kamakshi Ayyar; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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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.
04 Jun 21
Friends by Ankur Pathak; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah
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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.’
11 Jun 21
Ambassador by Narayani Basu; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
25 Jun 21
White by Dilip D'Souza; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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White

Indian scientists have been going to Antarctica for four decades. What exactly do they do there?
02 Jul 21
Tornado by Annika Taneja; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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Tornado

Long before the people of Delhi had to worry about the climate apocalypse, a twister ripped through its university campus.
09 Jul 21
Hi, Dear by Rega; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Hi, Dear

The internet was meant to transform how India falls in love. Instead, it revolutionised how we creep each other out.
16 Jul 21
Troops by Monika Mondal; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Troops

Monkeys and humans are fighting for space in Indian cities. Right now, it doesn’t look like a winnable war.
23 Jul 21
Mysore Star by Seema Singh; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
06 Aug 21
Homelands by Rayan Naqash; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah on FiftyTwo.in
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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.
13 Aug 21
Khansama by Sadaf Hussain; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Khansama

A chef lifts the veil on his journey from home cook to TV stardom and the heat of the Indian restaurant kitchen.
20 Aug 21
Solo by Nikhil Eapen; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Solo

Three boats, three men, and the Indian history of one of the world’s last great adventures.
27 Aug 21
The Foreigner by Makepeace Sitlhou; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in. Picture credit: Prakash Bhuyan.
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The Foreigner

An Assam Border Police official and ex-serviceman, Mohammed Sanaullah was the model Indian citizen. Then his employers decided he wasn't.
03 Sep 21
Majority Report by Alok Prasanna Kumar; Illustrations by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
10 Sep 21
Reservoir Gods by Aparajith Ramnath; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Reservoir Gods

How the Cauvery was dammed, through the eyes of the project’s foremost champion, M. Visvesvaraya—and his fiercest critics.
17 Sep 21
Source Code by Vedica Kant; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
24 Sep 21
Stamina by Sohini; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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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.
01 Oct 21
The Namesakes by Sanjana Ramachandran; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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The Namesakes

The story of roughly fifty Sanjanas, how their parents decided to call them that, and the secret history of why Indians give their babies the names they do.
08 Oct 21
Rice, Fat, Meat, Streets by Ahmer Naqvi; Illustration by Akshaya Zachariah for FiftyTwo.in
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Rice, Fat, Meat, Streets

Why does biryani mean so much to so many people on the Indian subcontinent? The answers may be found on the streets of one of the world’s food capitals: Karachi.
15 Oct 21