herpsandbirds · 3 days
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Indian Black Narrowmouth Frog aka “Space Frog” (Melanobatrachus indicus), T - female, B - male, family Microhylidae, Kerala, in the Western Ghats of India
photograph by Sandeep Das
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folkfashion · 1 day
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Marathi woman, India, by Fotocaters Photography
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reasonsforhope · 6 hours
It was widely described as the week that India’s beleaguered democracy was pulled back from the brink. As the election results rolled in on Tuesday [June 4, 2024], all predictions and polls were defied as Narendra Modi lost his outright majority for the first time in a decade while the opposition re-emerged as a legitimate political force. On Sunday evening, Modi will be sworn in as prime minister yet many believe his power and mandate stands diminished.
For one opposition politician in particular, the humbling of the strongman prime minister was a moment to savour. Late last year, Mahua Moitra, one of the most outspoken critics of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), found herself unceremoniously expelled from parliament and kicked out of her bungalow, after what she described as a “political witch-hunt” for daring to stand up to Modi.
The murky and allegedly undemocratic circumstances of Moitra’s expulsion from parliament was seen by many to symbolise Modi’s approach to dissenting voices and the steady erosion of India’s democracy. She was among several vocal opposition politicians who were subjected to investigations by government crime agencies.
But having won a landslide re-election in her home state of West Bengal, Moitra will return once again to parliament, part of the newly empowered opposition coalition. “I can’t wait,” said Moitra. “They went to egregious lengths to discredit and destroy me and abused every process to do it. If I had gone down, it would have meant that brute force had triumphed over democracy.”
While he may be returning for a historic third term, many have portrayed the results as something of a defeat for Modi, who has had to rely on coalition partners to form a government. The BJP’s campaign had been solely centred around him – even the manifesto was titled “Modi’s guarantee” – and in many constituencies, local BJP candidates often played second fiddle to the prime minister, who loomed large over almost every seat. He told one interviewer he believed his mandate to rule was given directly by God.
“Modi’s aura was invincibility, that the BJP could not win elections without him,” said Moitra. “But the people of India didn’t give him a simple majority. They were voting against authoritarianism and they were voting against fascism. This was an overwhelming, resounding anti-Modi vote.”
During his past decade in power, Modi and the BJP enjoyed a powerful outright majority and oversaw an unprecedented concentration of power under the prime minister’s office, where key decisions were widely known to be made by a select few.
The Modi government was accused of imposing various authoritarian measures, including the harassment and arrest of critics under terrorism laws, while the country tumbled in global democracy and press freedom rankings. Modi never faced a press conference or any committee of accountability for the often divisive actions of his government. Politicians regularly complained that parliament was simply reduced to a rubber-stamping role for the BJP’s Hindu-first agenda.
Yet on Tuesday [June 40, it became clear that the more than 25 opposition parties, united as a coalition under the acronym INDIA, had inflicted substantial losses on the BJP to take away its simple majority. Analysts said the opposition’s performance was all the more remarkable given that the BJP stands accused of subverting and manipulating the election commission, as well as putting key opposition leaders behind bars and far outspending all other parties on its campaign. The BJP has denied any attempts to skew the election in its favour.
“This election proved that the voter is still the ultimate king,” said Moitra. “Modi was so shameless, yet despite them using every tool they had to engineer this election to their advantage, our democracy fought back.”
Moitra said she was confident it was “the end of Mr Modi’s autocratic way of ruling”. Several of the parties in the BJP’s alliance who he is relying on for a parliamentary majority and who will sit in Modi’s cabinet do not share his Hindu nationalist ideology...
Moitra was not alone in describing this week’s election as a reprieve for the troubling trajectory of India’s democracy. Columns heralding that the “mirror has cracked” and the “idea of India is reborn” were plastered across the country’s biggest newspapers, and editorials spoke of the end of “supremo syndrome”. “The bulldozer now has brakes,” wrote the Deccan Chronicle newspaper. “And once a bulldozer has brakes, it becomes just a lawnmower.” ...
“This was not a normal election, it was clearly an unfair and unlevel playing field,” said Yadav. “But still, there is now a hope and a possibility that the authoritarian element could be reversed.”
Harsh Mander, one of India’s most prominent human rights and peace activists who is facing numerous criminal investigations for his work, called the election the “most important in India’s post independence history”, adding: “The resilience of Indian democracy has proved to be spectacular.”
He said it was encouraging that an “intoxication of majoritarian hate politics” had not ultimately shaped the outcome, referring to Modi’s apparent attempts to stir up religious animosity on the campaign trail as he referred to Muslims as “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”.
“The past decade has seen the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience and dissent taken away,” said Mander. “If this election had gone fully the BJP way, then India would not remain a constitutional secular democracy.”
-via The Guardian, June 9, 2024
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shutupbani · 1 day
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aashiqaanah · 2 days
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pangeen · 13 hours
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" A Serene Moment " // © Luke Stackpoole
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We live in a world where these topics are a part of our everyday conversation now.
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herpsandbirds · 3 days
God can I just say how grateful I am for how well organized this blog is every photo has credit and an ID everything is tagged nicely its just so awesome thank you I adore this blog
Thoth bless you my child. Here, I got you a nice moff...
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Nettle Caterpillar Moth (Parasa lepida), family Limacodidae, Vithura, Kerala, India
photographs by Santosh Roy
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provide-rule · 2 days
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desigirldairies · 3 days
No comedy film, series or anything can top 'hera pheri' & 'hera pheri 2'
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unbfacts · 3 days
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India's vegetarians outnumber those in all other countries combined.
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artcinemas · 3 days
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inatungulates · 16 hours
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Indian wild pig Sus scrofa cristatus
Observed by roylesafaris, CC BY-NC
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heltersk3lter · 2 days
The Beatles in India, 1968 (from Pattie Boyd’s Collection & some photos located from the amazing @/beatlesbeyond on TikTok) 📸
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I honestly find it hilarious how Ringo brought a whole suitcase of beans because of his allergies. Also, can we talk about how gorgeous Pattie, Cyn, Mo, and Jane are in these???
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herpsandbirds · 20 hours
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Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus), female in breeding plumage, preforming a flight display for the males, family Jacanidae, order Charadriiformes, Punjab, India
photograph by Rajesh Mahajan
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A rainy day bike ride
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