Friday, December 20, 2019

Message of the year

This has been an amazing year for Broadsheet. We grew like gangbusters, unveiled our Ambassador program, and covered so many momentous events—a national election, Kashmir, the pollution emergency and the astonishing anti-CAA protests. Also: we celebrated our first year anniversary!! And you have been with us every step of the way—offering suggestions, corrections and greatly needed support. A big thank you for all that! Starting tomorrow, we will be taking our annual holiday break, and will be back in your inboxes on January 2 (But be assured, we’re keeping our eye on the news just in case something big happens while we’re lounging in our pjs). We wish you and your family the happiest of holidays!

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The many acts of civil disobedience across India

The government imposed Section 144 on many parts of the country to clamp down on anti-CAA protests. But people flooded the streets in defiance across at least ten states and 13 major cities—marking a significant moment in the rebellion against the citizenship law. We explain what happened, and bring you all the highlights.

First, Section 144 explained: Enacted in 1973—the glory days of Indira Gandhi—Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) empowers an Executive Magistrate to prohibit the gathering of five or more people in a specified area. People arrested for 'unlawful assembly' can be charged with rioting—which carries a three-year jail term. As per the law, it can be imposed by the government in “urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger of some event that has the potential to cause trouble or damage to human life or property.”

Ok, where was Sec 144 imposed? The entire state of UP, parts of Delhi, Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka, such as Mangalore. It was already in effect in Assam. The reason: to prevent protests planned in these locations. 

They can just do that? Nope. Since Section 144 curbs key fundamental rights—to expression, association and assembly—the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that it cannot be invoked at will. There has to be a threat to peace and public order. But the threat has to be proven and real—not "perceived". As Scroll points out, “It is not as though the entire state [of UP] is protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. And it clearly not acceptable to claim that every such protest is a threat to public order.” (This Quint video offers a fuller explanation)

What happened next? In Delhi, Lucknow, Bangalore and Mangalore, people came out in the streets in defiance of the law. While the clash between police and protesters turned violent in Lucknow and Mangalore, the big city protests remained peaceful. 

Delhi: Section 144 was imposed in key areas in the north and central parts of the city. Think Red Fort, ITO, Jantar Mantar, Mandi House etc. The government also shut down the internet in these areas—an unprecedented event in the capital. Also shut down: 20 metro stations. But thousands of citizens from all walks of life took to the streets. By the end of the day: 1,200 were detained. These included politicians and activists like Yogendra Yadav, Sitaram Yechury (CPI(M) and Sandeep Dikshit (Congress). Here are the most notable pics:

Bangalore: 1000 were detained, and 255 were formally arrested (and later released on bail). Town Hall was the primary hub of the protests, and the most notable event: the police dragging away historian Ramchandra Guha. His crime: He was standing alone, holding up a sign and talking to the press about the Constitution. But the police eventually relented, and allowed the protesters to have their say. Here are the notable pics and clips:

  • Here’s Guha explaining to reporters why he pities the police. Here he is being dragged away by said police.

  • This clip gives you a sense of the atmosphere and numbers.

  • This amazing moment when a DCP sang the national anthem along with the protesters. Also: the moment when the police finally gave in at Town Hall.

  • Students—who were out in big numbers—were dragged onto vans and buses.

  • Also: this moving clip of a man distributing free snacks to protesters. You will have to click through to see why.

Mumbai: More than 20,000 protesters gathered at the historic August Kranti Maidan—described as “the cradle of 1942 Quit India Movement.” It was the largest and entirely incident-free demonstration. The reason: there was no Section 144. Rather, the Mumbai police did its best to ensure a peaceful and joyous event. Indian Express has more details. Here are the best pics and clips:

Lucknow and Mangalore: Huge crowds assembled to protest but the consequences were less fortunate. Two protesters were killed in police firing in Mangalore, and one died of gunshot wounds in Lucknow. Apparently, in Mangalore, the police fired into a crowd that was attempting to set fire to the police station. In Lucknow, three police posts, three OB vans, at least six cars and a government bus were torched. Times of India has the most details—including vigorous police denials that any shots were fired, or that any protester was wounded or killed. UP CM Yogi Adityanath promised that his government will take "revenge" on those involved in the violence by auctioning their property to compensate for the losses. Going viral: This clip of the police storming a Mangalore hospital.


The bottomline: Ahimsa is mightier than the sword—and lathis, tear gas or bullets. The anti-CAA protests may just have hit a tipping point yesterday.


Learn more: Hindustan Times reports on the chaos that led to 19 canceled flights in Delhi. BBC News on India’s shameful record of internet shutdowns—so shameful that, as The Telegraph reports, it is the envy of the Chinese. Huffington Post has an excellent report on the anti-CAA sentiment on Insta. India Today has a gallery of the best protest slogans and posters.

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counting down the last days till the new year

Can the internet survive climate change? Alternatively: can our climate survive the internet and its bottomless hunger for energy? Fact: Streaming one hour of Netflix in a week sucks up more electricity than two new refrigerators! Studies predict that the internet will account for 20% of all electricity consumption by 2030—at which point it will produce more carbon than any country except China, India, and the United States. This must-read looks at the future of “the largest coal-fired machine on the planet” and what a ‘green internet’ would look like. (NewRepublic)

Your ultimate IPL list is here: Now that the bidding wars are done, here are the team rosters of every IPL team. Because you know you want it. (Times of India)

Can Indians survive climate change? According to a new study, India suffers the highest number of pollution-linked deaths in the world. India’s annual death toll: 2.3 million. Next in line is China at 1.8 million. The global total: 8.3 million. Pollution is the largest environmental cause of premature death on the planet, and claims more lives than tobacco. Irony alert: oil-rich countries on the Arabian peninsula have the lowest death counts. (The Guardian)

‘Cats’ is making reviewers very unhappy: The star-studded cinematic adaptation of the Broadway musical was hugely anticipated—if only because folks couldn’t wait to see the likes of Idris Elba, Taylor Swift and Judi Dench prance around in kitty costumes. Well, the verdict is in on the “unholy, dredged-from-the-uncanny-valley horror,” and this round-up makes for hilarious reading. Our fave review line: “Cats' is the most money anyone's spent on something so disastrous since the Iraq War.” (Business Insider)

Harassment in Hollywood: Do you love ‘The Affair’? Were you shocked and heart-broken when Ruth Wilson left the show? Even if the answer is no on both counts, we recommend you read this Hollywood Reporter scoop that uncovers the ugly face of misogyny looks like in LA. Also: At the heart of this story is a bizarre and repugnant incident that involves Lena Dunham.

A new UK ‘fast track’ visa: for doctors and nurses is on the cards. It’s part of Boris Johson’s pledge to introduce a points-based immigration system to attract the "brightest and best" from around the world, including India. (NDTV)

Your quota of year-end stories: includes the following:

  • Bloomberg’s collection of best luxury photos 

  • The Atlantic’s collection of the most 2019 photos ever.

  • 29 amazing sports photos from CNN

  • Twitter's list of the year’s biggest, best and weirdest.

  • Tik Tok’s list of top 100 videos—mercifully sorted into different ‘top ten’ categories. 

  • Digg made a master list that melds all the other lists of best albums of 2019.

  • Mashable’s adoring tribute to Baby Yoda as the ‘Being of the Decade’.

  • It’s probably too late, but here’s CNN’s guide to all the names you mispronounced all year long. Turns out we’ve long been mangling poor Greta Thunberg’s last name.

  • Finally, Buzzfeed lists the 50 worst things that made it to the internet this year. Top of the list: Baby Yoda as Joker.

Your quota of ‘end of decade’ stories: includes the following (and we did our best to unearth the ones that don’t angst over social media):

  • Fast Company on how Facebook’s Like button ruined the 2010s

  • Huffington Post’s list of the best Malayalam movies of the decade.

  • Verve’s list of the best gadgets of the decade.

  • We featured this one earlier this week, but ICYMI: New Yorker's must read on the Instagram Face that defined this decade.

  • New York Times captures the decade in pictures. Also doing the same: The Atlantic.

  • Also in The Atlantic: Why the media need to stop with all these ‘best’ and ‘most important’ rankings. 

  • Buzzfeed News on why this decade belongs to Taylor Swift.

  • The Guardian explains why all these ‘end of decade’ stories are silly—it’s still a year away! 

  • We enjoyed reading Rolling Stone on the end of the ‘twenty teens’—a kind of historical adolescence that we’ve noticed just as it is ending.

Your daily quota of sunshine items: includes these very tubby seals chilling on a boat. The Miss Universe of horsies (honestly, we didn’t know horses could be this pretty). And above all: the hilarious news that the US government listed Wakanda as its free trade partner. No, this is not a laugh test.

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Stuff we buy, use or love.

A List of NYE party essentials
New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to splurge on your wardrobe. Here are our picks for your big night out.
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For the perfectly pretty party dress…

Here are some excellent options in all sorts of styles. First up, a cotton silk Jaipur Sheath Dress from Nete in a lustrous hand-blocked floral. We love the sassy slit and the sweetheart neckline. But the deep, saturated colour and print is what makes it a real find.

Prefer a flowing dress that gives you room to breathe—but doesn’t look like your fave nightie? We recommend Kanelle’s Asymmetric Long Dress that is fresh and bold—and yet tres chic. Also: We adore the dusky pink handwoven chanderi that will help you stand out in a sea of black. 

Ok, so you are a sucker for LBDs, and we get it. How about Zara’s Pleated Polka Dot mini dress? It is a lovely—and discreetly blinged out—twist on the usual, usual. And we love the cool swingy style that leaves your body free to dance all night. (A mid-length option with more bling: This Colour Block Sequin Dress)

Price: Rs, 5,023 | Jaipur Sheath Dress | Nete

Price: Rs. 13,500 | Asymmetric Long Dress With Frill | Kanelle 

Price: Rs. 2,790 | Pleated Polka Dot Dress | Zara

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If you need a necklace that makes your dress pop…

Head over to Manifest Design. This is statement jewellery of the best kind. It’s not so overpowering that it wears you instead of the other way around. It is both bold and sophisticated, and adds the je n’ais ce quoi that brings a really good outfit together. Our favourite part: the wide price range means it can fit at least a decent range of budgets.

Price: Varies | Manifest Design

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If you’re worried about freezing on NYE…

But don’t want to ruin your look, head over to Yashwant Place Market (aka Russian Market). It is the best destination for genuine leather jackets and boots—which will make you look awesome even when you are all covered up. And these buys will last you far longer than the fake stuff you get over at Zara et al. Yes, this is for Delhi folks mainly. Happily, the rest of us Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai types can waltz out the door with just a pretty stole or scarf. Also: it’s a handy tip for the rest of us when we head to Delhi next. Also: bargain, bargain, bargain.

Price: Rs 3000-onwards l Yashwant Place Market

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