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Priyanka Borpujari

Mumbai, India
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About Priyanka
I am an independent journalist and photographer covering issues of human rights, with a decade's experience. Named the 2012-2013 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow, and the 2015 IMC Medienbotschafter Indien-Deutschland. I split my time between Assam in northeast India, and Mumbai in west India.
Assamese Bengali English
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What I Wish I Knew About the Triggers of My Scalp Psoriasis

15 Dec 2022  |  Health
The author shares a personal journey with scalp psoriasis, detailing how various life events and emotional stressors have triggered flare-ups. Moving from Mumbai to Tokyo and then to Dublin, the author identifies cold weather, stress, and diet as significant factors affecting their condition. Positive lifestyle changes, including regular exercise and a healthier diet, have helped manage the symptoms, leading to a period of no flare-ups.

6 Hidden Nature Escapes in Tokyo

02 Dec 2022  |  matadornetwork.com
Tokyo offers a variety of hidden nature escapes that provide a serene contrast to the bustling city life. Key spots include the Meiji Jingu shrine, a tranquil forested area with historical significance; Mount Takao, a popular hiking destination with stunning views and seasonal attractions like Beer Mount; and the Imperial Palace, surrounded by beautiful gardens and a moat. Inokashira Park in Kichijoji offers a mix of natural beauty and local culture, while the Tama River area provides opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation. The Izu Islands, accessible by boat or plane, offer tropical landscapes, surfing, hiking, and unique local experiences. These destinations highlight the diverse and accessible nature escapes within and around Tokyo.

‘Dear Japanese government, please let us see our mother’

14 Dec 2021  |  trtworld.com
Melek Ortabasi, a professor of Japanese literature at Simon Fraser University, has been separated from her children due to Japan's travel restrictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite efforts and communication with the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, her children are unable to join her in Japan. The travel ban, which was imposed in response to the Omicron variant, has affected many foreign residents and students, leading to family separations and academic disruptions. The article highlights personal stories of those impacted, including an Australian man and his newborn, and a British woman unable to attend her father's memorial. It also mentions petitions and actions taken by affected individuals and groups seeking to address the hardships caused by the restrictions. The sentiment in Japan appears to support the travel ban, with a survey showing 89 percent approval, but this has led to accusations of racism and xenophobia from those affected.

Banned in wars: How tear gas was normalised in protest policing

05 Aug 2021  |  www.trtworld.com
Tear gas, banned in warfare, has become a normalized tool for protest policing worldwide. The article traces its history from British colonial use to its deployment in Vietnam and recent protests in India and the US. It examines the legal and ethical controversies surrounding its use, the commercial trade in teargas munitions, and the personal experiences of those exposed to it, including a US Navy veteran, an activist in Portland, and a photojournalist in Kashmir. The piece also touches on the health impacts of tear gas, including its effects on menstrual and reproductive health.

Japan Looks Back at the Tokyo Olympics

01 Aug 2021  |  thediplomat.com
The Tokyo Olympics, marked by high costs, controversies, and the COVID-19 pandemic, left Japan with mixed emotions. While the Games brought pride through medal wins and moments like Ryo Kiyuna's historic karate gold, they also faced criticism for prioritizing the event over public health and financial concerns. Controversies involving key figures and the exclusion of spectators due to the pandemic further fueled public dissatisfaction. The event highlighted issues of racial diversity, mental health, and social acceptance, reflecting a complex national sentiment towards the Olympics.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics Captured Their Hearts, But They Can't Find Much To Love About This Summer's Games

22 Jul 2021  |  defector.com
The 1964 Tokyo Olympics left a lasting impression on Japanese citizens like Nobumi Hiramatsu, Hiroko Mori, and Hideo Nakajima, who recall the event with nostalgia and pride. The games symbolized Japan's post-war reconstruction and technological advancements. However, the same individuals express disappointment and skepticism towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic without spectators, leading to a lack of enthusiasm and a sense of division among the Japanese people. The article contrasts the unity and excitement of the 1964 games with the controversy and subdued atmosphere of the current Olympics, highlighting the changes in public sentiment and the impact of the pandemic on the event.

As athletes arrive for the Tokyo Olympics, foreign students at Japan’s universities are left stranded

19 Jul 2021  |  South China Morning Post
Foreign students at Japanese universities face significant challenges due to Japan's strict border control measures amid the Tokyo Olympics. While athletes are allowed entry, students like Shani Weiss from Tel Aviv remain stranded, leading to disruptions in their education and personal lives. Academics have called for more transparency and flexibility from the Japanese government, highlighting the negative impact on education and research. The situation has also sparked concerns about xenophobia and discrimination against foreign residents in Japan.

'Curry Police': A problematic music video leads to a problematic backlash

29 May 2021  |  japantimes.co.jp
The Embassy of Japan in India issued an apology on its Facebook page for an 'utterly inappropriate video' that offended many Indian friends, following a backlash over a problematic music video posted on YouTube.

The art of the arrangement: lessons from the Digital Services Act Consultation process

12 Nov 2020  |  Medium
Digital Action's project around the Digital Services Act (DSA) aimed to diversify civil society input in the European Commission's public consultation, focusing on including marginalized groups. The DSA, setting platform regulation for EU countries, is seen as a global precedent for internet regulation. Digital Action facilitated the participation of 21 organizations by providing bespoke advice and policy guides. The project revealed barriers to participation, such as complex processes and lack of expertise or funding within civil society. The collaboration led to a unified civil society voice on key issues, highlighting the importance of long-term engagement and building trust for effective advocacy against the lobbying power of Big Tech.

Lockdown shows up public face of India's gender inequality

22 Jun 2020  |  asia.nikkei.com
Priyanka Borpujari, a former Fulbright scholar and award-winning journalist, reflects on how the COVID-19 lockdown in India has affected the public experience of gender inequality. Initially, she imagined the lockdown might ease the challenges faced by women in public spaces.

Why This Mumbai Contract Worker Can Never Build A Nest Egg

19 Apr 2019  |  HuffPost
Ganesh Dattatrey Shinde, a contract worker in Mumbai, is unable to access loans or receive proper employment benefits due to a system that exploits laborers like him. Employed by contractors who circumvent labor laws to avoid providing permanent positions, Shinde and his colleagues do not receive the gloves, masks, and boots that are supposed to be provided by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). Shinde's attempts to secure a loan for home repairs were thwarted by his precarious employment status and discrepancies in his identification documents. Despite a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the workers, Shinde has yet to see any improvement in his situation. He has joined the Kachra Vahtuk Shramik Sangh (KVSS), an organization fighting for the rights of contract sanitation workers, and has started investing in small insurance policies for future security.

India’s Farmers March to the Hollow Halls of Parliament

01 Dec 2018  |  thediplomat.com
India's farmers, led by figures like Sanjay Sathe, are protesting against the dire state of agriculture, demanding the implementation of the National Commission on Farmers' recommendations and loan waivers. The agrarian crisis has led to widespread farmer suicides and migration to cities. Recent protests have gained momentum, with significant marches in Mumbai and New Delhi, challenging the ruling BJP to address these issues ahead of upcoming elections. The article highlights the systemic problems in Indian agriculture and the growing collective action among farmers.

In Pictures: Diwali celebrations in India and Pakistan

09 Nov 2018  |  Muslims in Italy struggle to bury victims of the pandemic
Diwali, a significant Hindu festival, was celebrated in India and Pakistan with various activities including shopping, exchanging gifts, and setting off firecrackers. In Mumbai, celebrations were subdued due to a Supreme Court order limiting firecracker use, while New Delhi saw peak pollution levels. In Lahore, Pakistan, the main event was held at Krishna Mandir, with participation from Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Muslims. Due to security concerns, many Hindus in Pakistan celebrated Diwali indoors or within temple compounds.

TwoCircles has been photographing the everyday rituals of Ramzan since 2012

13 Jun 2018  |  The Hindu
Since 2012, TwoCircles.net has been capturing the everyday rituals of Muslims during Ramzan, aiming to subvert stereotypes and showcase the diversity of experiences. The online platform, created by Boston-based Kashif ul-Huda, features a photo each day of the month, taken by photojournalists like Natisha Mallick and Savad Rahman. The images, which have been exhibited and presented at institutions like MIT, avoid clichéd narratives and instead focus on personal spirituality and discipline. Huda, a tech firm employee with no formal journalism training, believes this approach helps to counteract fear-based narratives and present Islam's spiritual values.

The Death of a Journalist in Kashmir

01 Jun 2018  |  thediplomat.com
On the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, prominent journalist Shujaat Bukhari was assassinated in Kashmir, along with two personal security officers. Bukhari, known for his efforts to promote the Kashmiri language and for initiating ceasefire conversations between Indian and Pakistani diplomats, was loved by many but also despised by some. His assassination may be linked to terrorist groups aiming to disrupt the ceasefire during Ramzan. Bukhari's death led to political upheaval, including a shutdown called by separatist parties, detentions of leaders, and the withdrawal of the BJP from the state government alliance, resulting in the appointment of a new governor. Journalists across India protested his killing, and his newspaper, Rising Kashmir, continued its publication in his honor. The incident highlights the dangers faced by voices in India that challenge the status quo.

The Privatization of Heritage: Why Corporate Funding To Restore Monuments Worries India

01 May 2018  |  thediplomat.com
The 'Adopt a Heritage' scheme in India, allowing corporations to adopt heritage sites, has sparked controversy with the Dalmia Bharat Group's adoption of the Red Fort. Historians and opposition parties fear alteration of historical narratives and profiteering, while local communities in Assam oppose the privatization of cultural sites. Comparisons to Italian restoration practices are met with skepticism, and the potential disregard for local culture and historical nuances raises concerns about the impact of such privatization efforts on India's layered history and regional sentiments.

Dying Young in Mumbai’s Slum Rehabilitation Camp

01 May 2018  |  thediplomat.com
The article details the severe health and living conditions faced by residents of Mahul, a slum rehabilitation camp in Mumbai. It highlights the high pollution levels, inadequate infrastructure, and the resulting health issues, including multiple deaths. The narrative includes personal stories of residents, their struggles, and the ongoing legal battle to have Mahul declared inhospitable. The article criticizes the government's insufficient response and emphasizes the need for better living conditions and rights for the poor.

Will the Death Penalty Protect India’s Daughters From Rape?

23 Apr 2018  |  thediplomat.com
India approved the death penalty for rapists of girls under 12, a decision made after the rape of two minors and associated with the ruling BJP. The article questions the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent, citing a high number of rape cases and low conviction rates. It highlights the patriarchal framework of the ordinance, the high percentage of known perpetrators, and the challenges in addressing child sexual assault within families. The article suggests that without addressing the root causes, such as toxic masculinity and lack of sex education, stringent punishments will not protect India's daughters.

The Unequal Fates of Big and Small Loan Defaulters in India

01 Feb 2018  |  thediplomat.com
India's second-largest public sector bank, Punjab National Bank, was defrauded of approximately $1.7 billion by jewelers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi through collusion with bank officials. Despite early warnings, including from whistle-blowers and a former bank director, the fraud went undetected for years. The scandal has sparked outrage and debate, with the ruling BJP denying any personal connections between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nirav Modi, and the opposition Congress party demanding accountability. The case has highlighted the broader issue of bad loans in India's public sector banks and the disproportionate impact on small borrowers and farmers, contrasting with the treatment of wealthy defaulters.

Padmaavat and Beyond: India is Being Terrorized by Those Intolerant of Movies With Mythical Female Figures

24 Jan 2018  |  thediplomat.com
The article discusses the violent protests led by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena against the release of the movie 'Padmaavat,' which depicts the mythical figure Queen Padmini. The protests have included attacks on the film's director, vandalism, and threats against the lead actress. Despite changes to the film and legal interventions, the violence has escalated, highlighting issues of intolerance and censorship in India. The article also touches on the broader implications for free speech and the role of state governments in addressing such violence.

Could 3 Young Men Upstage Modi’s ‘Development’ in Gujarat?

18 Dec 2017  |  thediplomat.com
In December 2017, the Gujarat assembly elections in India became a focal point for questioning the development model championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tenure as chief minister. Three young leaders, Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor, and Jignesh Mevani, emerged as significant challengers to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), each representing different social groups within the state. Their collective voice raised concerns about the lack of equitable development and the BJP's reliance on the 'vikas' narrative. The election's outcome was seen as crucial for the BJP and Modi's image, especially in light of the 2002 Godhra riots and the criticism of Modi's neoliberal policies.

Is Delhi Willing To Save Its Choking Lungs?

07 Nov 2017  |  thediplomat.com
Delhi's severe air pollution crisis, highlighted by a video of a smog-induced car pile-up, has led to emergency measures including school closures and a proposed reimplementation of the odd-even vehicle scheme. Despite temporary measures, the city's pollution persists due to local sources like vehicles and construction, compounded by poor weather forecasting. Comparisons with Beijing's more effective long-term strategies underscore Delhi's need for a comprehensive public transport system and more robust environmental policies.

#MeToo and #HimToo Come to India

01 Nov 2017  |  thediplomat.com
A list of 60 academics accused of sexual harassment in India, posted on Facebook by law student Raya Sarkar, has caused division among Indian feminists and raised questions about due process and the effectiveness of social media in addressing such issues. The debate highlights the challenges women face in speaking out against harassment and the need for real-time conversations to address the nuances of movements like #MeToo.

Floods, Droughts, and India’s Uncertain Climate Future

01 Nov 2017  |  thediplomat.com
India faces an uncertain climate future with frequent floods and droughts disrupting life and agriculture. Bihar's monsoon patterns have changed, leading to annual floods, while drought affects 40 percent of districts. Cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru have experienced extreme rainfall, causing significant damage. The Asian Development Bank and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research report highlights South Asia's high flood exposure, with potential displacement of 130 million people by the century's end. Environmental mismanagement, such as haphazard construction and deforestation, exacerbates disasters like the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. The National Green Tribunal is criticized for ineffective environmental protection. Activist Dinesh Mishra advocates understanding river patterns over flood control measures. Climate change's impact on agriculture is severe, with suggestions to shift to low water-intensity crops. State-level climate change policies are emerging, but the question remains if these measures are sufficient.

When many roads meet

28 Oct 2017  |  www.thehindu.com
The ASB Writers Club, founded by Gayathri Durairaj in 2015, provides a supportive community for expat mothers in Mumbai, helping them share personal stories and experiences through writing. The club has grown from seven to 35 members and has published two multilingual anthologies. Members like Heesoo Lim and Katya Schodts have found solace and validation in the group, which meets weekly to write and share. The club will discuss their literary journeys at an upcoming event at Trilogy Book Store.

At India’s first online concert, an audience of donors

07 Oct 2017  |  www.thehindu.com
India's first online concert, GivNow Live, was held as part of Daan Utsav, a week-long celebration of giving. The concert featured performances by Kavita Seth and poet Dipti Misra, with proceeds going to NGOs Kat-katha and Urja Trust. Audience members purchased passes online and enjoyed the concert from their own devices. The event emphasized donations, with a portion of the proceeds and artist fees going to the NGOs. GivNow, which collaborated with 31 NGOs, will match the funds raised.

Six yards of joy

05 Oct 2017  |  thehindu.com
ConnectFor, a non-profit organization, is orchestrating a saree donation drive to make the festive season brighter for those unable to afford new clothes. Inspired by a story from Kolkata, Shloka Mehta, a founder of ConnectFor, aims to collect about 1,000 sarees for distribution through five partner NGOs during Daan Utsav. The drive will include an event at Animedh Charitable Trust, where 150 graduating women will receive sarees to aid their entrepreneurial endeavors. Donations are accepted at various locations and can be coordinated through WhatsApp or email.

After Mumbai Floods, the Work of Rebuilding Family Life Falls to Women

04 Sep 2017  |  deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org
In the aftermath of the monsoon-season flooding in Mumbai on August 29, which left 14 people dead and caused widespread devastation, women and girls are shouldering the burden of restoring their homes and managing daily life. With inadequate sanitation facilities, which were the first to be flooded, and the risk of health complications from tainted drinking water, the female residents of Mumbai's slums face significant challenges. Charities like Pehchaan Foundation are providing some relief, but the scale of the problem is immense, with an estimated 250,000 homeless people in the city. The floods have highlighted the precariousness of life for many women in Mumbai, especially those in impoverished areas.

When you become the toll

30 Aug 2017  |  thehindu.com
The author recounts personal experiences during a flood in Mumbai, drawing parallels with the struggles faced by people in Assam and Bihar. The article criticizes the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Shiv Sena for failing to manage the city's infrastructure and for prioritizing grandiose projects over practical solutions. It questions the glorification of the 'Mumbai spirit' and calls for action against the responsible authorities. The author plans to investigate the aftermath of the flood, including the number of leptospirosis patients, highlighting a naturalized response to the city's recurring failures.

Age is a number: 73-year-old covers 19 countries in 72 days

08 Jul 2017  |  www.thehindu.com
Badri Baldawa, a 73-year-old steel exporter and chartered accountant from Mumbai, embarked on an adventurous 72-day road trip covering 19 countries with his wife and granddaughter. The journey, which started in March 2017, spanned 22,200 km and included diverse experiences from cultural events in Thailand to navigating challenging terrains in China and Russia. The trip highlighted the couple's resilience and adaptability, as well as their reflections on cultural differences and civic responsibilities. The Baldawas aim to inspire others by demonstrating that age is just a number and that challenges can be overcome with determination.

Bulldozer in the ring - the abandoned slum dwellers of Mumbai

15 Jun 2017  |  thehindu.com
In Mumbai, a series of demolitions have left many slum dwellers homeless, despite claims of residence prior to the year 2000 which would entitle them to legal housing. The demolitions, aimed at protecting mangroves, have been criticized for ignoring the rights and needs of the poor. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation's decision to fell mangroves for metro construction has been met with backlash. Housing rights activists argue that the term 'encroacher' is unfairly applied to those who cannot afford housing in Mumbai. Historical housing provisions for workers have been largely ignored post-Independence, and the Slum Rehabilitation Authority's efforts have often disrupted communities. The Adarsh Housing Society scam exemplifies the builder-politician nexus in land allocation. A United Nations Special Rapporteur has called for a national housing law based on human rights. Experts suggest expanding the scope of affordable housing and rethinking the legal framework to better accommodate the poor.

Zakir Naik’s growing clout in Indonesia

27 May 2017  |  www.thehindu.com
Zakir Naik's influence in Indonesia has grown, particularly in the context of the Jakarta gubernatorial elections where his speeches aligned with conservative Islamic groups' calls for electing a Muslim leader. This contributed to the defeat of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, by Anies Baswedan, a Muslim. The rise of Islamist radicalism poses a threat to Indonesia's secular values. Various figures and organizations, including Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and media outlets like Tempo and Republika, played roles in this dynamic. Concerns are raised about the potential impact on future national elections.

Content Marketing Platform and Creative Marketplace

25 Sep 2015  |  Contently
The article discusses the benefits of using Contently's content marketing platform. It suggests that companies struggling to produce high-performing content have not yet found success through agencies, freelance platforms, or internal resources. Contently offers a solution with its platform that provides strategic alignment, a marketplace for creative talent, and content specialists. The platform is presented as a way to create content that stands out, with customers reportedly achieving an average of 6x return on investment in a matter of months.

‘Talk to my eyes, not to my chest’

29 Aug 2013  |  bostonglobe.com
Violence against women journalists in India is prevalent, both in the field and within the journalism fraternity. A recent protest in Mumbai highlighted the issue following the rape of a young photojournalist. The Indian media, while reporting on violence against women, often overlooks sexual harassment in its own workplaces. Veteran journalist Rina Mukherjee fought a decade-long battle to win a sexual harassment case against a former superior at The Statesman. The Vishakha Guidelines, meant to protect women from sexual harassment at work, are ineffective in practice. Photojournalist Uma Kadam recounts her experiences of harassment in the industry. The protest made many women journalists realize that their profession does not shield them from the sexist culture of the nation.

For Young Readers, a Chance to Work Off Library Debt

28 Mar 2013  |  City Room
The Queens Borough Public Library offers a 'Read Down Your Fees' program allowing young users to reduce their overdue fines by reading. For every half-hour of reading, $1 is deducted from their fines. The program is popular and considered a success by library officials, despite the extra staff time required. Similar initiatives exist in other libraries, including the New York Public Library. The program aims to remove barriers between children and books, and to teach responsibility without imposing financial burdens on families with limited means.

For Columbia Students, Nutella in a Dining Hall May Be Too Tempting

07 Mar 2013  |  www.nytimes.com
Columbia University's dining hall began serving Nutella daily, leading to students consuming over 100 pounds per day and taking jars away, causing thousands of dollars in expenses for Dining Services in just one week.

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