Julie McCarthy

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As you clutch a cuppa for a bit of winter warmth, spare a moment to consider the elaborate process that goes into producing that seemingly simple sip of tea.

In the biggest tea-growing region in India, the hazards alone range from red spider mites to herds of wild elephants.

Grower Tenzing Bodosa, a native of Assam, fights the former and unusually invites the latter.

From the large Bodo tribe and widely known by his first name, Tenzing stands beside the vermilion flames of a brick oven that provides the heat for a drying contraption erected in his backyard.

India is set to celebrate Diwali this week, but the Indian capital could be in for a different sort of celebration.

Once illuminated with clay lamps, the festival of lights has morphed into a festival of sound and fury.

It's estimated some 50,000 tons of fireworks are exploded during Diwali, which marks the homecoming of the Hindu god Lord Ram from exile. But a public health alarm was sounded in Delhi after Diwali last year, when a toxic haze blanketed the city for days.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

India's Supreme Court has made a ruling that could deter people from marrying off their young children. The court declared yesterday that if a husband has sex with his underage wife, that qualifies as rape. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's go next to India, where the world's largest democracy tomorrow rolls out an overhaul of the tax system, which has a lot of Indians concerned. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.

Typically, India's Bollywood film industry depicts older women as maternal and virtuous. Younger ones often are eye candy, propping up male leads. But a recent crop of films is showing more complex female characters, training a spotlight exclusively on the lives of women — and, even more unusually, on their sexuality.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn now to India, where Hindu nationalists are being blamed for igniting a culture war. They're accused of using vigilante violence and intimidation to promote a Hindu way of life for all Indians. Let's hear more now from NPR's Julie McCarthy.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last year, India tried to force people who had large amounts of hidden cash to deposit it in banks and to face the tax man. That is no small thing because only a tiny percentage of Indians actually pay income tax. From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy looks at what's behind that.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For generations, India has tried to embrace religious freedom despite a history of religious violence. A recent election in the country's largest state is putting that tension front and center again. Here's NPR's Julie McCarthy.

Updated at 9 a.m. ET Monday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is calling for a "New India" in the wake of his party's unprecedented showing in voting in the country's biggest, most important battleground state. Results from five states electing legislative assemblies were announced over the weekend.

Young Indians who want a more prosperous country in their lifetime especially seized on Narendra Modi to deliver it.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

With the Trump administration vowing to tighten rules for skilled workers entering the United States, India's software services companies are worried. Indian IT giants outsource tens of thousands of tech specialists to the United States each year, and limiting the visa program that brings them in could disrupt their multibillion-dollar industry.

A blockbuster Bollywood movie is raking in millions and trying to change entrenched gender roles in India. It's set in Haryana state, where the sex ratio of newborns skews heavily toward boys.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Isha Devi hails from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, built by a grieving king for a beloved queen. Isha now lives three hours and a world away from any such romantic ideals.

Renting a small dingy room, this mother of a 12- and 14-year-old has come to the outskirts of New Delhi to live close to her fertility clinic. Isha, 30, is six months pregnant with someone else's twins. Her room opens onto a noisy alleyway of families in similarly cramped quarters all sharing a single bathroom. Isha groans, shifts uncomfortably on her cot and rearranges her pink floral sari.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Over the last couple of months, over 10,000 people have been injured protesting for one idea. That idea is freedom from India. We're talking about a decades-old dispute over the territory of Kashmir, which is administered by India but also claimed by Pakistan.

The move has sent shockwaves across India's financial sector: Raghuram Rajan, the governor of India's Reserve Bank who's been buffeted by political attacks, announced that he will be leaving. The 53-year old economist had said he was open to a second term, but will instead be returning to academia in the United States when his three-year tenure is up in September.

There has been intense speculation about whether Rajan, who had been appointed Reserve Bank chief by the previous government, would serve a second term under the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With near universal literacy and long life expectancy, the small Indian state of Kerala is a model for the rest of India.

In recent weeks, however, the small state tucked at the bottom of the country has been in the spotlight for what its glowing human development indicators do not reveal.

It sometimes takes an awful event to uncover maladies beneath the surface, and here, it was the savage murder of an underprivileged law student.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Tukaram Jadhav was barely surviving off of his tiny cotton farm when he killed himself last September. His widow, a petite mother of two, pulls her purple sari tightly around her, and says she discovered her husband as he lay dying.

"I was the one who found him. I was sleeping and woke up to the powerful smell of pesticides that we use to farm," Bhagyashree Jadhav says. She says she thought there had been a spill. "I asked my husband if he smelled it, then I realized he couldn't speak. He'd swallowed the pesticide." Tukaram languished in the hospital for two days before dying.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

India has deployed thousands of army and paramilitary troops to quell violence that authorities say has killed at least 10 people in the northern Indian state of Haryana. A caste known as the Jats is leading the unrest to demand affirmative-action benefits from the government.

Jats make up more than a quarter of Haryana's 25 million people. They seek to be included in the official category of "Other Backward Classes."

In India, a university student is accused of uttering anti-India slogans that valorized a Kashmiri separatist. Is such sloganeering in support of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for his role in an attack on the Indian Parliament, a case of free speech or sedition?

Indians are sharply divided.

India and France have signed a "memorandum of understanding" on the sale of 36 French fighter jets to New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said financial details of the agreement to buy the Rafale jets, manufactured by Dassault Aviation, have yet to be sorted but will soon be finalized. Reporting from New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy says the defense deal was one of a number of pacts reached during extensive talks between Modi and French President Francois Hollande, who is on a three-day trip to India.

Climate negotiators in Paris are wrangling over "country commitments," "caps" and "cuts" in greenhouse gases.

Some environmentalists, however, argue that the most important "c" word is missing: consumption. In India, they say little will change unless fossil-fuel-reliant rich countries moderate how they consume energy.

"An inconvenient truth is that we do not want to talk about consumption or lifestyle," says environmentalist Sunita Narain.

Pages