Motherland #16 looks at the state of the beautiful game in India. The Indian Super League is already the country’s second most-watched sports league, and if cricket is this country’s religion, then, at least for some, football is a way of life. From a motley collection of local leagues to one unified Cup, find out how football in India is changing.
When you have your health, you have everything. And in issue 15 of Motherland we pay tribute to the unsung heroes of healthcare: nurses. From an award-winning photo series that fixes its lens on the migration patterns of the Keralan nurse to a sneaky excerpt from a Bollywood-style medical thriller that’s out later this year, were looking at practitioners and clinicians, therapies and therapists, and the cultures surrounding medical caregiving in India.
In Mumbai you'll often hear Bandra referred to as "the Queen of suburbs", but the streets of this neighbourhood have always held their own allure. Once a collection of sleepy fishing villages, it has been, at various junctures, a refuge for the city's Catholics, Bollywood's playground, a hipster hidey-hole and today, a patch of rampant redevelopment with prices to rival South Bombay. Bandra is all of these things and it is also the subject of Motherland's 14th issue.
It’s impossible to break the Indian Armed Forces down into bite-sized pieces. With four professional uniformed services (The army, navy, air force and coast guard), additional organizations like the Assam Rifles and the Special Frontier Force-not to mention a slew of inter-service institutions-the Indian military has in its embrace over 1.3 million active personnel. Yes, we know the numbers, but there is so much more that is unknown about the Indian military services, and the temptation to zoom in closer is irresistible.
Right from the high-camp of Helen and all the taboos she embodied, through to the high-gloss choreography and sinew of her present day counterparts, there is nothing more Indian than the item number. These song and dance sequences form one of Bollywoods most defining characteristics and have evolved from coy, suggestive numbers into unapologetically explicit, provocative sequences. At a time when these cameos, so disconnected from the plotlines of the films in which they appear, turn into speeding juggernauts of hype and publicity, were taking a look back at the origins of the item number and onward to its future.
The eleventh issue of Motherland sits close to the bone, touching on the border between the world and ourselves: skin. It is clothed, painted, pierced and inked, but it is also the envelope in which our pain, pleasure and identity resides, an expanse that is far from a blank canvas, but is instead subject to shifting social definitions of health or beauty or regarded for external identity markers, like color.
In Motherland’s tenth edition, we explore borders in all forms. The sixth-largest country in the world shares land borders with six others and countless cultural cross-overs within. Other contributors also explore borders outside the geopolitical. Never shying from paradox, in 21st-century India, the borders between tradition and modernity are nearly invisible for some and becoming more rigid for others. For Indias sari designers, garment borders are places to express their history, individuality or sometimes just show off, while a peek inside the booths of the ten-second men, the toll operators of India, reveals the human face of the quotidian border crossing.
The ninth issue of Motherland is its first dedicated to exploring a single city. Why Gurgaon? Because although it’s just a few decades old, India’s most misunderstood city has firmly established itself as the National Capital Region’s de-facto business district for the 21st century, with golf courses, swanky malls. This is more or less the Gurgaon we hear about, but where business and industry flourish, culture follows and Gurgaon is showing all the signs of an artistic naissance.
Get spooked with our Ghosts Issue. This edition brings together diverse stories that explore the different ways beliefs in ghosts have evolved to survive in contemporary India. Featuring memoirs, reportage, social commentaries, photo essays and Motherland’s first fashion story, this issue is a visually rich collection of atypical "ghost stories".
In the fifth issue of Motherland – the “Ecology” issue – we set our sights on uncovering the unique ways in which people in contemporary India engage with the idea of ecology. From discovering an eco-tourism hotspot in Meghalaya where everyday living is marked by using nature in innovative ways; to delving into the world of “green” architecture and the visionary whose idiosyncratic practices has resulted in one of Delhi’s healthiest edifices – this issue is a roundup of the more intriguing expressions of ecology making an impact in India today.
Explore a culturally diverse part of the country which for many, still exists on India’s periphery, both literally and figuratively. From young Naga entrepreneurs looking to shape their state’s future, to an Imphal-based vigilante organisation, to the artists and writers recreating the unique folktales of the region – this issue looks at the grassroots, fresh and dogged ways in which people who comprise the North-East are putting their places on the map.
A party, however it is understood, is nothing without its people. And as people engage with parties, be it traditional, contemporary or political, this issue captures the different faces in the crowd, whether it’s the Delhi hipsters, the wedding band performers, or the red-blooded members of an altogether different Party.
Our second edition focussed on two very different meanings of the act of the stargazing. Stories of India’s transgender community and struggling athletes challenge typical ideas of who can be a role model or a celebrity, while pieces on astrology and astronomy in contemporary India look to the stars quite literally.