Adrija Roychowdhury


Adrija is senior sub-editor, Indian Express. She mainly writes on History and world politics. Follow her on Twitter @AdrijaRoychow

Jerusalem: A tale of three cities…one Jewish, one Christian and one Muslim
Mon, Dec 11, 2017

The dispute over Jerusalem runs much deeper, going back thousands of years when the territory was dethroned and claimed over and again by different communities and subcommunities, all in the name of God.

Between the right and left, a history of Ayodhya
Wed, Dec 06, 2017

For almost a decade before the Babri Masjid was demolished, Ayodhya had become a site of intense debate regarding what should be considered the truest history of the place.

Writing the past: History as she said and he said
Wed, Dec 06, 2017

GenderAnd Culture: Do men and women see and write history differently?

Padmavati: How a Sufi text for Rajput kings became a tool of nationalism
Fri, Nov 17, 2017

It is necessary to read the 'Padmavat' focusing on the time and social order in which it was composed and then analyse the corruption in interpretation it has gone through to finally become an episode of Rajput and Hindu pride.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the historian who wrote about the past for the love of his daughter’s future
Tue, Nov 14, 2017

Nehru as a historian was at one level the curious philosopher trying to seek answers of the human present and future, and at another level, he was also the loving father who wished to present his daughter more than just good wishes on her thirteenth birthday.

How the Russian revolution ignited the first sparks of communism in India
Sun, Nov 12, 2017

When the Bolshevik party led by V I Lenin overthrew the Czarist monarchy and declared the formation of the first socialist state, the colonial world was particularly impressed by the brazenness of the act.

In Saudi Arabia’s present upheaval are echoes from its history
Tue, Nov 07, 2017

In order to better understand the kingdom’s latest face-off with its people, we need to reflect upon a long past of internal and external conflicts that affected the state boiling down to the recent event of naming of Prince Salman as crown prince.

I am the khichdi, and this is my moment of glory
Thu, Nov 02, 2017

The Khichdi Story: From the high peaks of Himalayas to the serene backwaters of Kerala I withstood your constant demands for moulding me as per your needs. As you battled each other in the name of caste and religion, I stood there sternly uniting you as the one-pot meal suited for all.

How Vallabhbhai Patel, V P Menon and Mountbatten unified India
Tue, Oct 31, 2017

If Patel was the one who laid out the initial framework for persuading the princes to join, it was his secretary, V.P. Menon, who did the actual groundwork of coaxing them. The final touch in the process was applied by the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten.

Tracking the fourth bullet that has given new life to Mahatma Gandhi murder case
Fri, Oct 27, 2017

Seven decades after the probe into Gandhi's murder and the subsequent execution of the accused, a new petition has been filed in the Supreme Court of India challenging many facts in the case.

Fact checking BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan: Was the Malabar rebellion a case of Jihad?
Thu, Oct 12, 2017

The Malabar rebellion, also known popularly as the Moplah rebellion, was an armed revolt staged by the Mappila Muslims of Kerala against the British authorities and their Hindu allies in 1921.

When slaves ended up ruling Delhi: The case of Mamluk dynasty
Mon, Oct 09, 2017

The most interesting case of the history of slavery in India is that of social mobility inherent in the institution as practised in many parts of the country, so much so that some of these slaves went on to become rulers, administrating over vast populations.

Five instances why Lal Bahadur Shastri is the most modest prime minister India has ever seen
Tue, Oct 03, 2017

Reportedly, when Lal Bahadur Shastri passed away in 1966 he had no house on his name, nor any land in his possession.

Durga Puja: The journey from a Zamindari status symbol to a nationalism project
Tue, Sep 26, 2017

Since the late 18th century, Durga Puja was a mark of status for the Bengali mercantile class before gradually becoming integral to the nationalism project to evoke the spirit of patriotic awakening among the sons of Bengal.

Who are the Rohingya?
Sun, Sep 24, 2017

Majority of the Rakhine Buddhists believe that ‘Rohingya’ is a fabricated religious identity. They go on to cite historical documents to claim that the Burmese past never had any community called Rohingya.

America and North Korea: How in 72 years their relations have only gone downhill
Fri, Sep 15, 2017

The conflict between the US and North Korea has been raging at least since the Korean War in 1950 which ended in the division of the Korean peninsula under the respective influence of the US and the former Soviet Union.

How Lord Ganesha is celebrated outside India
Tue, Sep 05, 2017

Ganesha is frequently associated with entrepreneurial spirit and the spread of his popularity outside of India is attributed to the commercial contact between the country with its neighbours which resulted in the spread of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in other Asian cultures.

In Bombay’s 1896 plague disaster, pointers to what caused August 29 floods
Sun, Sep 03, 2017

As Mumbai reeled under the excessive rain on august 29, and Mumbaikars wondered if authorities had learnt any lessons from the 2005 flood, historians and city planners hark back to the history of India’s most resilient city to see if the past offered any pointers to the present disaster.

Independence notes: Different experiences in Portuguese Goa and British Malabar
Mon, Aug 28, 2017

At the stroke of midnight, the freedom finally arrived, largely with the efforts of the Congress. But what did this freedom mean to those who were neither ruled by the British, nor were they close enough to the Congress' political centre?

Voices of Partition: One UP Muslim and two Pakistan born Hindus recollect the horrors of 1947
Sat, Aug 19, 2017

The partition of Punjab remains by far the bloodiest part of Indian history, the dirtiest and scariest of all, tagging along as it did with the euphoria of freedom.

Tales from princely states: A Kashmiri Pandit and a Jodhpur resident recollect being stuck between India and Pakistan
Mon, Aug 21, 2017

What did independence mean to the ordinary folks residing in these states, far removed from the high drama of nationalist discourse and very often unaware of what course their homeland’s politics was about to take?

Voices of Partition: A Dhaka Hindu and a Kolkata Muslim recount what Independence meant to them
Tue, Aug 15, 2017

If the incoming Hindu population faced the bitterness of displacement on one hand, then the Muslims who stayed on in West Bengal were equally distraught.

How world newspapers reported India’s independence in 1947
Tue, Aug 15, 2017

The major newspapers of the world had culled out a significant part of their front pages to underline the nationalist aspirations, the birth of the two nations and the celebrations as well as massacre that accompanied the same.

Why we wouldn’t have had the roshogolla and sandesh if not for the Portuguese
Fri, Aug 11, 2017

When talking of Bengali cuisine, the fondness for fish and the topping of roshgullah and sandesh are two things that strikes one’s imagination most instantly. While the former is a product of geographical positioning, the latter is a result of a historical accident.

When Japan ruled over (a part of) India
Fri, Aug 11, 2017

The Japanese occupation of the Andamans is perhaps one of the least talked about episodes of the Second World War. Japanese forces landed in South Andamans on March 23, 1942 and in the next three to four hours gained complete control over the area.

Photographs from Kolkata: These colonial structures helped Calcutta rule over the subcontinent
Thu, Aug 03, 2017

Today 70 years after the British left the country, Kolkata still houses some of the most extraordinary, elaborate architectural pieces that were once built by the Europeans with the intention to turn Calcutta into a Victorian delight.

Five states that refused to join India after Independence
Thu, Aug 17, 2017

Some of them thought this to be the best moment to acquire independent statehood, while there were others who wanted to become a part of Pakistan. Here are the cases of five princely states that opposed the idea of joining India.

Indians become the 44th tribe of Kenya; but what does that mean?
Tue, Jul 25, 2017

Despite their long history of presence in the country and their involvement in the socio-economic and political life of the country, Indians in Kenya have suffered from a certain invisibility in the political and historical discourse of the nation.

Four reasons why Ahmedabad has become India’s only World Heritage City
Sun, Jul 09, 2017

Barely noticed by the modern day traveler and very often ignored by historians, Ahmedabad is one of those industrialised cities of India where the past and present have fused together beautifully and produced a landscape that owes very little to European domination.

Sikkim’s history: From buffer state for British to a referendum in favour of India
Sat, Jul 08, 2017

The state of Sikkim was established in 1642, when three Tibetan lamas consecrated Phuntsong Namgyal as the first ruler of Chogyal of Sikkim. The monarchy of the Namgyal dynasty was maintained for the next 333 years before it became part of the Indian union in 1975 as its 22nd state

Here is everything you need to know about Indian Jews
Wed, Jul 05, 2017

The Jewish community in India is one among a large number of groups who had come from outside the country’s modern territorial borders and made India their home. However, what marks the Jews out is their ability to blend into the local culture of the region.

40 years of Emergency: Here is what happened over the two years that changed India’s history
Mon, Jun 26, 2017

Steeped in the need for economic development, the Emergency allowed Gandhi to carry out mass arrests of ministers and have complete control over what the media published. It also resulted in her son carrying out forced sterilisation drives in Delhi and slum clearance programs.

A deluge from history: How Indian monsoon was documented by foreign travellers
Sun, Jun 25, 2017

The passionate outburst of rain showers that take place in the middle of the year has been extensively chronicled by foreign writers in India, accompanying expressions ranging from horror, awe and alarm to amusement and longing.

PM Narendra Modi in US: From Obama to Trump, here is what happened on his earlier visits
Sun, Jun 25, 2017

Each of his previous visits have been noteworthy in his efforts at not just strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, but also in his attempt to acquire the confidence of the Indian community in the United States.

International Yoga Day: How Swami Vivekananda helped popularise the ancient Indian regimen in the West
Wed, Jun 21, 2017

If one were to trace Yoga’s journey in the West, we would have to start from September 11, 1893, when Swami Vivekananda made his famous speech at Chicago in the Parliament of religions. His powerful oration immediately won him the adoration of the Americans.

Finsbury Park Mosque, Abu Hamza and the growth of Islamic extremism in Britain
Mon, Jun 19, 2017

Hamza’s radical Islamic views soon made the Finsbury mosque a centre with strong links to extremism. From inside the premises of the mosque, Hamza preached a violent theology and attracted disciples both from within and from outside the UK.