In December 2015, one of my hometowns in south India (Chennai, formerly Madras) was experiencing one of the worst natural disasters in its modern history. Incessant rains had left the city and its suburbs flooded and the city’s infrastructure wrecked. With the state government struggling to respond adequately, people across the city, the nation, and the world took charge. Even as people in Chennai threw open their homes to neighbors and virtually anyone who needed a safe and clean space, others across the country and in the diaspora began using a range of mobile and digital platforms to share ideas and resources. Using Twitter, various messaging services, Facebook pages, Google Docs, and crowdsourced maps, a tech-savvy group of people mobilized to produce an infrastructure of care that the government simply could not. It also became clear that not everyone was treated equally. A number of news reports revealed that lower-caste and Dalit neighborhoods and communities in Chennai and in towns and villages across the state of Tamilnadu were denied access to basic relief supplies, clean drinking water, and medical care.

This essay may be found on page 84 of the printed volume.

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