‘Lathicharge’ sounds ceremonial but turns out to mean New Delhi police officers beating back the crowd with sticks as tall as they are. Legs planted firmly apart, leaning back slightly then swivelling forward from the hips to get a good scything motion. On his way down, one demonstrator is still talking into his phone. There’s another one, also still talking, as he manages to throw a tear gas canister back at the police. Earlier, protestors seemed surprised to find they had broken through police lines across Raisina Hill, the thoroughfare leading up to the presidential palace (built for the British viceroy by imperial architect Edward Lutyens). Before they made it to the top, the police retaliated with tear gas canisters. When demonstrators defused these by dowsing them with water, they moved on to water cannon and lathis. But the crowd was not cowed. One teenaged girl was overheard encouraging her companion: ‘Aaja, aaja. Thhoda ro lenge, koi baat nahin (Come, come. We’ll cry a little, it’s fine)’. The ultra-violent gang-rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student and the lackadaisical police inquiry into this brutal crime, have prompted mounting protests against the authorities’ relaxed attitude towards ‘eve teasing’ – the almost-accepted term for a gamut of sexual harassment from bum-pinching to grievous assault. With their smartphones, wearing ‘street clothes’ rather than street clothes, the mainly middle class protestors of New Delhi would not look out of place in London or Manhattan. They are facing an elite which continues to inhabit structures inherited from the British Raj. Meanwhile the paramilitary stance of the police – that scything motion – still owes something to pre-modern regimes. In India, in the final days of 2012, time comes in three dimensions.