Was Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar poor in English

India, society and culture


Picture: Wolfgang Sterneck Kolkata Waste Dump Vision (2011) - Urban meditation on a garbage dump in Kolkata. “Again and again we meet children who collect rubbish and later spend the night together on a piece of cardboard on the sidewalk. On the other side of the street, behind a demarcating wall, a multi-day wedding is taking place in an extravagantly luxurious ambience. " Kolkata is a city of extremes, characterized by complex contrasts and contradictions. VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

India has the highest mountains in the world and also the deepest and widest rivers. It has vast deserts and fertile plains. However, the natural area is threatened by the climate. If global warming continues, India could experience more droughts and floods, putting agriculture and food security at risk. Rising sea levels would threaten coastal cities such as Mumbai and Kolkota.

Slightly larger than the EU, India has three times the population according to the 2011 census of 1.2 billion people. Every sixth inhabitant of the world today is Indian. There are more than 400 independent languages; in addition there are the numerous, often not written-down dialects. In Indian schools nationwide, teaching is in different languages, and there are daily newspapers in more than 80 different languages. Despite (or perhaps because of) this linguistic diversity, there is no uniform national language in India. At the central government level, 18 officially recognized languages ​​are listed. The number and composition of the official languages ​​differ when viewed at the federal or Union state level.

From an economic point of view, India is also a country of extremes: On the one hand, it appears as an economic wonderland with a still (2015) high growth rate. It has an agriculture that could adequately feed all Indians: Nevertheless, the number of undernourished, especially children, is high. (see world hunger map)

India likes to call itself the largest parliamentary democracy in the world. It has a constitution that not only protects historically discriminated minorities, but also pragmatically assures them of the right to representation in the accompanying law through quotation. In everyday social life, however, the protected social minorities, the Dalits, formerly “untouchables”, in constitutional jargon scheduled castes and the Adivasi, indigenous communities, constitutionally scheduled tribes, due to the real situation (lack of literacy, lack of information on legal principles, lack of knowledge of practical procedures), very few opportunities to make use of their legal claims.

2. Shining India: A gigantic modernization project

Picture: “India Shining” was a marketing slogan that was meant to express the economic optimism around the turn of the millennium. It was popularized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for India's 2004 general election. The “India Shining” motto drew numerous criticisms from columnists and political critics of the then ruling National Democratic Alliance because it glossed over the many social problems such as poverty and social inequality.

On Indian Independence Day 2014, the newly elected Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi (BJP) [1] announced the start of a new initiative: “Make in India”. One of the goals was to attract foreign investors to India as a business location. (Promotional video) The vision of a “shining India”, the BJP's 2004 party slogan, was part of a long tradition. At the beginning of the new millennium, Abdul Kalam had examined the weaknesses and strengths of India as a nation and, based on this, developed the vision of a future India that could have a chance in 2020 to rise to the group of the world's leading economic powers. His book, India 2020: A Vision of the New Millennium (1998) , is dedicated to a young girl whom he once asked: "What is your dream", and she is said to have replied: "I want to live in a developed India." “Mister Missile”, as Kalam was popularly known at the time, developed an action plan that also included the promotion of the missile industry. “A developed India by 2020, or even earlier, is not a dream. It need not be a mere vision in the minds of many Indians. It is a mission we can all take up - and succeed. A P J Abdul Kalam [2]
Since the so-called “post-IMF phase” India has increasingly developed into an open market economy. The liberalization measures that began in the 1990s included areas such as industrial deregulation, the privatization of former state-owned companies and reduced controls over foreign trade. Until then, India's political leadership had adhered to a development strategy, largely shaped by the Soviet Union (state control and regulation of the private sector, etc.), even when other communist countries were already on a course that had been modified in terms of economic policy. Today in India there are state-of-the-art industrial plants in the steel industry, textile industry, IT complex, medicine and space technology. The most important industrial locations are in the Mumbai / Pune area, in the Delhi area and, in South India, in the three cities of Chennai (formerly Madras), Bangalore and Hyderabad, followed by the Kolkota industrial area.

According to the 2011 census, the urban / rural ratio in India is from 27.82% (urban) to 72.18% (rural). After 5 years this may have tended to shift in favor of the urban part. Nevertheless, India remains largely determined by the state of its agricultural sector. The face of agriculture has changed in spurts over the past few decades. It all began with the “Green Revolution” and the technologicalization that went with it. At that time, attempts were made to increase yields through chemically supported measures (use of fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) so that the country became independent of food imports. With globalization, the face of agriculture changed once more. While Indian farmers previously produced for their own needs, the immediate region or for domestic needs, they were now asked to focus more on the so-called cash crops to include: “market-friendly”, i.e. high-yield crops intended for export, e.g. cotton. This new aspect required further financial input from the farmers. At the same time, foreign investors gained increasing influence over Indian agriculture. Example: Monsanto.

Before Monsanto embarked on the Seed Policy enacted by the World Bank in 1988, Indian farmers grew their own cotton, along with other crops that were effective in protecting them from insect-borne diseases. Since the seeds of the cotton plants were natural, the farmers were able to withhold some and sow them again the next year without having to pay royalties for new seeds. Indian cotton farmers fell into a trap with the temptation to achieve higher yields through genetically modified seeds. Vandana Shiva, Indian scientist and social activist who has received multiple awards for her commitment to environmental protection, biodiversity, women's rights and sustainability, spoke of a “Trojan horse.” [3] In her publications, she describes the gradual adoption of the agricultural system Country. It started with the deregulation of the Indian seed sector. Monsanto bought up all the seed companies it could get its hands on, and formed joint ventures or license agreements with the rest. Many Indian farmers surrendered.

Arundhati Roy, Indian, literary author, essayist and probably the most vehement critic in India [4], who lives in Delhi, reports in her book Capitalism: A Ghost Story (2014) of 250,000 Indian farmers who committed suicide since 1995 because they could no longer withstand the conditions that increasingly dominated Indian agriculture. According to estimates, a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995, and that does not yet include the number of unreported cases, since women are not included in the statistics as farmers; and when they committed suicide, other motivations were billed: depression, postnatal reactions, etc.

3. Living with Poverty: Poverty and Poverty Reduction

Picture: The Dharavi slum in Mumbai is considered the largest slum in Asia. It developed in the British colonial times through the expulsion of factories from the peninsula city center and the influx of the poor rural population into the cities. Dharavi is now a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, diverse settlement. Estimates vary between 300,000 and around 1,000,000 residents. VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

India, the 1.3 billion country, is making tremendous promises to its people. Make in India, Clean India and Digital India are just a few terms that are intended to bring the new industrial offensive to the point. At the same time, the country cannot shake off perceptions that put such huge future projects into perspective. Not only does India seem to be taking little care of its rural population: the problem of poverty is constant. India comes off badly on the world hunger map: It has one of the highest rates of malnutrition. One in five malnourished children in the world appears to live in India. India ranked 135th in the 2014 Human Development Report. The report also found that countries with far lower gross domestic product (GDP) do more for the social security of their residents than India.

Malnutrition has many causes in India. It is the result of widespread poverty, the consequence of rapid population growth, a publicly underdeveloped health system, inadequate access to clean water in many regions, deficits in the area of ​​sanitary facilities, the inefficiency of local governments and much more.

When it became difficult in agriculture, many - mostly men - moved to the up-and-coming cities because they believed they were earning extra seasonal income there that would later come to the aid of their families left behind in the countryside. But the Indian cities were not prepared for the influx. Many job seekers from rural areas ended up in the urban slums. There were moving pictures on YouTube, some of which are no longer available due to copyright reasons.

The poverty problem in India is exacerbated by another factor. 90% of the working population works in the so-called informal sector, mostly literally on the street. [5] By law, every Indian has the right to 100 days of paid work per year. However, this only applies if the job seekers are registered, i.e. work in the formal economic sector. In 2014, an Indian commission of experts, the Rangarajan Commission, redefined the poverty line. Those who earn more than 32 rupees a day (less than 50 cents) in the country or 47 rupees in the city should not be considered poor, according to the report submitted by the expert group to the state planning authority. This determination has dramatic consequences: Those who have little more money available lose their entitlement to subsidized food that is distributed by government agencies. Internationally, the poverty line is given as the equivalent of 75 rupees.

No one appears to be officially responsible for poverty in India. The middle class, which has largely lost faith in the functionality of the state infrastructure - public clinics, schools, etc. - draws its own pramatic conclusions from this. Those who can afford it move to so-called “gated communities”. One example is Gurgaon south of Delhi with three million residents. The tendency is to build a wall around a settlement and to take care of garbage collection, electricity supply, water, good schools and good medical care privately.

What capitalization does with urban spaces emerges impressively from a work by Rana DasGupta. DasGupta is English of Indian origin. His book: Delhi: In the intoxication of money 2014 (original title: Capital: A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi, 2014).

4. Modernization Meets Tradition: Caste beings and caste thinking

Picture: The graphic shows the traditional caste system with its four main castes (jati). There are also many thousands of sub-castes. At the bottom are the Dalits (formerly “Untouchables”, “Harijans”). Outside the Hindu caste system are the non-Hindus (indigenous groups, in constitutional jargon: the Scheduled Tribes, but also Muslims, Christians etc. VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

A representative and inclusive democracy only works if all citizens have the same opportunities to contribute their concerns, wishes and demands to the community. It does not allow inequalities and discrimination based on archaic ways of thinking. The archaic caste system is often cited as a specifically Indian reason for the ongoing poverty and hunger crisis. It no longer exists on paper. Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibit discrimination based on caste, color, religion or place of birth. Nevertheless, caste thinking is still present in everyday life. No longer with the former rigor, but still noticeable.

Traditional Hindu caste thinking goes back more than two thousand years. Originally it helped organize a static society. It was based on hierarchy and the separation of individual population groups due to the division of labor. The Brahmins were at the highest level of the social hierarchy. They had the traditional knowledge that was believed to be needed for a functioning society. Below were the Kshastryas (debate). They were originally warriors, princes and kings. Then came the Vaishiyas: merchants, traders, moneylenders and large landowners. The lowest official caste were the Shudras. It comprised the majority of the population: craftsmen, tenants, servants and other service providers.

The traditional Hindu caste system excluded entire population groups, including the formerly so-called “untouchables”, later “Harijans”, as Gandhi called them. Today they call themselves Dalits, the “broken ones”, because Gandhi's label sounded too patriarchal to them. [6] The Adivasi, indigenous people, were also excluded. [7] Both groups are considered in the Indian constitution schedules castes (Dalits) and scheduled tribes (Adivasi) protected. The constitution provides for democratic participation, including through quotas (in Indian usage: “reservations”).

Although officially abolished, caste thinking still plays a role that cannot be neglected, but is becoming increasingly less important in urban areas. When describing the Indian social structure, a class model is increasingly gaining acceptance, but its dimensions cannot be compared with European ideas. For this - as an example - Bergthaler:

The upper class represents a maximum of 1% of Indian society. Including not only the $ 150,000 millionaires, but also the intellectual and economic elite, businesspeople, large landowners and industrial families. In India people like to say “creamy layer” or “upper crust”.

According to Western beliefs, a broad middle class (middle class). In India, the middle class is narrower than in many traditional European countries. However, the characteristics are often comparable: Both spouses work (for international or domestic companies in the software or IT sector) or are self-employed. They are usually young, well educated and consumer oriented. They spend money on housing, cars, travel and going to the cinema. According to Bergthaler, the lower class is divided into two parts: groups of people who live above and groups of people who live below the poverty line:

There are between 600 and 800 million people living in India who have to live on less than $ 2 to 3 a day. They form the bottom two layers of society. The third layer is that “above the poverty line” and consists of simple workers, auxiliary workers, small traders, artisans, small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs. They have little education. […] At the lower end of the pyramid you can find people below the poverty line, that is around 300 to 400 million people, mostly illiterate or with little education. In the cities they live in the slums or in poor conditions in the countryside.Accommodation, food, water and clothing are not always guaranteed.

Picture: The Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal, Inaugurated on Oct. 14, 2011 in Noira, it is a Dalit memorial and place of inspiration. It was built to honor the struggle of activists working for India's social transformation. Dalits are still fighting for recognition decades after the caste system was officially acquired. VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

There have been attempts for a long time, less well known in the West, to revolutionize or completely abolish the Indian caste system. Gandhi never questioned the caste system. His political opponent at the time was different, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, who - unlike Gandhi - came from the caste of the “untouchables”. Thanks to a happy life, he had succeeded in studying law. In 1947 the now recognized political and spiritual leader of the Dalits became Minister of Justice of the first government of independent India. He was instrumental in drafting the Indian constitution. In 1951 he resigned as minister after he had to admit that the Hindu ruling class was not prepared to fully comply with his demands for social, economic and political equality for the Dalits. Ambedkar is now a source of inspiration in many Dalit households. If there is a photo on the walls, according to Arundhati Roy, it is one of Ambedkar: You will look for Gandhi's pictures here in vain.

In Indian literature in English there are progressive authors who have taken care of those who are Hindu marginalized by the Indian caste system, including Mulk Raj Anand in his novel The Untouchable (1934). He describes a day in the life of Bakha, a young sweeper (sweeper), who is one of the “untouchables” because he cleans latrines. [8]

Dalits and Adivasi have become more self-confident today and have gained a voice. You step out of the victim role and are committed to fictional literature that portrays Dalits and Adivasi as combative.

5. Gender equality: when culture kills

Picture: Arundhati Bhattacharya is Chairwoman of the State of India Bank (2014) There are many examples of successful Indian women: Indian women now run far more large banks than here in Europe. Arundhati Bhattacharya is (2014) chairman of one of the largest and leading Indian banks in the public sector, the State Bank of India. Chanda Kochhar is the managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, India's largest private bank, the country's second largest financial institution. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the CEO of Biocon, a biotechnology company in Bangalore (with global presence). VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

"Just as complex as the reality in all Indian areas of life is the situation of Indian women, who range from self-evident authority to total submission, from supreme self-confidence to sad self-denial, from the constitutional guarantee of absolute equality to a reality in which there is a constant struggle for constitutional rights must be maintained, ”said Rami Chhabra, Indian writer and journalist.

There are many Indian women who - less publicly exposed - lead a comparatively self-determined life. The younger ones wear jeans and have credit cards and smartphones. They work in well-paid positions and can organize their lives comparatively autonomously, even according to European standards. The women of the lower class (s) are different. They are often faced with challenges that they find difficult to master due to their economic situation and socio-cultural status. They suffer most from the unofficial persistence of archaic structures, e.g. in the form of the ancient tradition of dowry.

Girls, if they are marriageable and an (arranged) marriage has been arranged between the bride and groom parents, transfer - according to tradition - to the groom's family. This is connected with a dowry, which was originally intended to support the position of women in the new family. Like Veena Talwar Oldenburg in her book Dowry Murder:The Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime (2002) researched, the meaning of the dowry changed during the British colonial rule (1858 to 1947). Now it became customary that the bride's parents had to pay the dowry directly to the husband's family, which often led to intra-marital disputes, for example if the husband was dissatisfied with the value of the dowry or later made additional demands. Against the background of a feudal-patriarchal culture in which domestic violence is not viewed and punished as a crime, this can have fatal consequences for Indian women, including facial burns or murder. Because then men can go looking for a bride again. The upper layers understand how to arrange themselves. However, this archaic way of thinking sometimes hits the lower classes hard. Sons are often preferred, while girls are neglected. Why, sometimes poor families ask, should they invest in girls, for example send them to school, as the law provides, when they are so urgently needed, especially in rural areas, to provide food security and later not by the original family are available. [9] The continuation of the old dowry tradition has recently led to poor parents struggling with the subsistence level being inclined to agree to the so-called Sumangali contracts [10], which promise that their daughters will work out their own dowry.

The area around the cities of Tirupur, Coimbatore and Erode in the state of Tamil Nadu is the center of the Indian textile industry. According to media reports, around 500,000 people work there in the clothing industry. Tirupur is one of the largest textile locations in the world, almost all international companies have their production there. There are said to be around 7,500 textile factories in Tamil Nadu, from small family businesses to sales giants like Eastman Exports. According to research reports by human rights organizations, the girls who work there on the basis of the sumalgami contracts are not allowed to leave the premises for the agreed period, three to four years, and they were promised to receive a certain sum at the end of the contract period with which they could then finance their own dowry. In between there are often years of humiliation, beatings, sexual assault, and hunger. The monthly wage is minimal. If the girls get sick in the meantime, even the meager pay is lost and with it often the hope of the agreed final sum. You are literally standing penniless on the street.

In India, gender equality is not only one of the major national challenges in the labor sector. In 2012 the case of the 23-year-old student Jyoti Singh Pandey caused worldwide horror and mass protests in India. In a bus in New Delhi, the young woman was so abused and raped by a group of men that she died of her injuries less than two weeks later. At that time there was a wave of protest through the country. India's parliament tightened the anti-rape law. Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister of India (2004-2014), branded the problem as “national disgrace”. His successor in office, Narendra Modi, appealed to citizens to better protect “mothers, daughters and sisters”. However, the news of misogyny in India has continued and published opinion is restrictive.

The case of the 23-year-old student was the reason for the documentation India’s daughter (“India's Daughter”) by BBC British director Leslie Udwin to be shown on Indian television on International Women's Day. But a court prohibited the broadcast. Reason: the “offensive” film shows a “very controversial interview” with a rapist who has been sentenced to death and thus threatens public order. The fact that the problem cannot be discussed from the top shows how virulent the topic is.

Violence against women as a relic of a feudal-patriarchal society is not limited to what happens in public. It often takes place behind closed doors. Not just in India. In India, violence against women often appears to be covered by police who either do not take the problem seriously or ignore it. [11]

6. Corruption as a way of life

Picture:The flag of India consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width, saffron-colored at the top, white in the middle and green at the bottom. In the white center there is a navy blue chakra (wheel with 24 spokes.) Its symbolic function has been interpreted differently at different times.

The constitution of India, which came into force three years after independence (1947), was welcomed around the world as a courageous and forward-looking project with a view to Asia. India defines itself as a “parliamentary federal republic”. The self-image of the time is expressed in the preamble. It should be a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic”. The basic freedom character is reflected in the catalog of fundamental rights. General human rights such as equality before the law and non-discrimination based on religion, race, caste, gender or origin are anchored in it (Articles 12 to 18). Article 17 is of particular importance, abolishing the concept of “untouchability” and making violations a criminal offense. The Indian constitution is supplemented by 99 amendments, i.e. additional articles (2014), which are intended to regulate democratic coexistence. For example, the right to education and the right to basic food supplies (National Food Security Act 2013)
The main pillars of the constitution are the separation of powers and federalism. The three “powers” ​​(legislative, executive and judicial) control each other according to the principle known from western democracies checks and balances. All central government decisions are adapted to regional characteristics at the federal or Union level. However, even the most progressive democratic constitution will not implement itself. In the words of Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen, India is “a democracy without justice”. In her book India: a country and its contradictions (Original title: An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions, 2013) they name class, caste and gender as the decisive causes of inequality and undesirable developments in Indian society. Another challenge is corruption, which can be found at all levels of public life. In the corruption report (Corruption Perception Report) by Transparency International (2014), India ranks 84th behind Burkino Faso.

Corruption has a long history in India. Vandana Shiva traces the tradition back to two factors: on the one hand, British colonial policy, which encouraged corruption through the establishment of an opaque bureaucracy, and, on the other hand, modern globalization trends. Regarding the latter Vandana Shiva:

If you look at a map of India, you can see that the central part of India, the forest belt, is an area inhabited by tribes. And through the globalized economy, bauxite, iron ore and coal mining, i.e. the whole range of polluting industries, have been brought to these regions, to federal states such as Chhattisgarh or Orissa. In 1996 a very important law was enacted in India. In short, it includes the self-government of tribal communities. At its core, the law says that when tribal communities have to make decisions, for example about building mines or factories in their area, then the ultimate authority is the community itself. (quoted from: Vandana Shiva: India's Shock Therapy)

What is meant is that Land Acquisition Bill, which until now had given village communities the possibility by law of state acquisition projects to decide whether it was in their interests that the deal came about. (more on Vandana Shiva's argumentation) The Land Acquisition Bill is a hot topic of discussion in the course of attracting foreign investors. Industrial and infrastructure projects such as special economic zones and dams have displaced millions of people in the past. Many were “tribals”, displaced tribal communities (on the statistical data.) Some of the displaced are apparently still waiting for adequate compensation. Critics of corruption blame the fact that everything was not handled properly. Here are some reflections on the Internet that make you think: If the procedure of land acquisition by the government had been based on the rules of so-called good governance (Good governance) had taken place and the subsequent allocation of land rights had been properly carried out, the proceeds would have flowed into the state treasury, which could then have been used to alleviate poverty.

The “system” of bureaucracy, corruption and clientelism is no longer so easily accepted in today's India. This is shown by the success of AAP, the “common man's party”, which emerged from the anti-corruption movement. The AAP takes care of the less privileged. It has its strongest support from the slum dwellers in the suburbs, who have to buy their drinking water from tankers from private companies, usually at inflated prices, because their houses are not connected to the public pipeline network. The party also receives support from the street vendors, who are often exposed to harassment and extortion by bribery-prone police officers. So far, however, the AAP has only managed to gain influence at the state level, for example in the Union territory of Delhi. In other states, their influence is minimal. It is difficult for them to move into the Lok Sabha, the first chamber of the Indian parliament, as a social democratic electoral alternative, which has to do with the Indian electoral system, which - based on GB - is based on majority voting (the winner takes all) is working. For this reason, activists who care for the poor will continue to be concerned with making their voices heard outside of parliament.

7. Civil society, protest culture and resistance

Picture: Representatives of the Gulabi “Red-Sari” gang (2010). The Gulabi Gang is an association of Indian women in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh who campaigns for women's rights and against social injustice. Gulabi means "pink" and is supposed to symbolize the feminine being (soft and fragrant). Characteristic are pink saris and bamboo batons (lathi), which are usually carried by police officers. VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

In Young world (29.08.2011) writes Thomas Eipeldauer:

How you describe India depends on the perspective from which you look at things. From the standpoint of national and international big business, India is a haven of hope in uncertain times: high growth rates, ambitious liberalization efforts, abundant natural resources and an almost inexhaustible reservoir of cheap labor. From the point of view of the vast majority of the country's population, this “success story” looks different. While the nouveau riche bourgeoisie stock up on consumer goods from all over the world, the life of other parts of the population is marked by hunger, exploitation, discrimination and displacement.

In the following, the new India will be examined from the perspective of civic engagement. The existence of a robust civil society in India has so far prevented outbreaks of violence that would destroy democracy across the board. The tradition of Indian protest culture is broad and has many different forms of resistance at the ready. It can be peaceful or violent, it can take place on a small scale, e.g. at a local level, or on a large scale as a national campaign accompanied by the media, it can express itself as a guerrilla action, demonstration march, strike or - quite simply - as an art action.

In Speak up! Social awakening and resistance in India (2013), the most recent and most comprehensive German-language publication on the social movements in India to date (2014), the editors and authors describe what is currently going on in India's social movements. The individual groups focus on different topics and are shaped by different convictions. Three main focal points can be identified: the fight against the exploitation of natural resources by national and international corporations, the fight for the dignity of women and the fight for the use of legal possibilities, especially by disadvantaged groups.

The exploitation of natural resources by national elites and international corporations to the disadvantage of the weaker is an old resistance issue in India.Above all, the so-called Naxalites have taken on the subject since the beginning of the republic. Their forms of resistance were controversial for a long time, as they were often violent in the past. Recently one has come across the mainstream-Media learn less about them. Dedicated journalists and authors, e.g. Jan Myrdal or Arundhati Roy, met at the invitation of Naxalite groups and were able to learn more. According to their reports, the rebellion, enthusiasm and commitment of the Naxalite fighters seem unbroken. [12]

The resistance against the appropriation of the country for the benefit of a declared common good was also the subject of an event in 2013 that was organized by the National Alliance of Peoples ’Movments (NAPM). From March 8th to 19th, a demonstration march took place as a protest against the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project is a gigantic, state-sponsored industrial development project that spans six sub-states in India over a length of 1,483 km. The prospects of the mega-dream: in five years the employment potential should double, industrial production triple and exports from the region quadruple. From the NAPM website in the original text:

Why Mumbai Delhi Sangharsh Yatra?

  • NAPM believes in citizens right to development planning and a model of development which is self sufficient, labor intensive and emerging from the bottom, rather than the top down monstrous ideas imposed in the name of public interest. Our fight is not against this or that project, we are challenging the development paradigm itself;

  • DMIC is a monstrosity that must be exposed, it's undemocratic, bypasses constitutional rights of citizens, gram sabha, environmentally destructive and a tool for unprecedented resource grab by corporations;

  • In the history of struggles for reclaiming our rightful share in development planning and ensuring livelihood to the majority, urgent need to intervene read it circumvents all the legal, political, financial and environmental safeguards in the country.

The NAPM assumes that the citizens of India are entitled to transparency with regard to development planning and a development model that is self-sufficient, labor-intensive and tailored to the needs of the majority population. It is not a question of fighting against one or the other project, but against the prevailing development paradigm itself; DMIC, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, be an outrage. The project is undemocratic, it circumvents the constitutional rights of citizens, the grief sabha[13] that it is environmentally harmful and undermines all political, financial and ecological security clauses in the country.
It would go too far to explain the premises of this position in detail here. Only so far: The Land Acquisition Bill, based on a law of 1894, now available in 2014 with 99 additional articles, connects, simply put, so-called “western” ideas of property (land tenure) with concepts that have their origins in Indian history: the conviction that the earth (“Mother Earth”) is more than a capitalist entity.

A second focus is the struggle for the dignity of women. The chapter picture shows representatives of the Gulabi gang. In the documentary “Baton under the saree - India's women fight back” by Dorothee Dörholt (broadcast on WDR on November 18, 2014), the announcement text said: “Will you snatch 14-year-old Suma from the clutches of a 30-year-old husband? They are India's answer to Robin Hood: the Gulabi gang. Hundreds of women in pink saris. They stop child weddings, beat up indecent abusive husbands and force police officers to arrest rapists.

The resistance of Indian women to gender inequality is society-wide. That the topic of misogyny is still discussed restrictively is shown by the ban, the documentary by the director Leslee Udwin with the title India’s daughter to show in India. Internationally it could be accessed unconditionally.

A third focus of social movements is the struggle for the practical use of applicable law, e.g. the right to information.

Picture: A poster from AIDINDIA.org that shows what can be achieved if Indians take advantage of the opportunities offered by the RTI law. from quickly repairing street lights to outstanding wage payments, purchasing grocery cards and factory licenses with no bribes. VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

The "Right to Information" law deals with the legal right of all citizens to access information, which is coupled with the information obligation of government agencies. A YouTube video shows how easy it is to fill out an RTI application. (“A powerful instrument for India's poor”). In 2010 the New York Times an image gallery on the net, which, using the example of Jharkhand, showed what can be achieved through perception of the RTI instrument.

Jharkhand is an East Indian state, founded in 2000, where media reports indicate that corruption and incompetence were widespread, fueled by the wealth of natural resources and the political chaos that emerged when the state separated from the state of Bihar in 2000. The NYTThe picture gallery shows concrete examples of how it is possible to use the RTI law as an anti-corruption tool, for example when it comes to questioning government-supported infrastructure projects, e.g. the construction of roads, with a view to their outstanding implementation or - on a personal level - to get information about why an application for approval of a mini-loan to build a small one Brick and Mortar-Accommodation was granted to some applicants, but not to others. (Read the success story here.)

8. “A rich fiancé with many bridegrooms ”: India's balancing act on the global stage

Picture: According to the Indian broadcaster NDTV, India successfully brought a Mars probe to the Red Planet in September 2014. The New York Times amused himself with a caricature depicting India as an emaciated cowherd. The NYT later apologized for the cartoon.VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

In 1974 India detonated its first nuclear warhead, but only for a few years has the country been perceived as a potential world power. India not only has nuclear weapons [14]: According to media reports, it has the third largest armed forces in the world. In South Asia, India is superior to many of its neighbors in terms of area, population and economic strength. Does India fulfill the prerequisites as a leading political force in the future to help shape the global balance of power?

At the time of the “Cold War” India opted for non-alignment (non-alignment). In the East-West conflict after the Second World War, the country, which had been decolonized by the British Empire and given independence in 1947, wanted to behave neutrally. It did not want to belong to either of the two major military blocs because it saw bloc formation as a threat to a third world war and instead opted for peaceful coexistence and disarmament. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberalization of the Indian economic sector in the 1990s, India also repositioned itself in terms of foreign policy. Today it seems to be pursuing a policy that initially aims to consolidate its position in the Asian region, to establish a harmonious relationship with China, Pakistan and Russia: border neighbors with whom a harmonious coexistence was previously burdened by historical conflicts. In a joint communiqué dated February 2nd, 2015, the foreign ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China reaffirmed that they want to work together towards a “more just, fairer and more stable international political and economic order” within the framework of a multipolar world: ([to] "build a more just, fair and stable international political and economic order" and a "multi-polar" world. "

But India is also negotiating with the United States. Barack Obama was the first US President to take part in the Indian National Day Parade (2015). The invitation is considered one of the highest awards in the country and had a symbolic value. For the left in India and also for many Indian liberals, the USA embodies imperialist arrogance and the claim to global supremacy. The nationalist right in India sees the United States as the prime example of a decadent Western civilization. However, this does not prevent one or the other camp from sending their children to study at leading American universities. As a comment the then Russian ambassador in New Delhi, Alexander Kadakin: “India has recently become a“ rich fiancé with many bridegrooms ”.

India is a member of the network of BRICS countries (B.razily, R.ussland, I.ndien, C.hina, S.south africa). The acronym was popularized in its original version (BRIC) by a treatise by Jim O'Neill (born 1957), an economist and chief economist at Goldman Sachs, in November 2001. [15] At that time, O'Neill predicted an impending dispute between the industrialized countries and the so-called emerging countries (emerging countries). The latter had high growth rates at that time.

From a demographic perspective, India is a young country with a lot of potential. This distinguishes it from other countries in Asia, e.g. China and Japan, but also from many countries in Europe, in which the aging of society is increasingly becoming a challenge. In the future India will use its opportunities with different instruments and different ranges, both in Asia and globally, partly in competition, partly in partnership and cooperation and sometimes also in conflict. There are clear limits to its role as an actor on the global stage. The challenges that India will have to master in the future are great and varied: the fight against poverty, overcoming the backward-looking caste thinking, the materialization of gender equality (gender equality) and ultimately the creation of a balance between the socially required energy procurement and global ecological urgencies.

O’Neill has since given up his job at Goldman Sachs and is devoting himself to social issues. His prognosis today: In the future, world affairs will be decided by the contrast between rich and poor countries.

9. Living in a Globalized World: India and Us

PICTURE: Indian spiritualism is in demand in the West and has become a major industry. At the request of PM Modi, who has been in office since 2014, yoga was recognized as a World Heritage Site. In its administration there is a Minister for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddhi and Homeopathy). Arundhati Roy said in one of her interviews: Many problems in India got lost in the sea of ​​yoga hype. India, but also the world, look away from the real problems.VIEW IMAGE | VISIT PAGE

What does it mean to live in a globalized world? What obligations do we have to face? Asparagus at Easter from South Africa, because the local, regional supply cannot meet due to a cold spring. Strawberries, which the local region was not yet able to produce in their full flavor at that time, were imported from overseas. To be able to buy cheap textiles that are produced in India - or other Asian countries - often under inhuman circumstances. “Globalization”, accompanied by critical investigative journalism, has led many citizens in this country to the question of how they, as consumers, but also as citizens, can act in a globally mindful and responsible manner.

Sina Trinkwalder, a German entrepreneur who founded the eco-social textile company "manomama" in Augsburg in 2010 and received the Sustainability Social Entrepreneur award from the German Council for Sustainable Development in 2011, published the calculation for a fair trade T-shirt on Twitter (25.11.2014) in Germany:

[E] in eco-t-shirts made in India under clean conditions costs 599 rupees for an Indian label on the Indian market (ie regional economy). That corresponds to 7.80 euros. According to the Indian government, people who have less than 39 rupees a day to support themselves are poor. So the T-shirt costs 15 times as much as the minimum daily rate for your own life. An eco-T-shirt made in Germany under fair conditions costs 19 euros. In Germany, the poverty line for a single person is an income of EUR 979 per month, which corresponds to EUR 32.34 per day. So the T-shirt costs a little more than half the minimum daily rate for your own life. ... [I] n my words: Act local, respect global! [16]

In 2014, Kailash Satyarthi (together with Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi, who gave up his job as an electrical engineer, was recognized for his decades of fighting child labor in India. [17] There are many NGOs in India that are problem-oriented and addressing India's many challenges. Many of them are self-help groups. The SHGs are involved in various policy fields, in local politics, including the implementation of government programs for community development and the support of particularly needy groups, provide information about social legislation, offer information on the subject of domestic violence, and explain the right to education and how to use it can, etc. They try to mobilize resources from local development funds for their villages by actively lobbying administrative bodies and elected community representatives. They actively bring issues and problems to the local political bodies (village assembly / Gram Saha). They address practical concerns, such as the procurement of drinking water, medical care, education, the construction of roads, houses for the poor, old-age pensions or the ban on alcohol. The fact that SHG members speak at municipal council meetings has, among other things, significantly improved the situation of women and their empowerment (empowerment) contributed. The SHGs also act as a lobby group (pressure groups) for the rights of particularly disadvantaged population groups. If you want to support NGOs: MENUE, the German portal for aid organizations, contains brief profiles of the respective India strategy and the specific working methods on site. Project activities range from the construction of schools and birth centers to training courses on topics from agriculture, hygiene and health, income generation to medical care, microcredit and active environmental and resource protection.

At the Hanover Fair 2015, India was Germany's partner country. In the past, German-Indian cooperation was not always problem-free for the entire population of India. Historical example from the early years of the Indian Republic: the steel mill in Rourkela. [18] It may have been aeons ago. Recently, Hans-Christian Ströbele (Member of the Bundestag, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) tweeted: "Absurd: Federal government involved # Heckler & Koch in export talks in India after illegal arms trade with Mexico." (See: German Bundestag - 18th electoral term - 87th session. Berlin, February 25, 2015.)

In the reporting on the World Economic Forum in Davos (2015), there was talk of a Swiss initiative. The aim was to bring companies that are demonstrably involved in business practices that violate standards in the host country that are common in the country of origin before a national court. (Hannes Koch, "Economic Forum in Davos: Excerpt from the NGOs," the taz, 26.01.2015)

2. Shining India: A gigantic modernization project

[1] In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received an absolute majority at the central government level for the first time. As the successor to the former Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), founded in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mookerjee, a nationalist leader, former foreign minister of the Union and the freedom fighters, the party claims to stand up for the well-being of India in social policy, self-confidence, robust economic growth, as well as a foreign policy determined by a nationalist agenda. The BJP is historically burdened. PM Narenda Mori was involved in events in Guajarat state back in 2004 that did not shed good light on him.
[2] ↑ Kalam was President of India from 2002 to 2007. He has been praised by his followers as a "200 percent Indian" for his patriotism. His visions were ambitious: by 2020, India could be brought to the top tier of world powers: “Dream, dream, dream! Put these dreams into practice and act ”, is his motto (1998). Being Indian. The Truth about why the 21st Century will be India’s (Penguin Books India, New Delhi 2004) examines a.o.India's future perspective as an economic, military and technological power.
[3] ↑ Vandana Shiva “Of seeds and seed multinationals” (TRAILER)
[4] ↑ Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story(2014). Arundathi Roy began her world career with the novel The God of Small Things (1979), after which she devoted herself exclusively to non-fictional literature for more than 15 years. Your work entitled The Doctor and the Saint is an investigation into the caste system that she is already in The God of Small Things had investigated approach and from a literary perspective. In the introduction to the new edition of the classic by BR Ambedkar, The Annihilation of Caste (1936), she works on the difficult relationship between the two then adversaries in matters of Indian caste politics, Gandhi and Ambedkar. For them (the historically neglected) Ambedkar, who was born as “untouchable”, is the true hero of the formerly “untouchable”.

3. Living with Poverty: Poverty and Poverty Reduction
[5]The “informal sector” includes workers who work without tariffs, legal obligations and clear conditions: day laborers, temporary workers and self-employed.

4. Modernization Meets Tradition: Caste beings and caste thinking
[6] The Dalits (formerly “Untouchables”, “Harijans”) traditionally belong to a caste (Jati), but not to a Varna. They make up - estimated - around 15% of the population.
[7] The Adivasi (indigenous peoples) are made up of around 460 peoples and communities. They are considered to be descendants of the so-called first inhabitants of India. The 85 million Adivasi make up 7.5 percent of the total population. They live all over India.
[8]The Untouchable was reissued by Penguin Classics in 2014.

5. Gender equality: when culture kills
[9]Night school in a small town Ghirr in Rajasthan. During the day, students have to work. They can only learn under the stars.
[10] In Tamil, "Sumangali" means "beautiful bride." Poor Indian families oblige their daughters to work in the textile industry for three to four years so that they can work out the dowry for a future marriage that they, as parents, cannot afford. The parents are promised that their daughters will receive a good education in addition to the compensation for the “trousseau” at the end of the contract period. Many girls cannot survive the 3 or 4 year period: barracking, long hours of work, little sleep: they got sick. Since there are usually no written contracts between employees and employers, the girls were largely unpaid after two or three years of “slave labor”. Terre des hommes and other humanitarian organizations refer to the Sumangali principle as exploitation and slavery.
[11] Not all Indian police officers ignore the problem. The story of Joydeep Naiak became known worldwide through Twitter. Naiak was a senior police officer in Odisha state. He had the idea for an advertising machine: Iclick. The abbreviation stands for Instant Complaint Logging Internet Kiosk. It was a machine in the middle of the city, in the vestibule of a bank, right next to the ATM. Women would post complaints to the police via the Internet. They would report their case by email or record and then send it off before they had chosen the offense: rape, husband abuse, kidnapping or sexual harassment. The recording and other data - mobile phone number etc. - are sent to the police by email.

7. Civil society, culture of protest and resistance
[12] For Lutz Getzschmann, it's in his work India and the Naxalites: Agrarian Revolution and Capitalist Modernization (2011) with the Naxalites about a movement that not only promises the exploited and oppressed a home, but is committed to a more just society. The Naxalite movement activated political subjects to whom the traditional productivist Marxism-Leninism fixated on the industrial proletariat pays no attention: poor, underprivileged, marginalized groups who are in confrontation with a social system that has been formally abolished but is still present in everyday social life. Almost three decades ago, Swedish journalist Jan Mydal featured in his controversial book, borne by outrage, passion and commitment India is breaking up (1986) devoted a chapter to the Naxalites. Red Star Over India: When The Damned Of This Earth Rise Up. Impressions, reflections and preliminary conclusions (2011) follows on from this. Myrdal was invited together with the renowned Indian journalist Gautam Navlakha from the leadership of the Communist Party of India (KPT-M) to learn more about the survival and self-critical learning processes of the Naxalites in an exclusive interview. It's still about survival in an epic struggle (cynically called 'Green Hunt' by the government) between the malnourished, poorly equipped, but highly motivated indigenous peoples, the Adivasis, and the poor, the Dalits, and the most modern armed army and police of India. But there is an opportunity in today's India, which has experienced enormous economic growth, but is so corrupt and rotten inside that it is leading such an inhuman, brutal policy against its own peoples.
For more than a decade, as an articulate dissident, Arundhati Roy has attacked the religious right and the barons of big business and argued against the political, economic and military policies of the Indian state through a series of passionate essays, speeches and books. She was also a guest of the Naxalites. In Walking with the comrades (2011) she describes the impressions she gained while marching with her comrades through the forests of Dandakaranya.
[13] The Gram Sabha is the cornerstone of democratic decentralization in India, laid down in the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution. It is a meeting of all adults who live in the area of ​​a Panchayat (unit of local self-government). Everyone who is 18 years of age or older and has the right to vote is a member. Success or failure largely depends on how efficient and effective the GS is in meeting people's wishes and suggestions at a decentralized level.
[14] India has nuclear weapons. It looks like the country is becoming the world's largest arms importer. In many emerging countries there seems to be a misconception that it takes military potential to demonstrate power.

8 .“A rich fiancé with many bridegrooms”: India as an actor on a global stage
[15]BRICS - at that time still without South Africa - was originally (2001) created by Goldman Sachs strategist Jim O'Neill as an analysis concept for future markets. (On O’Neill and the emerging countries, see Follath, Erich and Hesse, Martin. "Emerging countries: The second wave."

9. Living in a Globalized World: India and us