Archive for the ‘India’ Category
This post is originally published on UNC-IntraHealth Blog and is contributed by UNC-IntraHealth Summer Fellow, Taylor Marie Snyder.
After three-plus years of “working in India,” last month I finally had the opportunity to actually work in India. Prior to my UNC-IntraHealth Fellowship, I worked on a program promoting reproductive health in five countries, including India. While I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates, something always seemed to get in the way of my plans to explore India. Thus, I was thrilled that my fellowship commenced with documenting the USAID-funded Vistaar Project’s interventions improving maternal, newborn and child health, and nutritional status in India.
This documentation process involved collaborating with IntraHealth colleagues in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand to capture Vistaar’s impact. It involved capturing hours of video and audio footage, taking thousands of photographs, enjoying several chai breaks, and eating lots of mangos. Through the documentation process, I became passionate about the project’s efforts to reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths through strengthening the capacity of frontline health workers to conduct safe deliveries.
The Hindu Cartoonscope and Amul Butter cartoons continue to be a great way to capture news in India with humor and satire. This Year in Review presents a montage of cartoons from the two sources to present the highlights of what happened in India in 2011.
Reports of political scams and corruption continued to surface throughout 2011. 2G allocation, hoarding of balck money and illegal mining at Bellary were some prominent ones. Continue Reading
Guest Post by Sidrah Zaheer. Sidrah is a freelance writer who likes to blog about her thoughts. She is a curious person and can’t keep ideas to herself unless she has shared them online somewhere. She is most interested in issues of political and social importance and often writes about them in her various posts. She is a complete movie buff and likes to keep in touch with the latest technology, especially in social media. You can follow her on Twitter and join her Facebook Page.
Whenever I have entered into a chat with an Indian, there have always been feelings of goodwill and kindness for each other as people. This mutual respect between the people of India and Pakistan who communicate online tells volumes about how deeply the people of both the countries admire and appreciate each other in actuality. This fact is unlike what the media often depicts the situation between people to be. I have found Indians to get more interested in knowing better about me as a Pakistani and also about my country. This indicates an attempt on their part to bridge the gaps and understand. If you have understood another human being, you have connected.
First of all, they are amazed to see that I know Urdu and can speak it fluently as my mother tongue. Indians admire Urdu language, or so at least has been my experience when I tell them that Urdu is my first language. The heritage of Urdu literature in India has unique position in its culture and history. The second fact that strikes them is to know that I am from Karachi, which is a city they must have heard a lot of things about; some good, some bad, but always arising a sense of wonderment about Karachiites. Karachi is not much different than one of India’s own largest cities, Mumbai. Hence, many common things come to the fore when sharing experiences about life in these metropolitans. I don’t for one understand how based on similarities of backgrounds from this perspective, people can differ. Click to continue…
India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal launched Aakash, the $35 tablet, midst much fanfare last week. The launch was hailed as a grand moment for India’s innovative prowess and claims to have silenced the skeptics. Aakash is developed by DataWind, a wireless Web access products maker in Montreal in partnership with IIT Rajasthan. The tablet has a 7-inch display with 800-by-480 pixel resolution, 256MB of RAM, 2GB flash storage, a 366MHz processor from Connexant and runs on the Android 2.2 operating system. The tablet costs $50 but government of India is making it available for graduate students at the subsidized cost of $35. Making technology cheaply available is a great way to bridge the digital divide but Aakash is technologically unimpressive and socially insensitive.
India’s Afghanistan policy is a classic case displaying the pros and cons of soft power approach in international relations. Soft power is fruitful as a continuum of the smart power strategy where hard power is purposefully used. Soft power is helpful in creating space for and sustaining hard power options. A strategy that rests only on soft power resources to achieve national interests is flawed.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 riots has been an emotive issue in India. Conviction of Modi is viewed by his critics as the only form in which justice can be accorded to the victims of Gujarat riots. Modi’s supporters cite his performance as an administrator and development of Gujarat (the Muslim population in particular) as proof of his commitment to public welfare. For the judicial system in India the challenge is compounded because each side has rigid and pre-conceived notions of justice in this case. The legal outcome of this case is expected to have profound political consequences. This context made the Supreme Court’s pronouncements on the case on Monday afternoon particularly interesting.
Online campaigns are viewed as the most democratic medium in contemporary times. There are numerous examples of social media resulting in change and enhancing accountability in countries, towns and villages. As someone who studies the positive impact of social media on civil society interactions, it’s heartening to witness these developments. Various forms on online protests, exchange of ideas on Twitter and open discussion forums available on Facebook have demonstrated the power of social media.
But a recent incident has forced me to accept the inevitable – social media is an open forum and can be misused if the users so intend. I am referring to the cancellation of the Harud Autumn Literature Festival in Kashmir, India. The festival scheduled to be held in the last week of September was a unique opportunity for the budding literary minds of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh to engage with stalwarts from across the country. The reason for cancellation was spelled out by Namita Gokhale, the festival advisor: “What would you do if 5,000 people on Facebook are running a campaign for boycott of the festival and plan violence.”
Given the recent developments it was difficult to avoid commenting on the India Against Corruption (IAC) campaign led by Anna Hazare. Let me clarify at the onset that I don’t support Anna’s version of the Jan Lokpal Bill and the intransigent campaign through which he seeks to get the proposal implemented. However, I support the shunning of the “kuch nahi ho sakta” (Nothing can be done) attitude in India. IAC campaign may be labelled as undemocratic by some and dangerous by others. Many had observed during the first round of protests in April that the Anna fever would die down once the IPL fever gains momentum. People participating in the candle light and street marches may be labelled as “posing for the camera” protesters. Only handful of the supporters can make an honest claim to have read the proposed Bill. Nevertheless, it is a protest against the Government and its unpopular policies. It is naïve to refer to these protests and India’s Arab Spring (simply unfair to the protestors in the Middle East). The protests in India may appear unintelligent and may not offer a desirable solution but it’s heartening to see mobilization for a cause that is unifying cause rather than protests for separate statehood or reservation for particular groups. Anna does not speak for all Indians (there are many outside the Government and Congress who don’t support him) but his supporters (we can argue about the numbers) identify themselves as Indians and not as Jats or Gujjars or natives of Telangana or Kashmiris!
For many in India, Secretary Clinton’s visit this week was reassuring; reassuring that India was still United State’s most favored partner in the region. Secretary Clinton’s visit was part of the second annual India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue initiated last year. Strategic dimension of the interactions received maximum attention in the media and among analysts. The insistence on need for India to engage in leadership diplomacy in Asia was warmly welcomed. Moreover, agreements on small ticket items demonstrated the growing strength of bilateral relations.
Under the resumed dialogue process, the Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India met in Islamabad, on 23-24 June 2011 for bilateral talks on Peace and Security including Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges. In India –Pakistan relations, where atmospherics are as important as actual diplomatic agreements, the meeting was surprisingly cordial. Held in the backdrop of David Headley trial and the incident involving PNS Babar and INS Godavari in the Gulf of Aden, the meeting managed to avoid distractions. It struck out as rather routine minus the usual fireworks expected when Indian and Pakistani delegates meet. Click to continue…