This is a time of considerable stir in Indian society and politics. There are many discussions and debates about the country’s policy priorities, involving a great diversity of participants and viewpoints. Lively arguments and agitations have also developed around a wide range of issues that had been neglected for a long time, such as corruption, administrative failure, capital punishment, violence against women and democratic reforms. There are also spirited arguments about India’s economic achievements and failures.
This abundance of questioning and arguing, facilitated by a vibrant media and robust democratic institutions, can be a great strength for the country. It is compromised, however, by a powerful bias in public discussions towards focusing mainly on the lives and concerns of the relatively privileged, including not only the very privileged but also others who are not right at the top but are certainly much more privileged — in affluence, education, health care, cultural opportunities and social standing — than the bulk of the Indian people. The issues that affect the lives, and even survival, of those who have been comprehensively left behind tend to receive remarkably little attention. Read More>