India

A wonderful book by Jean Dreze, India’s Orwell

Duncan Green - November 27, 2017

Notes from my talk at last week’s launch of Jean Drèze’s new book, Sense and Solidarity. Has anyone written Jean Drèze’s biography? If not, why not? A fascinating figure, surrounded by myths and legends (did he really sleep rough in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the square next to LSE, when he was a lecturer there?). He’s a wonderful writer who reminds me of George Orwell, with …

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When hate comes calling: fighting back in India

Duncan Green - October 24, 2017

Fake news, populism and ethnic and religious hate crimes are not just a US problem. Indian activist and writer Mari Marcel Thekaekara laments the wave of hate engulfing her country, and celebrates some of those who are fighting back A peace movement? The mere suggestion evokes pitying looks, even from friends. Been there, done that. In the seventies, actually. More accurately, I’m obsessed with an …

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Campaigning to Make India’s Roads Safer: A nice How Change Happens case study

Duncan Green - July 7, 2016

A smart How Change Happens case study by David Bornstein in the New York Times’ ‘Fixes’ series (highly recommended). Bornstein looks at the advocacy of the SaveLife Foundation, set up by Piyush Tewari, a businessman, after his cousin Shivam was knocked down by a jeep then left to bleed to death by the roadside. Excerpts + commentary from me in italics. “India has surpassed China as …

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A crunch point for Indian civil society – what are the options?

Duncan Green - April 29, 2016

Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja   In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many CSOs have come to depend …

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Reading the tea leaves: What the women’s movement can learn from a victory in India

Duncan Green - November 19, 2015

This piece by Devaki Jain, an Indian feminist economist, originally appeared on the scroll.in website The good news for the women’s movement in India came from Munnar, a hill station in Kerala, last month where a group of women workers won a signal battle against their employers, a tea estate by the name of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations. One of the slogans at the protest read: “We pick …

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How can India send a spaceship to Mars but not educate its children? Guest post from Deepak Xavier

Duncan Green - March 24, 2015

Oxfam is going through its own (belated but welcome) process of ‘Bric-ification’, with the rise of independent Oxfam affiliates in the main developing countries. Oxfam India is one of the leaders, founded in 2008 and focussing its work on 7 of the most deprived states in India. It is rapidly becoming an advocacy powerhouse within India, running campaigns on everything from gender inequality to ‘Stand strong …

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Why ending poverty in India means tackling rural poverty and power

Duncan Green - January 29, 2015

Vanita Suneja, Oxfam India’s Economic Justice Lead, argues that India can’t progress until it tackles rural poverty More than 800 million of India’s 1.25 billion people live in the countryside. One quarter of rural India’s population is below the official poverty line – 216 million people. A search for economic justice for a population of this magnitude is never going to be possible only by relying on …

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How Change Happens: Supporting tribal people to claim their rights to India’s forests

Duncan Green - July 16, 2014

Next up in the series of case studies in promoting ‘active citizenship’ is Oxfam India’s work in an impossible-to-spell new state. All comments welcome, full case study here [P&C case study. v2 12 June 14] India’s new and heavily forested state of Chhattisgarh is home to some of its most marginalized communities, whose traditional ways of living from forest products are under threat from encroachment …

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How is India’s iconic NREGA social protection scheme doing? Interesting research from Tamil Nadu.

Duncan Green - February 27, 2014

Some social programmes act as honey pots for busy bee researchers. A few years ago Brazil’s Bolsa Familia was the subject of choice, but it seems to have been overtaken by India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) which has researchers all over it. A Global Insights paper from the University of Sussex has some great insights into the programme, based on a …

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