NPR had an interesting story this morning about women in India trying to make their journeys safer by riding in a women-only compartment on the metro. Relatedly, here is a story from the New York Times about the new laws concerning crimes against women in India. Also, today marks the beginning of one Indian woman’s journey up Mount Everest. The former volleyball player had to have her leg amputated two years ago, after she resisted a robbery on a train and was thrown from it.
And in news from India’s next-door neighbor, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head last year by the Taliban, is going to publish a memoir this fall entitled, I Am Malala.
Here is another version of the Gandhi speech we read from Reading the World: Ideas that Matter. We will use if for our next writing assignment on Moodle. Don’t let the title page fool you; it’s the same speech.
For blogging purposes, you may also be interested in this essay by the American Catholic activist John Dear.
“I am not a saint who has strayed into politics,” Gandhi once wrote. “I am a politician who is trying to become a saint.” While Adolf Hitler organized genocide in Europe, Franklin Roosevelt militarized America, Winston Churchill cheered on the Allies and Harry Truman ordered that atomic bombs be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Gandhi was attempting an entirely new kind of politics based on the transformative spirituality of nonviolence. Gandhi wanted independence for his people, but he did not want to kill anyone for it. He wanted the basic human rights of food, clothing, shelter, education, jobs, healthcare, and dignity for the hundreds of millions of impoverished Indians. But he called for justice by first living in radical solidarity with the poorest of the poor.
A couple of weeks ago, the online magazine Slate had an interesting story that’s relevant to our discussion of Q&A. Although India has been well known for having enormous slums full of the desperately poor, they are attempting, at least here and there, to change that image. But whether they’re changing the reality is an open question.
The Mumbai slum redevelopment policy is the brainchild of local starchitect Hafeez Contractor, who is not coincidentally the designer of Imperial Towers. “I used to always say something should be done about the slums. And I always used to say that the best way of [dealing with] slums was that you give them free houses, keep the land, and build on it and make money,” Contractor told me when we met in his office near the Mumbai stock exchange. “When I first told them in 1982 … everybody said I am crazy. Today, they are implementing it.”
The program doesn’t rent the apartments to the residents of these slums, it gives it to them; they own it. However:
But because the policy calls for rehousing the poor without doing anything to raise their incomes, many end up unable to pay for utilities or contribute to the upkeep of the buildings through residents’ association dues.
There’s much to blog about here, if you read the whole thing.
If you missed the BBC Documentary, Mahatma Gandhi: Pilgrim of Peace, which we watched in class on Monday, please watch it outside of class and take notes. Your notes should be aimed at helping answering our Central Question regarding social institutions and oppression.