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FAQ Policy. About this book This book reviews and analyzes emerging challenges in water policy, governance and institutions in India. Finally, the authors propose that future research should challenge implicit biases in water resources planning and address imbalances in the allocation of water from the perspectives of both equity and sustainability. During his watch as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, Hindu goons, some with ties to his party, slaughtered more than a thousand Muslims in He cut his political teeth in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS , the Hindu version of the Hezbollah, a group that believes in taking aggressive measures to guard the country's 1 billion Hindus from their million Christian and Muslim fellow citizens.
India's constitutional commitment to religious pluralism and secularism rankles the RSS because it has allowed these non-Hindu faiths to flourish.
Modi sat back and watched as his minions conducted "reconversions" of Christians and Muslims in mass public ceremonies—on the grounds that they were duped by missionaries or forced by the Mughals India's previous Muslim rulers to abandon their true faith. Hindu vigilantes have gone around thrashing—and occasionally lynching—Muslims suspected of consuming beef, even though doing so is legal. One Harvard-educated minister in Modi's party actually garlanded and feted some such miscreants when they were released on bail.
In an unprecedented and shocking move, Modi appointed a Hindu monk who had been arrested several times for anti-Muslim incitement as the chief minister of India's most populous state. This man's first act upon assuming office was to shut down Muslim-owned slaughterhouses and double down on a crusade against "love jihad," an alleged conspiracy by Muslim men to seduce and marry Hindu women in order to convert them. Hindu hoodlums, without fear of repercussions, harass and assault mixed-religion couples.
In one state in southern India, they even prevailed on a local court to annul a marriage and return a grown woman to her parents' home, overruling her protestations that she willingly converted to Islam because she loved her husband. Nor is free speech safe under current leadership. Presaging President Donald Trump's attacks on "fake news," Modi and his supporters tried to discredit negative coverage as "paid news" during his campaign. Killings of scholars and journalists who question the ideology of Hindu nationalism have increased.
My friend Gauri Lankesh, the publisher of a Bangalore-based tabloid that doggedly exposed public corruption and championed the rights of members of lower castes and Muslims, was assassinated at point-blank range in her driveway last year. The sinister Hindu outfits believed to have orchestrated the attack have yet to be shut down, but the administration isn't leaving any stones unturned in going after more people like Lankesh.
In August, it cooperated with state authorities to launch multi-city raids on the homes and offices of human rights activists, journalists, lawyers, academics, and writers. The rap against them was that they were Naxals, members of a Maoist group, who had fomented violence at a dalit lower caste pride event in January.
In reality, Hindu groups that have always despised the event delivered fiery speeches nearby, leading to violence. The one freedom that many had hoped Modi would actually strengthen is economic freedom. After all, he ran on a platform of "minimum government, maximum governance," promising to dismantle the relics of the License Raj that had turned India into the economic basket case of the world.
And indeed, the country's ranking on the World Bank's "ease of doing business" index went up 30 notches last year, making India th out of countries. However, that progress has been more than negated by Modi's truly draconian demonetization stunt when, one fine day a few years ago, he issued an executive order obliterating 80 percent of India's currency and replacing it with new denominations. Under the guise of dispensing welfare aid more efficiently, Modi has also created a kind of national ID system that civil libertarians are deeply worried will allow the state to track every financial transaction.
And in a real step backward, he raised tariffs on labor-intensive goods such as toys, footwear, mobile phones, and TVs, reversing one of the main features of India's liberalization effort. As a result, four years into his rule, a man who promised to turn India into an economic powerhouse in the mold of Hong Kong has barely matched the growth rate under his predecessor. Outsiders often divide India into north and south, along a crude ethno-cultural line.
But a more useful division may be longitudinal, separating east from west. The Western world likes to deal with the west of India because it is the part that it understands: the financial epicentre of Mumbai, the entrepreneurial hub of Gujarat, the power base of Delhi. The east is where the government's actual control of and attention to the country is poor.
It is where girls don't go to school, where women are trafficked for sex, where children are forced into labour, where policemen are killed by lawless militias. People are poorer, jobs fewer and chances for education slimmer. The spirit of aspiration that drives so much of India is weakened here, by unrelenting, bitter circumstance. There are huge swathes of India - Naxal-blighted Jharkhand and Orissa, the seven remote north-east states - where tens of millions feel dissociated from the world's next superpower.
There are exceptions, as with every Indian generalisation, to this east-west divide: the eastern cities of Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata fit more naturally with the developing west, insurgency-riddled Kashmir in the north-west has greater similarities with the restive east. But when the West is speaking to the businessmen of Mumbai and the bureaucrats of Delhi, it must remember they represent a tiny minority.
Most people in India are still poor. Four in 10 of the children are stunted because they don't have enough to eat. For all the millions of words written in analysis, praise, or criticism of India, it is a place still not well understood by outsiders.
Those who write on India are often too-hastily categorised, either as ''boosters'' or ''haters''. I argue one has to be both here: to love India while acknowledging its flaws, to bear witness to the extraordinary in this place, without being blind to that which is abhorrent.
It's Vikram's third winter in Delhi, and the floor of his house is still cold dirt. I am leaving Delhi. He is staying. Vikram and I talk most often about his children, a universal enough theme for two people whose life experiences are so different.
At least one child is always sick, it seems, another always in trouble with someone or another nearby. He wishes he could do more to give his children a better chance, an easier life than the one he's had to endure. Vikram sits on a low stool outside his home, barely a metre from the incessant noise and the belching smog of Delhi's relentless traffic, next to the festering, foul-smelling rubbish dump. The roof of his house leaks, and he worries someday, someone will move him on to somewhere even worse.
He won a Walkley Award in for a series of stories on Australian links to dangerous Bangladeshi factories, and was the Young Australian Print Journalist of the Year. India: a nation at the crossroads. The Sydney Morning Herald. About the same time as I came to Delhi, a family moved in around the corner. Their shelter has become a home. Vikram has four children, all of whom attend school, in between helping with work.
I see India in Vikram's story. Vikram's family shares the irrepressible energy of this country's huge population. So it is with India. This country keenly feels its history, and is adamant it will never be dictated to again. And the answers to India's problems are, like the place itself, complex.
Sometimes it seems they are right, the place may be ungovernable. But hope remains, it is the vanguard of what may have to be a slow revolution.
But it is the east that is more deserving of international notice. He sees and feels India's faults more keenly than anyone. And he thinks tomorrow is going to be better than today.