Book talk: Looking away: Indifference, prejudice and inequality in the new India
Convener: Indrajit Roy
Speaker: Harsh Mander
In the two decades since India confirmed its allegiance to the Free Market, more of its citizens have become marginalized than ever before, and society has become more sharply riven than ever. In Looking Away, Harsh Mander ranges wide to record and analyse the many different fault lines which crisscross Indian society today. There is increasing prosperity among the middle classes, but also a corresponding intolerance for the less fortunate. And with the sharp Rightward turn in politics, minority communities are under serious threat-their very status as citizens in question-as a belligerent, monolithic idea of the nation takes the place of an inclusive, tolerant one. However, as what most stains society today is the erosion in the imperative for sympathy, both at the state and individual levels, a crumbling that is principally at the base of the vast inequities which afflict India.
Harsh Mander, human rights and peace worker, writer, columnist, researcher and teacher, works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. He is Director, Centre for Equity Studies and Special Commissioner to the Supreme Court of India in the Right to Food case.