In retirement, I have started trying to find out how things are in India. The period I still remember distinctly is the decade of post independence. By that time, I was bitten by the mathes bug and did not pay much attention to the world around. By 60’s there seemed to be some improvements and the time of major famines seemed to be over. The whole Indira Gandhi period was a bit of haze for me though traumatic for many others. Off and on when I visited home, I heard comments that our caste was loosing out and the lower castes did not know their place any more. Overall, there seemed to be improvements. I hoped that the period when poverty dehumanised both haves and have nots was over. Since, I do not have too much faith in the mainstream media, I started looking at blogs. There seem to be many brilliant people and many brilliant blogs, generally interested and anxious about India’s development, but somehow frenetic and I could not get a picture of how things actually work in India. I also feel that the problems are too complex, news too unreliable that it is difficult for any one person to understand the current realities and one has to be a part, formally or informally, of a discussion group to get a grip on the current events and future directions.
One such group seems to be www.theothetindia.org
I read comments in some other blogs that these are commies, but as far as I can see from individual blogs, some of them seem to be suspicious of ideologies. They all seem vaguely left (for me left means those who are concerned about others irrespective of their race and creed. Possibly many economists are leftists according to this definition). At the moment, I am sold on this blog and hope that many more such group blogs will arrive. To get an idea of how difficult social change may be in India, look at the articles and comments on reservations. To get an idea of how things actually work and the nitty-gritty of clash of ideologies, politics, egos see mrajshekhar’s articles about Orissa and ‘World Bank, SHGs, market linkages and the private sector”. In spite of all the anxiety about development, there seem to more comments about caste and reservation and less about development. There are more such articles in the ‘My Articles’ section of http://www.fracturedearth.org/, for example, http://www.fracturedearth.org/articles/itc-hll.pdf.
I do not know how long the site will last but at the moment it seems to be doing a good job of educating people like me about India.