Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Barefoot: worlds apart by Harsh Mander
"I accepted an invitation three years ago to teach a semester course every year on poverty and governance to the MBA students in this business school. The challenge of speaking about hunger, homelessness, want and discrimination to a classroom of some of the brightest achievers in the country — who, within months of my course, would be recruited to jobs which would easily place them in the top one per cent income bracket in the country — was daunting. But I found my students intelligent, engaged and caring, as young people anywhere are.
A different exercise
Instead of an examination at the end of the course, I asked my students every year to each find one impoverished person, in Ahmedabad or elsewhere, and try to learn about their lives, write their stories, and share these with their classmates. Their first reaction was usually one of understandable panic: how could they cross distances imposed by history, class, power, language and so much else; they were convinced that these were insurmountable. I assured them that what was required was no more than one human being reaching out to another, and if they could approach them with true respect and empathy, the people they were trying to learn from would, in all probability, reciprocate."
More about Harsh Mander. He is the author of Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India.

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