India’s Schooling Crisis

September 21, 2021
Beyond excited to host a development hero, Jean Drèze, on the blog. He introduces some new research showing that in India, the prolonged closure of schools has taken a heavy toll. A sound strategy to deal with this crisis is nowhere in sight. Indian children have been “locked out” of school for almost a year and a half. This lockout,
Featured image for “Local Diaries: Untold Stories of Women in India’s lockdown”

Local Diaries: Untold Stories of Women in India’s lockdown

July 7, 2020
Priyanka Kotamraju (@peekayty ) introduces the Local Diaries: Untold Stories of Women podcast. She is an editor in the Chitrakoot Collective and an Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity. Sadrunissa is a young woman from Varanasi in northern India whose dreams abruptly faded in the wake of COVID-19. In January, she joined a tailoring course. It was the first time Sadrunissa had

Against fascism in India: in solidarity, through care

February 26, 2020
Enda Verde and Chandan Kumar write about how women are leading the resistance against the unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act in India. Enda Verde is a Ph.D. candidate working in both Europe and India. Chandan Kumar is a labor rights activist based in Pune, India, and part of a citizen’s movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act called “Hum Bharat Ke Log.”

Can sustainable architecture help the homeless?

January 10, 2020
Weeks after the climate change conference in Madrid (COP25) and starting the new year with a mix of fear and anticipation, it is a fitting time to think of those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. Particularly, those without a place to live: the homeless. Below is the transcript of an interview with Rajendra Kumar,
Featured image for “What’s going on with civil society and philanthropy in India? Interview + transcript with Ingrid Srinath”

What’s going on with civil society and philanthropy in India? Interview + transcript with Ingrid Srinath

October 9, 2019
Ingrid Srinath runs the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University in Delhi. She recently talked me through the current situation in India. She asked me to clarify that these are her personal views, not those of the university. The work of the Centre: as the first academic centre in South Asia to study issues of civil society
Featured image for “‘This Shit is Killing Me’: Dalit rights and Mumbai’s sewers”

‘This Shit is Killing Me’: Dalit rights and Mumbai’s sewers

July 31, 2019
I thought I’d enliven the summer by posting some of the top blog posts from this year’s students in my LSE class on ‘Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism‘. Their individual assignment was to design a campaign strategy for a cause close to their hearts, and write a blog about it. First up, Monica Moses on the plight of the sewer

Vikalp Sangam: a search for alternatives in India…and globally

April 9, 2019
Pallav Das and Ashish Kothari explain the need for alternative visions to the dominant model of economic development in India, and beyond. Pallav and Ashish are two of the founders of Kalpavriksh, a 40-year Indian NGO focusing on environment and development issues. Contemporary India is going through a perplexingly critical time in its economic development, as it seems that every step it takes towards

5 ways to fix South Asia’s Water Crisis, by Vanita Suneja

July 17, 2018
Vanita Suneja of WaterAid reports on what is being done to prevent South Asia running out of underground water Major capital cities in South Asia – Dhaka, Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul and Kathmandu – are showing groundwater stress with the water table receding at an alarming rate.  In Islamabad, the water table fell to 30 feet below the surface in 2016,

A wonderful book by Jean Dreze, India’s Orwell

November 27, 2017
Notes from my talk at last week’s launch of Jean Drèze’s new book, Sense and Solidarity. Has anyone written Jean Drèze’s biography? If not, why not? A fascinating figure, surrounded by myths and legends (did he really sleep rough in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the square next to LSE, when he was a lecturer there?). He’s a wonderful writer who reminds

When hate comes calling: fighting back in India

October 24, 2017
Fake news, populism and ethnic and religious hate crimes are not just a US problem. Indian activist and writer Mari Marcel Thekaekara laments the wave of hate engulfing her country, and celebrates some of those who are fighting back A peace movement? The mere suggestion evokes pitying looks, even from friends. Been there, done that. In the seventies, actually. More

Campaigning to Make India’s Roads Safer: A nice How Change Happens case study

July 7, 2016
A smart How Change Happens case study by David Bornstein in the New York Times’ ‘Fixes’ series (highly recommended). Bornstein looks at the advocacy of the SaveLife Foundation, set up by Piyush Tewari, a businessman, after his cousin Shivam was knocked down by a jeep then left to bleed to death by the roadside. Excerpts + commentary from me in italics.

A crunch point for Indian civil society – what are the options?

April 29, 2016
Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja   In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many