Tuesday, February 27, 2007

India Rising Redux

A recent BBC series titled "India Rising" takes what I think is one of the more balanced approaches to the question of whether India's growth is benefiting the rural poor.

The series was part of a larger week-long BBC focus on India that ran 3-11 February.

I've blogged about the "India Rising/India Shining" rhetoric before, so I won't add my views here. Instead, here's a synopsis of each episode in case you can't listen to all five:

Episode 1 "New Wealth": The economic optimists, whose only complaints are government corruption and inadequate infrastructure, dominate this episode.

Episode 2 "Inside India's Heart of Darkness": The life of rural villagers in Bihar

Episode 3 "TV Nation": My personal favorite, this episode asks tough questions about changing Indian culture and the adoption of consumerism without taking sides.

Episode 4 "Can it All Hang Together?": Mostly set it Chattisgarh, this episode asks whether India's social fabric will be torn apart by people, such as Naxalites, who perceive that the headlong rush towards development is leaving some people worse off than they were.

Also, for any readers in India, you might be interested in a BBC photo contest. You must be in South Asia and your photo must be taken with a mobile phone. Sounds interesting...