A couple of my favorite recent reads concerning South Asia…
Women in South Asian Politics: I’ve written before on women in Indian politics and how I admire them. This Economist article shows that simply having women politicians isn’t enough-for the majority of women in South Asia, equality-or even equity-is nowhere close to being a reality. Moreover, many women in power often scale back women’s rights in the hopes of building conservation coalitions and winning votes for themselves.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Stories: I came across one of Jhabvala’s stories in the New Yorker a few weeks ago and then happened to find a copy of her most famous short stories Out Of India while book browsing in Mumbai. As a foreigner living in India, her stories are thoughtful and incredibly poignant. She won two Oscars and a MacArthur Genius Grant-if you read her stories, you’ll understand why. After her death in 2013, the New Yorker made 6 of her stories available to the public-I can’t recommend them enough.
Austerity at Indian Weddings: There has been a bill introduced in the Lok Sabha that weddings with over a 5 lakh budget will have to donate a portion of the costs to a welfare fund. I personally am fond of the idea-and was intrigued to find this article about how the government has played a role in minimizing wedding expenditures in the past.
B.R. Ambedkar is one of India’s most influential founders. A self-made man from the Untouchable Mahar community- he went on to study at LSE and Columbia and spent his career advocating for Dalits and the marginalized. Best known as the author of the Indian Constitution and as the Labor Secretary for the new nation, Ambedkar’s legacy can be seen in India’s unique reservation system as well as in the millions of households that converted to Buddhism after Ambedkar publicly renounced Hinduism. I myself am a huge fan of the man who inspired millions and would encourage reading this quick profile to learn more about Baba Saheb.