Professor Zaheer Baber has recently published a photo essay in The Citizen of India showcasing workers on the streets of India. The Citizen is an independent online daily in India with a combination of news and opinion pieces. Professor Baber’s essay connects the conditions of the workers on the streets in India with neo-Liberal policies. We have pasted an excerpt of the text below and the full story is available at the Citizen. Professor Baber is a Professor of Sociology who teaches at the Mississauga Campus.
Making a Living in Neo-Liberal India: A Photo Essay
“If I could tell the stories in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera”
While the promised “tryst with destiny” indeed transformed the lives of many Indians, a large majority of men, women and children continue to strive and struggle against all odds.
Late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of course had no illusions about the challenges that lay after the formal end of colonialism. As he put it, the “future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving…the service of India means the service of the millions who suffer…it means the ending of poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity.”
Post-independence India, like most other nations that threw off the yoke of exploitative colonialism, has had more than its share of struggles, conflicts, the recurring blood-letting as well as the “incessant striving” for the betterment of the human condition in all its dimensions.
While few literally expect an ultimate and final eradication of poverty, disease and inequality of opportunity, such ideals are of course essential fuels for the “incessant striving” that Nehru spoke of. However, given the lack of land-reforms as well as the relative absence of any policies aimed at the redistribution of resources – material and symbolic – it is hardly surprising that pervasive social inequality not only persists but has worsened considerably over the years…