Rubric Indian Mandala

Indian Mandala
by Alessandra De Poli

The collapse of a stretch of road through the Himalayas, in which 40 workers are still trapped, encapsulates many facets of the development advocated by Modi. The structure is part of a highway to develop Hindu tourism in the region, but can also quickly deploy army troops in case of a clash with Beijing. The environmental problems, however, which are often ignored, are likely to worsen.

| 17/11/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

In early November, the vice president of the Israeli Builders Association said he was waiting for the government to "import" 50,000 to 100,000 Indians, but nothing concrete has been decided yet. Israel has negotiated similar deals in the past, the latest involving Chinese workers. Its construction industry is the most dangerous sector of the economy. India is boosting its ties with Israel, banning pro-Palestine protests in Kashmir.

| 10/11/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

Yesterday, activist Manoj Jarange Patil ended his latest hunger strike, but announced that he would continue political action until the Maratha community is granted government benefits. The problem reflects crisis in farming and legal limits to reservation quotas.

| 03/11/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

After the syrup scandal, India’s cosmetics industry has come under scrutiny for toxic products. Yet, the sector is still growing, especially via online sales. Although India banned misleading ads and requires prescriptions for certain beauty creams, little has changed. What is more, the demand for skin-lightening products continues to grow despite known long-term side effects.

| 27/10/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

Data and forecasts point to robust growth, although it is hard to predict how the market will fare in the long run. Growth in disposable income among Indians and economic policies implemented under Prime Minister Narendra Modi are the main factors. Foreign investors are also shifting from China to India.

| 20/10/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

India’s prime minister immediately condemned the terrorist actions by Hamas (which few Indian Muslims like), openly signalling a change in diplomatic relations. According to Prof P.R. Kumaraswamy, of Jawaharlal Nehru University, the premises for change were already there decades ago. India had an important Jewish community but has never experienced anti-Semitism. The two countries have signed deals on weapons and hi-tech, but agriculture dominates the relationship.

| 13/10/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

For the government of the northeastern Indian state, Chin refugees are fellow ethnics. As Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga seeks another term in state elections later this year, the refugee issue is politically relevant. An estimated 30,000 Myanmar refugees are present in Mizoram, the largest concentration in India. In Manipur, the attitude is different, following the orders from the central government in Delhi.

| 06/10/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

Despite several agreements, farmers in Karnataka are asking the state government not to release water to Tamil Nadu due to low monsoon rainfall. The latter, however, depends heavily on the river for its agriculture, which has grown in recent years. Today, Karnataka saw protests and strikes as well several flight cancellations at Bengaluru airport. The central government has been urged to intervene.

| 29/09/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

The new law, titled Saluting Women Power Act, reserves a third of lower house seats to women, but it is still not clear whether it will really improve women’s representation in politics. Reservation for women and disadvantaged groups impinged upon each other. Women play a major role in local politics, but are far fewer in higher levels of government because of the amount of time and money needed, and the role played by family connections.

| 22/09/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Nirmala Carvalho

At a rally, a minister in the Modi government threatened to tear out the tongue and gouge out the eyes of those who threaten the Hindu order. He was reacting to the call by an opposition politician to eradicate it like dengue to overcome caste distinctions. Fr Joseph told AsiaNews that hyper-Hinduism is politically bankrupt; India’s true tradition is pluralism. Meanwhile, India’s parliament will start a special session of parliament to hold general and local elections together.

| 15/09/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

Just as the world focuses on the G20 summit New Delhi tomorrow, Maldivians vote in a crucial presidential election. Traditionally pro-India, the country’s diplomatic relations began to shift in 2013 with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the election of President Abdulla Yameen who ruled in an authoritarian fashion. The current president, Ibrahim Solih, is confident of winning in the first round, but experts believe a run-off cannot be ruled out.

| 08/09/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

The news, released yesterday, once again draws attention to the Sino-Indian rivalry to lead the global South. Despite words of détente at last week's BRICS meeting, ongoing border tensions in the eastern state of Ladakh remain high. Xi’s absence marks a failure of Indian diplomacy to bring together major world leaders around the same table.

 

| 01/09/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

Just as the country was celebrating the success of the Chandraayan-3 mission, 23 workers from West Bengal lost their lives in the collapse of a viaduct of a line under construction in the state of Mizoram. In Indian construction sites an average of 38 fatal accidents per day. Victims mostly internal migrants.

| 25/08/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Nirmala Carvalho

Ultimatum of the papal delegate Msgr. Vasil for next Sunday in the standoff that for two years has pitted the clergy of the archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly against the rest of this ancient Eastern rite Church of Kerala. But in the meantime a group of faithful has asked the Indian authorities for his expulsion,  dangerously shouting against "foreign interference".

| 18/08/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

India’s Rural Development Ministry announced that more than 11 million bank accounts held by  disadvantaged people have yet to be linked to the world's largest identification system. A Supreme Court ruling made it clear that private businesses cannot demand the unique code to offer their goods and services.  Some observers worry about privacy issues and India’s ties to Myanmar’s military junta, concerned that a similar system might be set up in that country.

| 11/08/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

The violence in the northeastern state of India is rooted in intertwined factors: ethnicity, access to weapons, refugees from Myanmar, the drug trade, the role of women. Journalist Samrat Choudhury, author of a recent book on Northeast India, spoke to AsiaNews about it, noting that contrary to what was said initially, this is not a religious conflict, and that it is hard to see a peaceful resolution in the future.

| 04/08/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

In March, India’s BJP-led government floated a tender to get MyGov, a government platform for citizen political engagement, to work with influencer marketing companies. Yet, content promoters are sometimes not disclosed, with conflict of interest. Other political parties are also using Internet celebrities to reach out to voters, especially first timers.

| 28/07/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

The number of disadvantaged people in India could range from 34 million or 373 million, depending on the study. Despite some improvement, a true picture of poverty in the country is still impossible in the absence of a countrywide census, which was officially postponed due to the pandemic. Experts stress that the purpose of assistance programmes should be the redistribution of accumulated wealth.

| 21/07/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

The Indian government recently amended its mining legislation to allow private firms to develop  lithium reserves in the Muslim-majority territory to reduce imports from China. The discovery has sparked enthusiasm for electric vehicle production ambitions, but, development several hurdles like potential environmental damage. Meanwhile, India’s Supreme Court next month will start vet petitions challenging the abolition of Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomy.

| 14/07/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

With rainfall less than normal, kharif crops are the most affected as they are cultivated during the monsoon season. Among farmers, many of those who had poor harvests last year are still waiting for government aid. Unlike the past, changes in the National Manual for Drought Management have made it harder to declare a state of drought.

| 07/07/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

The Indian government has banned imports for low-cost ones (mostly Chinese) lighters to save  a key sector in arid Tamil Nadu. Local companies employ more than 100,000 people, 90 per cent women. Phillumenists are also happy because of decorated boxes are part of Indian popular culture.

 

| 30/06/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

A series of deals and investments in semiconductor testing and assembly in India were agreed during PM Modi's visit, but production will still have to wait. Some defence agreements have also been signed, not only to counter Beijing, but also to free Delhi from dependence on Moscow. Despite criticism for the deterioration of human rights at home, the visit was a great success for the Indian prime minister in view of next year's elections.

| 23/06/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

India’s prime minister will be in New York and Washington from 21 to 24 June, a visit described as “historic” by US officials. In fact, Delhi has nurtured this relationship for some time, favoured by the presence of a large Indian diaspora in the US. Its aim goes beyond containing China. Farwa Aamer, director of South Asia Initiatives at the Asia Society Policy Institute, talked to AsiaNews about it.

| 16/06/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

Modi’s new, post-colonial parliament building is proving controversial among India’s neighbours for a mural showing a map of the Ashoka Empire, whose boundaries also include Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. Indian officials dismiss complaints saying that the map is about past history, not contemporary politics. In Nepal the controversy has raised fears about Hindu nationalist expansionism.

| 09/06/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

A Portuguese MEP's denunciation of events that allegedly took place in recent weeks in Bastar district. The area has a strong presence of Naxalites, the Maoist guerrillas opposed to the Delhi government. Since 2017, the army has launched Operation Samadahn-Prahar to root out the insurgency that curbs mining activities. But over the past three years, several youths left without jobs have joined the militiamen in an endless cycle of violence.

| 02/06/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

Like with Ukraine, India is taking the middle road in the Pacific region, between the US and China. For Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, India is a “leader of the Global South". On the plus side, India can provide affordable technology and rely on local Indian communities, but militarily, the West remains dominant.

| 26/05/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

Bollywood’s role in sectarian propaganda remains a major issue. Ultranationalist Hindus continue to peddle the “Love Jihad” conspiracy against the Muslim minority. The Supreme Court has waded into the latest controversy, ordering filmmakers to add a disclaimer that their story is “fictionalised”. Meanwhile, at least 100 people are arrested in Maharashtra following unrest earlier this month.

| 19/05/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

Drug addiction rates in the northern state are alarming, with more than 15 per cent of the population victim of some form of substance abuse. After alcohol and tobacco, heroin is the drug of choice due to geographic proximity to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Underemployment and subhuman working conditions push many into addiction. Few people trust the police, seen as in cahoots with traffickers.

| 12/05/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA

India's bronze medallist in boxing at the 2012 London Olympics calls on the Indian government to solve the situation. For the past two days, violence has pitted majority Hindu Meitei against Christian Kuki tribal groups. Some 13 deaths have been reported so far, with some 9,000 displaced, but the number could be higher. Mobile Internet services have been suspended.

| 05/05/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
by Alessandra De Poli

India’s Operation Kaveri seeks to bring home thousands of Indians stranded in Khartoum after Sudan’s descent into chaos. Many belong to a tribe that occupies a market niche, selling herbal remedies abroad. In recent years, Indian investments have also grown in the continent, linked to India by historic trade routes and a shared colonial past.

| 28/04/2023
| INDIAN MANDALA
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