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Why caste still matters in India

Why caste still matters in India | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it

INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief  minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."


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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 19, 12:21 PM

This article highlights a few key points about the political and cultural geography of India. Culturally, the caste system still has ripple effects throughout the country. Especially in rural areas where caste system norms still are very much observed. For example in on rural section of the North, people are murdered for marrying outside of the caste. Politically, the caste system is now being used as a tool by politicians to solicit votes. By promising what is essentially affirmative action measures for lower caste populations politicians are able to cater to large amounts of voters playing of the fact that caste still means a lot in India's political and cultural geography. 

Melissa Marie Falco-Dargitz's curator insight, November 23, 12:11 PM

Caste will take more than a few generations to lose its social privilege/oppression. The verbal history passed from parent to child enforces the idea of caste, even when it has been done away with by law. This social hierarchy effects business, marriage, and politics.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 3:00 AM

While in some ways India has been quick to adapt to the 21st century such as in the technical industry and even in the loosening of ridged marriage practices this caste system has remained. This system of societal stratification has persisted and as this article explains plays a large role in the politics of India today. The castes also play a role in employment and marriage in determining who can do what work and who it is socially acceptable to marry.

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Tea-plucking machines threaten Assam livelihoods

Tea-plucking machines threaten Assam livelihoods | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
Tea plucking machines are threatening the livelihoods of tea pickers in the Indian state of Assam, reports Mark Tully.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 11, 4:42 AM

This article details how globalization is damaging the high-end tea industry of India. The Assam company, which produces high quality tea, is under pressure to mechanize their 100% human tea production due to competition. Vietnam, Kenya, and even other Indian companies produce significantly cheaper tea due to their willingness and ability to cut costs by using machines and paying their workers less. A cultural stigma toward tea workers is making hiring difficult for Assam, compounding the problems with competitors and forcing a switch to mechanization which will produce an inferior product.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 2:51 PM

This seems to work well for both the tea growers and the workers. The workers are compensated well and they have a job for life and the tea that is picked is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, most places on the planet go with the cheapest price, not the best quality, so I do not know how much longer this arrangement will be feasible.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 8:51 PM

In my town, we got rid of the old trash receptacle bins and in place we have one huge trash bin and one huge recycling bin. This has cut down the jobs immensely because now a machine just picks up the large bins. This is the same thing thats happening in India. There is now a machine that can do the humans jobs and will most likely take over for the tea picking people. Its unfortunate, but its how the world works.

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'I was 14 when I was sold'

'I was 14 when I was sold' | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
Laxmi's story of being kidnapped and trafficked in Nepal is not an isolated case but, as this graphical account shows, things are not always what they seem.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 23, 2013 4:38 PM

Teaching about human trafficking and child slavery can be very disconcerting and uncomfortable.  How much of the details regarding these horrific situations is age-appropriate and suitable for the classroom?  The BBC is reporting on events with sensitive stories to both give a human face to the story, while protecting the identity of under-aged victims (to read about the production of this comic, read Drawing the News.)  I encourage you to use your own discretion, but I find this comicbook format an accessible, informative and tasteful way to teach about human trafficking in South Asia to minors.  It is a powerful way to teach about some hard (but important) aspects of globalization and economics. 


As geographer Shaunna Barnhart says concerning this comic, "It moves from trafficking to child labor to pressures for migration for wage labor and the resulting injustices that occur. There's differential access to education, gender inequality, land, jobs, and monetary resources that leads to inter- and intra-country trafficking of the vulnerable. In the search for improved quality of life, individuals become part of a global flow of indentured servitude which serves to exploit their vulnerabilities and exacerbate inequalities and injustice. Nepali children 'paid' in food and cell phones that play Hindi music in 'exchange' for work in textile factories - cell phones that are themselves a nexus of global resource chains and textiles which in turn enter a global market - colliding at the site of child labor which remains largely hidden and ignored by those in the Global North who may benefit from such labor."


Tags: Nepal, labor, industry, economic, poverty, globalization, India.


Ssekyewa Charles's curator insight, April 24, 2013 9:03 AM

Where is Human Rights Watch? Human trafficing is a crime to humanity!!

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 11:14 PM

It is sad to see the many different ways the poverty stricken and uneducated regions of the world are exploited, especially the children. Nepal is so poor that most of the recruiters for the predatory foreign networks are often locals who either take their relatives or abductees sent back to find a replacement. The animation helps add clarity and approachability to a bleak and difficult topic.