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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."


Via Seth Dixon
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Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 8, 2015 9:18 PM

I agree that until there are more jobs created for the people of India, the slower the caste will fade out.  Over time it will fade out eventually, but the creation of jobs and more social interaction will help the process move along faster.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 15, 2015 2:51 PM

It was interesting to read about Modi's run for prime minister- I recently read a TIME magazine article about him, his original platform, and his subsequent work in office- and to see so much of Obama's run for office in Modi's struggle. Modi's support among his own caste, traditionally one that has been discriminated against in Indian society, is not at all different from Obama's support among the African American community. It goes to show that, for all our differences, people are a lot more alike then we'd care to think. Beyond that, it was interesting to see how much power the old caste system continues to hold in Indian society, much like the issues with race that Americans continue to struggle with within our own society. Appeals to different castes have been employed successfully by politicians and other forms of media; I once read that the most popular Indian films are often love stories revolving around "forbidden love" between two members of different, opposite castes. In a society that is so rich and complex, with hundreds of different languages and beliefs, it is so easy for lines to be drawn and for differences to be focused upon in a negative light. Happily for India, it has come a long way to address these problems and to move forward. While not perfect, India's future looks bright.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:34 PM

i dont understand how a country like india that is mostly modern and on the world scale can still have such an ancient system of labeling people be such a prominent practice in their society, i hope modi gets elected so he can start to eliminate this

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Burka Avenger

"Burka Avenger is a new Pakistani kids' show about a mild-mannered teacher who moonlights as a burka-clad superhero."


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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 19, 2014 12:45 PM

There is something to be said about how film and the media can be used as an effective tool to touch on broad cultural ideals. On a related note, I will be attending a conference soon in Boston on social studies education and one of the seminars I will be going to is how to use SciFi movies in the classroom. Ideals like equality, fighting oppression and free speech are timeless and span many cultures, in Pakistan, the Burka Avenger is that area's media outlet to discuss key social topics to young people.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, April 6, 2015 4:25 PM

A modern day Batman/Superman, Burka Avenger, with great graphics and an in-depth plot. The television shows the Pakistanis children watch are the same type of shows that I watched growing up, and the shows that the modern day children of today’s youth are watching. The cross-cultural relationship seems so different, but at the roots it is the same. The kids in this show have friends, pets, enemies, a hero, a conflict; everything that an American television show would feature.  Whether the kids are facing a bully, a school closure from a villain, or a life peril from another villain, there undercover school teacher is there ready and willing to save the day. Everybody needs a hero to look up to, so this show is great for the Pakistani youth. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:06 AM

I think this is wonderful.  It also reemphasizes the reality that all children are born without preconceived notions of what is right, what is wrong, what is good, or what is evil.  An American child might look at this and automatically think that the lady in the Burka is a "villain", due to American media and propaganda.  I can't help but think of the backlash that would surround this cartoon if they ever tried to put it on American airwaves.  

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The Ship-Breakers

The Ship-Breakers | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
In Bangladesh men desperate for work perform one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.

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Sarah Cannon's curator insight, December 14, 2015 9:58 AM

Besides that scrap metal pollutes water and rivers, this is a health risk for humans too. I also know someone who worked at Electric Boat at the Air Base in North Kingstown who's health was also affected due to metal scraps and particles in the air. Years later after working at EB he developed lung cancer. Metal erodes away as well, especially when left sitting in salt water. 

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:54 AM

this is both amazing and horrifying in what these people do on a daily basis. i cannot imagine doing what these guys do everyday, and i never imagined how taking apart one of these ships would work.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:16 AM

What happens to massive cargo vessels after they are outdated?  There are tons of scrap metal, but they aren't

designed to be taken apart.  The ship-breakers of South Asia (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are 3 of the 4 global leaders in recycling ships) risk much to mine this resource.  This is an economic function that is a part of a globalized economy, but one than was never intended.  There are major health risks to the workers and pollutants to the local community that are endemic in this industry that manages to survive on the scraps of the global economy.


Tags: Bangladesh,  South Asia, poverty, development, economic, globalization, industry, labor.

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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, 2014 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, 2014 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, 2014 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.