ENGAGING WITH UNEQUAL INDIA
Course Objectives: The course aims to educate under-graduate students to the lived realities of the ‘other’ India: including poverty, hunger, homelessness, untouchability, patriarchy and communalism. It will talk about privilege and the denial of opportunities. It will reflect on the humanist and socialist ideals of the Constitution, and finally responsible democratic citizenship.
Methodologies: The course will deploy a range of diverse methodologies, including lectures, classroom discussions, panels, case studies, films and discussions, theatre, field visits and community service tasks.
Module 1: Understanding Poverty
This module begins with a reflection on ‘Growing Up in Unequal India’. It covers the themes of hunger, homelessness, rural and urban poverty. It includes several case studies, Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali; documentary films Patri Par Bachpan (a film on street children prepared by street children); and Rupashri Nanda’s Harvest of Hunger on hunger and distress migration in Orissa, and a play Mallika Sarabhai’s Unsuni. In this section of the course the students would also be part of a night walk to meet Delhi’s homeless.
Module 2: Social Discrimination
This module focuses on major aspects of social discrimination in India, especially untouchability and caste discrimination; patriarchy and gender discrimination; and communalism and discrimination against minorities. This will again rely on case studies, a module on stereotypes against minorities by Ram Punyani, film clips, the documentary film K. Stalin’s India Untouched, and the play Habib Tanvir’s Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhiya, Woh Jamia Nahin. The students will be given the exercise to each research and write a case study of an impoverished and socially excluded woman, man or child.
Module 3: Democracy and Responsible Citizenship
In this final module, the focus will shifts to what the students can do themselves as they engage with unequal India. It includes a panel discussion on democracy and the Indian Constitution. The students are also encouraged to watch film’s like: Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. Walter Salles’s Motorcycle Diaries, and Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard. At the end of this module the students will listen to presentations of their fellow classmates.
In the last few years many guest speakers like, Mr. Gautam Bhan, Mr. Dr. Dipa Sinha, Mr. Sajjad Hassan, Mr. Ram Punyani, Ms. Kamla Bhasin, Ms. Sejal Dand, Dr. Anita Ghai, Dr. Biraj Patnaik, Ms. Farha Naqvi, Ms. Rohini Nilkani, Dr. Santa Sinha have addressed the students and reflected on various themes.