The Other Modernity

THE OTHER MODERNITY – Chhattisgarh, India

“The Other Modernity” is a portrait of Chhattisgarh, a state in central India. This is the story of people living amidst India’s Maoist insurgents, the Naxalites, whose jungle war zone sits astride the country’s wealthiest iron ore and coal deposits. Still following the tactics of Mao-Tse Tung three decades after his death, the Naxalites have vowed to overthrow the government in Delhi and transform the country into a communist state.

It has become common to speak of ‘two Indias’ – of a growing, dynamic and Westernised middle class set against the hundreds of millions still mired in rural poverty.

India’s recent economic growth is often depicted as an engine that will develop the entire country. But in reality, it is serving only to build enclaves of wealth and security, increasingly divorced both physically and mentally from a world in which people living on 43 cents a day are not considered poor, and four children die every minute from malnutrition.

The gap between the rhetoric and reality of 21st century India is increasingly being filled by the intensely secretive Maoist insurgency, which has seen a huge resurgence in the past decade and now has a presence in over a third of the country’s districts.

This project will look at five themes that characterise the challenges of modern India, and which help to explain the increasing legitimacy and effectiveness of the Maoist rebels:Industrial Encroachment, Police Repression, Poverty and Structural Violence, The Tribal Question and Sanctuary & the Limits of the Government.

This is not a story about the struggle of backward people to achieve modernity or development. The experiences of rural India are already acutely modern, since the structural violence they face is a direct result of the policies and practices developed by India’s elite. This ‘Other Modernity’ carries warnings of still-greater violence as India’s resources are stretched to breaking point.

View the entire set of images on the archive


>> Published article by Anthony Loyd, The London Times (Feb 2011)

>> Published article by Mehul Srivastava, Bloomberg Businessweek (July 2010)

>> Published article by Megha Bahree, Forbes (May 2010)

>> April 28th 2011 – Megha Bahree wins the The Morton Frank Award 2010. I shot this story with her in Chhattisgarh.

>> Reference :: Essay by Arundhati Roy

>> Reference :: Article by Nandini Sundar

>> BOOK :: Red Sun : Travels In Naxalite Country : Sudeep Chakravarti



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