Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Inequality with Indifference: The Story of New India | Harsh Mander, Social Worker and Writer

February 16, 2014

The Brown-India Initiative is very excited to bring Harsh Mander to campus to discuss the manner in which inequality and extreme poverty can coexist with privilege. Through storytelling, his lecture brings up two striking markers of our times: the first is our extraordinary indifference to pervasive and avoidable human suffering, witnessed daily in India; and the second is the increasing legitimization of prejudice and discrimination against people of ‘different’ faiths and cultures. Why do we see a striking cultural comfort with the inevitability, the tolerability, of inequality? What of empathy, and of centuries-old traditions of pluralism and of diversity? Harsh Mander seeks to explain in a very human manner these alarming trends, and the equally human responses that can combat them.

A social worker and writer-activist, Harsh Mander works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. He serves as Special Commissioner to the Supreme Court of India in the Right to Food case, and directs the Centre for Equity Studies in New Delhi. He has founded numerous campaigns advocating for the rights of marginalized populations, and convened over a dozen working-groups to advance human rights as a member of India’s National Advisory Council between June 2010-12. Mander writes regularly for the Hindu, Hindustan Times and Dainik Bhaskar, as well as scholarly journals, and has written several books including Ash in the Belly: India’s Unfinished Battle against Hunger and The Ripped Chest: Public Policy and the Poor in India. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award for peace work. Mander teaches at the Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad, as well as St. Stephen’s College in Delhi.


Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:00p.m.
Kim Koo Library | Watson Institute

 Lunch will be served