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INDIA - Editorial 1/2021

Posted by future on Mar 31, 2021 in Magazine for Future Monitoring | No comments

Dear readers,
how can one ponder the future of a territorial entity called India, whose history and culture are so complex that even a description of the present would fail? India is a land of contradictions: society is stratified into a caste system that has not officially existed since 1949, because India is a democracy. At the same time, the caste system is still being reproduced, thus institutionalizing social inequality culturally. The society is ethnically, religiously and culturally extremely diverse, which means that in metropolises like New Delhi or Mumbai parallel universes of different languages ​​and cultures exist: locally close, culturally and mentally far apart. The question of whether Hinduism is a religion at all has not been clearly answered in terms of the sociology of religion. It should be added that President Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conjure up a Hindu nationalist identity that does not really exist and that leads to the exclusion of minorities - especially people who belong to Islam.
From a socio-economic perspective, too, India is a land of contradictions. On the one hand, India is prospering: after decades of protectionism and bitter poverty from the middle of the 20th century, India's gross domestic product grew by up to seven percent per year from the turn of the millennium. In the course of this development, the middle classes have doubled to 600 million people in just under ten years. As a result of this development, slums are often located near skyscrapers in Indian cities. Bangalore is considered India's Silicon Valley, Mumbai is a financial metropolis. However, despite the prosperity, the socio-economic disparity remains high. The very tough lockdown in spring 2020 exacerbated these rifts and led millions of people into bitter poverty.
India is the second most populous country in the world after China: almost 1.4 billion people currently live there. According to UN scenarios, in 2050 it should be 1.6 billion, in 2100 it will then be "only" 1.45 billion. Where is India headed? We have been able to win excellent authors who outline possible futures for India in their articles. In his contribution, the environmental scientist Saahil Waslekar addresses the threat of water scarcity in India - and he explains strategies for solving this problem by 2050. Sheela Suryanarayanan, who heads the Center for Women’s Studies at the University of Hyderabad, deals with the negative social consequences of commercial surrogacy, which was banned two years ago but which still exists as "altruistic" surrogacy. Sebastien Hug, Aparna Kumaraswamy and Archit Kansal from swissnex in Bangalore report on the “Aadhaar” technology, which has captured over 1.2 billion people in India, which sometimes leads to social distrust of state institutions. In her article, Anu Ramdas deals with the Dalit, i.e. the untouchable caste - and with the question of why this heterogeneous group is perceived by the West as homogeneous. She criticizes the Western view as Eurocentric and insinuates that it is projecting its own categories onto India.
The artist Raphael Perret, who spent a long time in India, reports on a participatory art to which he ascribes the potential to shape a future society. Avinash K Singh and Sarah Ahamed from India
Future Society deal with the influence of science and technology on the aging of the multi-ethnic society in India. The political scientist and futurologist Daniel Stanislaus Martel is in his article «India's Reach for the Stars?» deal with the backgrounds and motives of India's space ambitions. Remo Reginold, political scientist and co-director of the Swiss Institute for Global Affairs (SIGA), deals with the hostility between India and China, which will fundamentally reshape geopolitics in the 21st century.

I wish you an inspiring read.
Francis Muller

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