Dossier: India’s election year – Moving forward or standing still?

India, often called the “world’s largest democracy” with 800 million eligible voters, finds itself in a difficult transformation process. On the one hand, as an ambitious newly industrialized country, it stakes a claim to power in the global political field; on the other hand, a large part of the Indian population continues to suffer from exclusion and massive poverty.

But what actually defines Indian society, and which actors determine its policies? What changed after the election of the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and which political developments can be seen under his directive?

This Web dossier and the lecture series “Understanding India” (PDF) that started in April this year, strive to make this country in its diversity more tangible and especially after the parliamentary elections in May 2014 make room for a variety of socio-political and economic policy analyses and debate, and aims to define India’s foreign policy role. This dossier ended in February 2015.


India in the world


The Invisible Hands- India - Pramod Dev

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The Invisible Hand
What is the impact on the country's economy and society when its women double up as unpaid and underpaid labourers? Are these women subsidising the economy? If yes, how much is it? This short documentary raises such questions and provide apparent answers so that you will raise even more questions. Presenting "The Invisible Hands… that build India"- a curtain raiser on Gender and Macroeconomics.

Jyoti - fair works (Deutsch) - Black Forest Collective

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Jyoti - fair works
The initiative “Jyoti - fair works” – a small sewing- and women empowerment project in Southern India.

Lok Sabha: Election 2014

Publications and Studies

New Citizen’s Activism in India

New forms of protest movements have made their entry into the political arena in recent years in India. This study revisits the recent history of new protest movements in India. It analyses their causes and actors, their dynamics and forms of action, and their supporters and critics.

Perspectives Asia: More or Less?

This second issue of "Perspectives Asia" provides a forum for the voices of authors from various Asian countries to express their thoughts on possible development models for the region. How can we achieve prosperity for all, without doing long-term damage to nature or threatening the subsistence of entire populations?

Perspectives Asia: Copper, Coal and Conflict

In this issue, our authors report on conflicts stemming from coal and copper mining in Afghanistan, India, and Myanmar. The articles on Cambodia and on Inner Mongolia in China illustrate how the traditional economic models and ways of life of indigenous populations suffer from the unrestrained exploitation of raw materials.

More Articles on India

BLOG: India's Young Generation

Open Blog

Avani Tewari is a 19 year old law student from New Delhi. In this web dossier she was giving her reflection on the main debates in the media after the elections and her personal impression of the political discussion in 2014.

Lecture Series: Understanding India

Radical Ecological Democracy: Towards Human Well-being with Sustainability and Equity
with Ashish Kothari (Author, Greenpeace, India) on May 18th 2015.

Nuclear India: Deeper into the Military and Civilian Abyss?
with Praful Bidwai (social scientist and activist) on November 3rd, 2014

India and its Democracy
with Rajeev Bhargava (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, India) recorded on May 13th, 2014

Video: Urvashi Butalia on Women's Rights in India

Urvashi Butalia on Women's Rights in India - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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India as a Global Player: Chances and Constraints
with Sumit Ganguly, (Professor and Author, USA) on February 9th 2015.

Women in India - The Role and Status of a Marginalized Sex
with Urvashi Butalia (journalist and editor, India) on October 6th, 2014

Election in India – Dynamics of political change in India
with Vidya Subrahmaniam (The Hindu, India) recorded on April 1st, 2014


Southasian Perspecitves on the West
with Pankaj Mishra (Historian) and Nadeem Aslam (Writer) on September 12th, 2014

Caste: The New and the Old in 21st Century India
with Janaki Abraham, sociologist and Associate Professor at Delhi University on December 1st 2014

Consumerism, Censorship and Media Globalization in India
with Nadja-Christina Schneider (Humboldt-University Berlin) recorded on June 3rd, 2014