Of the four founders of thisvillage, I am the only person who didn’t study development or politics when I went to university. In fact, I studied English and History; subjects that aren’t terribly relevant to alleviating poverty in rural India.
Somewhat predictably, one of the ways I learn best is by reading and doing research. That said, I’ve come up with a short list of recommended reading if you’re interested in development, poverty and/or life in India. So, in no particular order…
Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo: A non-fiction account of the lives of people living in Annawadi, a Mumbai slum. Reads like fiction, but is an excellent and respectful portrait of the people in the slum.
Half the Sky – Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn: This is a great primer about women in the developing world. Its broad, accessible, but heartbreaking if you’re new to the issues that women face across the globe.
Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri: I confess that I haven’t read this Pullitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories, but everything I’ve heard about it is excellent.
This article about ‘voluntourism’, and how to know how you can best serve marginalized people. Hint: it might not be building a library when you’re a teenager.
The End of Poverty – Jeffrey D. Sachs: A long but worthwhile read about the value of foreign aid. Sachs is an economist, which means this is a great read if you really want numbers and facts about poverty alleviation.
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger – Ronald J. Sider: Has a bit of a narrower audience, but still provides a really helpful explanation of the justice (or, rather, injustice) of distribution of wealth in the world. A worthwhile read regardless of your faith identifcation.
This article about the federal election that just started in India. The first round of polling was on April 7th, and votes will be counted on May 16th. BBC News India gives a really helpful breakdown of the (complicated) electoral process in India.
Anyone have further recommendations? We’d love to hear your suggestions!
— Christie Esau