People have been writing about the challenges of India’s cultural and intellectual landscape for decades.
But for those who have followed it closely, the challenges seem particularly acute in the country’s most-populous city.
In her latest book, Culture, The Rise of the New Global Consumer: How the Internet and the New Age Are Changing Our Lives and Institutions, author Prashant Bhargava says the problem stems from the fact that a large chunk of the population is still under-educated.
“People in urban areas are the least likely to be literate and most likely to live in the most deprived communities.
So, when you look at the demographic picture, you have a very big problem,” Bhargav says.
Bhargava’s book is not only about how to be an Indian citizen in a country that has been labelled as the “cultural capital of the world” by the Economist, but also the “greatest concentration of educated people” in the world.
As well as focusing on India’s urban centres, his book also takes a look at how the new “internet of things” is changing the way Indians do business, as well as how to navigate India’s growing social and cultural divide.
“What is happening is that people who have been educated for decades and are very well educated are not being able to get through to the average citizen,” Bhagav says, adding that the problem is also affecting the education system.
“We are seeing a huge divide in the education sector.
The problem is that when the system is broken, when the barriers are not set up to help people, the problem goes away.
And the problem comes back.”
The most recent wave of anger over the cultural dominance of a certain group of people has led to protests across the country, where groups have called for the banning of the word “Indian” from the country.
The protests have been joined by a growing number of people calling for the removal of the Indian flag from buildings, schools, theatres, and public spaces, as part of a movement that calls for a “new Indian India” with a more inclusive vision.
In a recent report titled The Future of India, the Centre for Research on Globalisation, an independent think tank in Delhi, analysed how the recent wave has affected the way people across the world perceive and talk about India.
The report found that the rise of nationalism has made it easier for the Indian government to create barriers to its citizens from other countries.
The report also found that, while there are people who still feel “in the Indian spirit”, these feelings have been reduced in a way that has led some to question their loyalty to India and its people.
“There is a sense that we are not valued.
We are seen as the second-class citizens of the country,” says Gaurav Kishore, a political science professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.”
I think a lot of people feel like they have been treated as second- class citizens of India.
That makes it harder for them to be part of the society,” he adds.
The number of protests in India has been on the rise since the start of the year.
According to data from the Centre For Research on Social Cohesion, protests have increased by 5.4 per cent in the past month, compared to a year earlier.
While some argue that the protests have led to the demise of the protests in many parts of the nation, other activists claim that the numbers have risen due to a lack of education and support from the government.
The latest protests have also brought to the fore a series of social movements that have sprung up in the wake of the killings of the young journalist Kannan Kalyan in May, in which he was shot and killed in his house.
Kalyaan had written about India’s caste system and its relationship with the Hindu religious elite, and was killed by the police.
Kalyan’s killing led to a wave of protests across India, with several of the cities protesting against the killing of the journalist, and the deaths of two of his friends in the last week.
The protesters have also taken to the streets to demand the removal from power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is often accused of failing to protect minorities.
Bhagav is optimistic that protests will eventually be contained, and says he is optimistic about the potential for the country to become a more liberal place.
But he also believes that the growing divide between the rich and the poor is a bigger issue than the recent protests.
“The question is how will we manage to get out of this trap?” he says.