Publication : Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India

 Nair Sreelekha, Moving with the Times. Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India. New Delhi : Routledge, 2012

« This book is an attempt to penetrate the silence that surrounds the lives of nurses as migrant women. It offers a perceptive understanding of the trials faced specifically by women from the state of Kerala, in their personal and professional spheres, in the challenges posed to single women migrants as such, and the lower status ascribed to the job. In highlighting aspects of their lived experiences, it reveals how the identities of gender, class and ethnicity unmask the realities behind claims of egalitarianism and equal citizenship. Nurses from Kerala form one of the largest groups of migrant women workers in the international service sector along with Filipinos and Sri Lankans. Comparatively better salaries, work opportunities and financial independence, along with a desire to travel across the world, are often the reasons behind these migrations. For many of these women, the professional choice of nursing is usually the first step towards migration, while finding employment in Delhi, the urban capital of India, is intended as a transition point before they migrate abroad, a trajectory which may remain unrealised. In focusing on nurses who choose to work in Delhi, the author recounts how the patriarchy of the original place is recreated and relived in destination cities. In as much as traditional stigmatisation of nursing (as a ‘dirty’ profession), deeply entrenched gender prejudices, and status and role anxieties act as deterrents, these women remain undaunted in the face of adversities and treat their exposure to, and experience of, technology and nursing care in the bigger hospitals in Delhi as part of the training that is required to apply abroad. Through extensive empirical research, case studies and personal interviews, Moving with the Times illustrates nurses’ lives in Delhi, providing an account of the dynamics — between traditional patriarchy, norms and associated identities, low professional status and marginality coupled at once with the sense of personal freedom, a new career and space — that migration compels these women to negotiate. This book will appeal to scholars of sociology, gender and women’s studies, nursing and healthcare, and those interested in migration and identities. »

Contents :

« Introduction 

1. Beyond Well-being: Development of Nursing as a Modern Profession in Kerala

2.Status of Nursing: The Sword of Damocles?

3. Choice of Nursing: A Life Strategy

4. Migration: Delhi as a Transit Residence

5. Reconstructing Identities: Diasporic Politics and Gender in Delhi 

Conclusion « 

Books : Environmental History in South Asia

Guha Ramachandra, The  unquiet woods (Twentieth Anniversary Edition): Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya, New Delhi : Orient Blackswan, 2010

« Popular initiatives to halt deforestation in the Himalaya, such as the Chipko movement, are globally renowned. It is less well known that these movements have a history stretching back more than a hundred years. A proper understanding of this long duration within the forests of submontane North India required the marriage of two scholarly traditions: the sociology of peasant protest and the ecologically oriented study of history.
Twenty years ago there appeared on this subject an unknown author’s first book: The Unquiet Woods (1989) by Ramachandra Guha. Fairly quickly, the book came to be recognized as not just another study of dissenting peasants but as something of a classic which had willy nilly opened up a whole new field— environmental history in South Asia. While the monograph has as a consequence been continuously in print within India and in the West since then, its author has become a biographer and historian of international stature. In celebration of its twentieth year in print, The Unquiet Woods is now reissued with additional material: a new reflective preface by the author on the genesis and limitations of the book which set him off on the path of writerly success, as well as three freshly commissioned critical essays by major academic specialists. Taken together, this additional material situates the monograph and its influence within environmental history in India, Europe and Latin America, and the USA. This is a book for anyone interested in the history of India’s environment, forests and their dwellers, the varieties of colonial rule, and the specificities of rural rebellion. And it is a book for anyone interested in the writings of Ramachandra Guha. »

 

Laine Nicolas & Subha T.B. (eds), Nature, Environment and Society: Conservation, Governance and Transformation in India, New Delhi : Orient Blackswan, 2012

« The future of humanity lies uncertain as nature falls prey to the loot and plunder initiated in the name of development, growth and progress today. As the vast riches of the earth continue to be endangered, a global consciousness regarding the importance of natural resources, biodiversity, etc. is on the rise. Given such a scenario, what is required is further understanding of man’s interaction with the environment. This contributory volume examines the interrelationship between nature and society in South Asia. It focuses on four points: perception of natural resources during colonial rule, conservation of nature, role of governments in administering environment, and transformation of nature as a result of development or industrial projects. The book divided into three broad themes, analyses the major decisions taken in India with regard to environment after Independence and their consequences; the relationship between communities which consider natural environment as an essential part of their identity, and as a key factor for social, political and economical issues; and the urban explosion and/or the construction of infrastructure such as dams or roads that have impacted the relationship between different social groups and their territory. It also examines the set-up (policy and stakes), process and consequences (often the displacement of populations) of such projects in three different states of India. Offering a wide variety of case studies representing a large panel of approaches and methodologies from Sociology, Economics, History, Anthropology, and Development Studies, this volume will be an useful read for students and scholars of environmental studies, and NGOs working towards conserving nature. »

 

See Also :

Gadgil Madhav & Guha Ramachandra, This Fissured Land : An Ecological History of India, New Delhi : Oxford Unersity Press, 1992

Grove Richard, Damodaran Vinita & Sangwan Satpal, Nature and the Orient : The Environmental History of South and Southeast Asia, New Delhi : Oxford University Press, 2000

 

Books : Nuclear Power in India

Mathai Manu, Nuclear Power, Economic Development Discourse and the Environment. The Case of India, London ; New York : Routledge, 2013

« Nuclear power is often characterized as a « green technology. » Technologies are rarely, if ever, socially isolated artefacts. Instead, they materially represent an embodiment of values and priorities. Nuclear power is no different. It is a product of a particular political economy and the question is whether that political economy can helpfully engage with the challenge of addressing the environmental crisis on a finite, inequitable and shared planet. For developing countries like India, who are presently making infrastructure investments which will have long legacies, it is imperative that these investments wrestle with such questions and prove themselves capable of sufficiency, greater equality and inclusiveness. This book offers a critique of civilian nuclear power as a green energy strategy for India and develops and proposes an alternative « synergy for sustainability. » It situates nuclear power as a socio-technical infrastructure embodying a particular development discourse and practice of energy and economic development. The book reveals the political economy of this arrangement and examines the latter’s ability to respond to the environmental crisis. Manu V. Mathai argues that the existing overwhelmingly growth-focused, highly technology-centric approach for organizing economic activity is unsustainable and needs to be reformed. Within this imperative for change, nuclear power in India is found to be and is characterized as an « authoritarian technology. » Based on this political economy critique the book proposes an alternative, a synergy of ideas from the fields of development economics, energy planning and science, technology and society studies. »

 

Ramana M.V., The Power of Promise. Examinig Nuclear Energy in India, New Delhi: Penguin India, 2013

« Nuclear power has been held out as possibly the most important source of energy for India. And the dream of a nuclear powered India has been supported by huge financial budgets and high level political commitment for over six decades. Nuclear power has also been held out as safe, environmentally benign and cheap. Physicist and writer, M.V. Ramana shows that nuclear power has been more expensive than conventional forms of electricity generation, that the ever-present risk of catastrophic accidents is heightened by observed organizational inadequacies at nuclear facilities, and that existing nuclear fuel cycle facilities have been correlated with impacts on public health and the environment. He offers detailed information and analysis. »

 

Anderson Robert S., Nucleus and Nation. Scientists, International Network and Power in India, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2010

« In 1974 India joined the elite roster of nuclear world powers when it exploded its first nuclear bomb. But the technological progress that facilitated that feat was set in motion many decades before, as India sought both independence from the British and respect from the larger world. Over the course of the twentieth century, India metamorphosed from a marginal place to a serious hub of technological and scientific innovation. It is this tale of transformation that Robert S. Anderson recounts in Nucleus and Nation. Tracing the long institutional and individual preparations for India’s first nuclear test and its consequences, Anderson begins with the careers of India’s renowned scientists—Meghnad Saha, Shanti Bhatnagar, Homi Bhabha, and their patron Jawaharlal Nehru—in the first half of the twentieth century before focusing on the evolution of the large and complex scientific community—especially Vikram Sarabhi—in the later part of the era. By contextualizing Indian debates over nuclear power within the larger conversation about modernization and industrialization, Anderson hones in on the thorny issue of the integration of science into the framework and self-reliant ideals of Indian nationalism. In this way, Nucleus and Nation is more than a history of nuclear science and engineering and the Indian Atomic Energy Commission; it is a unique perspective on the history of Indian nationhood and the politics of its scientific community. »

 

See Also :

Singh Swaran, « India’s Nuclear Problem », The Hindu, 09 April 2013. Available online.

Singh Swaran, « India’s Nuclear Policy : Emerging New Trends », Debats Asie, CAPE Paris, 28 March 2011. Available online.

Sovacool Benjamin,  Valentine Scott Victor, The national Politics of  Nuclear Power. Economics, Security and Governance. London ; New York : Routledge, 2012

Talk : From Local Technologies to New Forms of Global Governance

Balaji Parthasarathy, Reversing the flows of ideas? From local technologies for the marginalised to new forms of global governance. Tiffin Talk, Australia India Institute, 28 March 2013.

« For decades, largely agrarian, previously colonial, developing countries were the recipients of technologies, in domains ranging from medicine to transportation. The technologies also came embedded in specific ideas about social organisation and governance mechanisms, such as bureaucratic or market rationality. Lately, there is evidence of changes to the direction of flow as developing countries have become adept late-industrialisers who produce technology. There are also “emerging markets” that are significant consumers, even if an estimated 4 billion people in these markets are socio-economically underprivileged. This talk focuses on how and why serving this population demands insights into the development of novel technologies, especially contemporary information and communication technologies, and their relevance even for developed markets. It touched on the implications of the efforts to incorporate the underprivileged, into the technological and economic mainstream, for new norms and forms of governance by drawing on research in India. »

Soundcloud : Reversing the flow of ideas?

More information and soundcloud available on the Australia India Institute website.