Democracy & Society

With its vast religious, ethnic and linguistic diversity, India provides a remarkable example of a vibrant democracy with a complex political landscape. Since independence, India has been successful at sustaining democracy, albeit disrupted at times by communal unrest and separatist and militant movements at its peripheries. In recent years, new forms of political activism by urban middle classes and youth have emerged, focusing on issues such as good governance, gender equity and freedom of expression. India’s democratic space continues to be renegotiated all along.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation supports Indian civil society actors to create platforms for dialogue on democracy, especially including voices of those who find themselves at the periphery; geographically, socially and culturally. Among other things, HBF and its partners promote the inclusion of perspectives from India’s Northeast into the broader Indian narrative; they also work towards resolving communal tension. Another important focus is to input into ongoing processes of policy making on sexual minority rights and inclusion of gender perspectives in specific areas of globalized interaction, knowledge and production. For example, an emerging area of work focuses on the social and gender outcomes of bio-technology markets.

Overall, HBF – through knowledge generation and dissemination – seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics and developments of India’s democracy, advocating gender equitable relations and development within the society.

Digital India through a gender lens

This policy discussion paper seeks to present a critical overview of Digital India, evaluating the extent to which the outcome areas of the program address gender-transformative change. It also offers suggestions for building an enabling environment to expand opportunities and strategic life choices for women, and contributing to gender equality, as economic, social and political arenas are fundamentally redefined by digital technologies. This paper draws upon a detailed policy study titled ‘Digital India through a Gender Lens’, undertaken by the authors in 2017-18, with support from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

Occupation of the coast – Blue economy in India

The Blue Economy involves economic activity that engages with the various components of the oceans. As the Blue Economy gets underway, this research report re-visits various aspects of coastal development and weaves together a narrative of their impacts on the fishing communities.

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Centrepiece: New writing and art from Northeast India

Curated and put together by writer and graphic artist Parismita Singh, 21 women writers and artists come together in this stunning collection that combines words and pictures to explore the theme of women and work in the Northeast.

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