P. Sainath: Rural Distress in India & the Rise of Authoritarianism in the Times of COVID-19

A Solidarity across Distances Inaugural Lecture

April 4, 2020

P. Sainath, the renowned journalist and founder editor of “People’s Archive of Rural India,” delivers our inaugural lecture. His recent critical article, “What we should do about COVID-19” on the Indian government’s relief package for the poor is a must-read. As he wrote in it, “The government’s ‘package’ is a curious blend of callousness and cluelessness. It’s not just one virus we’re fighting – pandemics are also a ‘package.’ Of which economic distress can be a self-inflicted or self-aggravated part – driving us from calamity to catastrophe.”

Palagummi Sainath has written on social & economic inequality, rural affairs, poverty, and the impact of globalization in India. His path-breaking series on rural poverty brought to the forefront the alarming numbers of farmers’ suicides in the wake of neoliberal policies in India. He is a senior fellow for Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Since late 2011 he has been working on People’s Archive of Rural India PARI. In June 2011, Sainath was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree (DLitt) by the University of Alberta, the university’s highest honor. He received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2007 in the category of Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.

Watch the recorded lecture. Also, please visit the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) for a wealth of information and stories

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