Indovation: Innovation and a Global Knowledge Economy in India
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The 2012 BBC programme Welcome to India illustrates profoundly the region’s incredible and pervasive austerity.1 This austerity is brought to light through a cast of unforgettable real-life characters on the poverty line in two of India’s megacities. This feature reveals the astonishing conditions of inequality and stratification that are extant in India today. In one case, street children hawk pirated copies of entrepreneur Steve Jobs’s autobiography to motorists at a traffic light at the risk of police beatings. In another, gold panners forage in sewers for mud from goldsmiths’ ablutions and treat it with mercury by hand to extract the gold. Innovation at the base of India’s social pyramid takes place amidst all sorts of austere conditions: endemic tax evasion and corruption; copyright violation and theft; human rights abuse of adults and children; usury and extortion; food, water and energy scarcity; and overpopulation, property theft, forced eviction and dense urban crowding. This is what Series Director and Producer Tom Beard in an interview calls ‘resourcefulness to the extreme’.