Alex Amend, Pulitzer Center
Round 6 of our Global Issues/Citizen Voices contest asked writers to analyze the hyper-complicated state of local, regional and global Indian affairs.
Our question was "Where will the greatest points of conflict arise in India's foreseeable future and how should India act to resolve these conflicts?" It came out of the extensive reporting project by Pulitzer Center-grantee Jason Motlagh, and was posted just prior to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Needless to say, the question and attempts to answer it remain as urgent as ever.
The winner is Anitra Lahiri, an English teacher at the George School in Newton, Pennsylvania. Read her entire essay here. Her short essay most comprehensively dealt with the nation's historical antecedents of current realities while simultaneously staking out real measures for progress. Paradox and irony is how Anitra framed her argument:
India is a country of considerable paradoxes. It is potent yet destitute; populated by pacifists yet war-torn; cloaked in the richest of spiritual philosophies yet fraught with poverty... [i]t is ironic that, in a land that historically and culturally cherishes the Hindu value of ahimsa (non-violence), taxpayer money continues to feed the creation of nuclear gravity bombs.