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Talks @ Pulitzer: George Black on Pollution in the Ganges River


Event Date:

September 20, 2016 | 5:30 AM EDT TO 7:30 AM EDT
A pilgrim takes a holy dip in river Ganges

Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes on the Herculean task of cleaning up his country’s most sacred...

Ganges waste
More than a billion gallons of raw sewage and industrial effluent enter the river every day. The Hindu-nationalist government’s restoration initiative plays directly into India’s charged religious and caste politics. Image by Simon Norfolk/Institute for the New Yorker. India, 2016.

Pulitzer Center grantee George Black discussed his reporting on the politics of pollution along India's Ganges River on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

For his Pulitzer Center-supported project, "India's Augean Stables," Black focused on Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi's campaign to clean up the sacred-and heavily polluted-Ganges River. Black's story on this topic for The New Yorker examines how the cleanup campaign relates to Modi's background as a militant Hindu nationalist and how it may inflame Hindu-Muslim tensions in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

These tensions are summed up in Black's reporting from two of the most important cities on the Ganges, Kanpur and Varansi. The effort to clean up these two industrial centers' waters sheds light on a question that has always troubled foreign observers of Modi. Is he a technocratic reformer, or is he an unrepentant Hindu nationalist? Or is he both?

In his Talks @ Pulitzer, Black discussed the possible answers to this question, and what he thinks lies ahead for India's polluted waterways.

Black is a New York City-based writer specializing in international affairs and the environment. Born in Scotland, he has a master's degree in modern languages and literature from the University of Oxford. He has written for a wide range of publications in his 35-year career as a journalist and is the recipient of numerous awards.

Talks @ Pulitzer: George Black on Pollution in the Ganges River
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
5:30 PM Reception
6:00 PM Remarks begin
Pulitzer Center
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 615
Washington, DC 20036


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