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10 South Asia

Unit Overview

Student Contribution #1

The topic South East Asia is mainly about India and it highlights the conflict between religions, cultures, and gender when it comes to making decisions regarding to political and economic choices. Educators like Gandhi were also trying to set a new way of living which they thought was helpful for all people. Gandhi wanted people to live in a simple way by living in a farming. His religion has influenced his choice and he wrote a letter to Nehru who has completely a different idea in terms of living. Nehru wanted to live in a modern way by developing industrialization. He thought that plan could help making better for the lives of all individuals in India.

Other challenges for India were the Caste System, populations growth, and breaking India a part. The cast system is a system that only benefit a certain group of people. It separates the upper level group and the lower level group in terms of education and wealth. Therefore, there was no connection between the two groups. That impacted the poor Indians to struggle even more. Since the population was growing tremendously, the competition was high and the cast system played a key role in this competition. Women were also not allowed to go to school. That forced them to stay only in the house even if they didn’t want to. Education is very powerful and important to accomplish. Later, when they were allowed they became less dependent of their husbands.

Pakistan became independent from India. In making this change happen Jinnah played a key role. He studied law in England, and he was very familiar with the western democracy. This experience helped him to make changes. This changes became even more worse for the people of India and Pakistan because they get in in to a conflict that left around 500, 000 people dead. That is because Pakistan didn’t have strong government and military. 

Student Contribution #2

Long ago, India used to be a bigger country than what it is today. There were many minorities within the country of India. The many minorities that are spread out around the country were the Hindus, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Christians, and the Jews. Although the three major minorities were the Hindus, the Muslims, and the Buddhists. At this time, all of the other minorities had a conflict with the dominating minority of India, the Hindus. 

There were two different individuals who stood out to the whole nation. These two people were Gandhi and Nehru. The things that Gandhi wanted consisted of wanting Eastern simplicity, a rural society, and tribal organization. Not only that but Gandhi also believed that the idea of materialism is evil and the idea of desire is bad. As for Nehru, he wanted Western complexity, urbanization, and he valued the importance of “state.” In addition to those beliefs, Nehru also believed that consumption was good and that socialism was better than capitalism. 

India had many challenges to face in this time of history. These challenges were from political, economic, social, and the struggle between population and resources. Political challenges ranged from domestic to international challenges. An international political policy was that India chose to stay neutral with all Superpowers. Within the country, they had the highest illiteracy population and they Hindu extremists also killed Gandhi, an iconic leader at that time. As for economics, the country of India followed British socialism ways. Social challenges were between culture, the caste system, and gender. The struggle between population and resources is very important. In the near future, India’s population could potentially surpass China’s population. As for the resources for the country, resources are becoming very scarce for the people. All of this ultimately led to the splitting of India and the India we know today. 

Key Vocabulary Terms
Set #1:
  • Mahatma Gandhi-  Gandhi was India’s leader during their dispute with Great Britain. He advocated for methods such as civil disobedience, nonviolence and passive resistance to get his point across. Gandhi was associated with peaceful strikes and protests with the support of fed-up villagers. He also encouraged villagers to boycott British goods and leave their British owned jobs. Eventually he was arrested essentially for going against the powers that be, in the British. Gandhi also tried to gain peace between the Hindus and Muslims, but to no avail. On January 30. 1948, Gandhi was shot by Nathuram Godse in the chest for being a traitor to the Hindu’s by supporting the payment to Pakistan for their lost territories. 

  • Jawaharial Nehru-  The first prime minister of the Republic of India. He had an opposing view of the future of India with Gandhi. He advocated for a socialist economy in order to end poverty, unemployment and the degradation of Indian people. Nehru wanted a new civilization and new order for India.

  • Neutrality- A declaration was signed that insured Southeast Asia will not be interfered by outside forces. There was neutrality in India regarding the Superpowers in response to imperialism of the British. It reflected Hindus belief of nonviolence and the desire to give leadership opportunities to emerging countries.

  • Purdah - The practice by women in Hindu and Muslim societies of living in separate rooms or dressing in certain clothes in an attempt to stay out of sight of men or strangers. They used high walls, curtains and screens in order to keep the women secluded. 

  • Karma:  Believed by the Hindus and Buddhists that the actions by a person in present day and from the past will decide their fate in the future. For Buddhists, karma refers to action that results from specific intentions and for Hindus it refers to a conditioned free creates our own destinies. 

  • British socialism:  Britain’s main industries were taken over by the state after the war. This included coal industries, electricity, steel and railways. The Labour Party supported the idea of socialism, as well as most of the people. This became the new system for politics that involved the prime minister and the legislative body. Nehru also advocated for socialism, which differed from Gandhi. 

Set #2:
  • Bangladesh: Bangladesh is a Muslim republic in South Asia which is bordered by India. It was separated from India because of the cultural differences. Bangladesh’s religion is Muslim while India’s religion is Hindi. Bangladesh achieved its independence in 1971 after a bloody revolt and Indian intervention in the civil war.
  • Green Revolution: The Green Revolution is the large in increase in crop production achieved by the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Dr. Norman Borlaug also known as “The Father of the Green Revolution” saved approximately one billion people from starvation through implementing the new source of production. 
  • Democratic Socialism: Democratic socialism advocates political democracy along with social ownership of the means of production. In the article, Nehru’s socialist creed, Nehru advocates for more change within the social life such as healthy living conditions and doing manual work to be more productive. 
  • Caste System: The caste system is the system the Hindus used to separate people into castes according to their occupation. They used this system based on the Hindu scriptures from 3,500 years ago. People such as priests, farmers, warriors, and laborers were categorized while others were called the “untouchables” and were not categorized.  

  • Parliamentary democracy:   A parliamentary democracy is when voters elect the parliament that then forms the government. The party with the most votes picks the leader of the government. The prime minister’s duty is to the people and the government. India established democratic socialism which then implemented a prime minister with a legislative body. They did this based on the British’s politics. 

  • Untouchable caste:  The untouchable caste was people whose occupation and ways of life included ritually polluting activities such as being fishermen, washer men, and sweepers. They handled, disposed of, and ate dead meat. In the article, “Tyranny against nature: Untouchables,” O’Hanlon discusses how the Untouchables were treated like second class citizens, some converted to Buddhism, and they were not allowed to be educated or read the sacred Hindu writings. 

  • Urbanization:  Urbanization is the increase of population in cities and towns, leaving rural/ countryside areas. India’s economy is growing more compared China’s economy.  China’s leaders no longer seek economic growth, one-child law birth policy, and closing of electric power plants due to pollution are causing their economy to shrink. India’s focus is industrializing. 

  • Market-driven economy:  A market-driven economy is a system where decisions involving, investment, production, and distribution are based on the exchange of supply and demand, therefore determining the prices of goods and services. India has moved to  market-driven economy since 1990s without government control. 

Potential Essay Questions:

Essay Question #1.  What were the different visions for the future by Nehru and Gandhi for India? Why do you think India followed one person rather than the other regarding these visions?
 Readings relevant for this question include Gandhi's "A letter to Jawaharlal Nehru" and Nehru's "Socialist creed".
Student Contribution #1
1.Introduction- give background on the two leaders
I.Ghandi was the political leader of India and Nehru was one of Gandhi's followers
II.Both people wanted to keep India independent, but they had very different views on how to achieve it. 
III. The Indian people had difficulty of deciding whether to keep Gandhi as their leader, or picking one of his followers, who would change India’s values.

2. Nehru’s Ideas (“Nehru’s Social Creed” article)
I.Wanted to change the government system to socialism
II. He believed socialism would end poverty and unemployment for the Indian people
  III. Nehru’s ideas and wants for socialism: end private property, wanted to make progress for India through urbanization and consumption, transition from the profit system to a cooperative system, and was more interested in the idea of state rather than tribal organization 

3. Gandhi's Ideas (“A Letter to Jawaharlal Nehru” article)
I.Stayed true to the Hindu beliefs and more simplistic lifestyle to achieve freedom
        II. Gandhi’s letter: people should live in villages, which only still exist in his imagination, where people don’t have to deal with sickness or darkness, but only freedom. Palaces and city life do not create peace or comfort.  
        III. Gandhi’s ideas: simplicity, nonviolence, against industrialization and desire, wanted to live in rural areas for healthier living conditions, stayed honest to Hindu beliefs

4. What ended up happening  
I.Gandhi’s assassination 
II.India became democratic for politics: required a coalition government so several political parties could work together. 
III. Socialistic for economics: government control over major industries, resources, transportation, and utilities

5. Why you think people followed one person rather than the other
I. People really wanted change and progress: British leaving created unstable economy, 20% of people in poverty worldwide live in India, and there is a high illiteracy rate
II. Wanted India to become strong and independent 

Essay Question #2. What are the economic, social, and political challenges for India and Pakistan today?  What lessons do think they offer for diversity in the United States today?
Relevant readings for this question include the handout in preparation for the history simulation; "Vande Mataram song lyrics and historical significance"; "Prominent Muslims oppose Jamiat on Vande Mataram";  Easterbrook's "Dr. Norman Borlaug: Man who defused the "Population Bomb""; Mitra's "The movement for women's emancipation with Bengali Muslim community in India"; O'Hanlon's "A tyranny against nature: The Untouchables in Western India"; and Talbot's "Jinnah and the making of Pakistan."

Student Contribution #1
I. Political 
    A. Neutral towards superpowers 
        1. Anti colonialism
        2. Hindu orientation to non violence and anti racism 
        3. Wants to provide leadership to new countries
    B. Influence on South America
        1. Border china with surrounding parts of india 
        2. Muslim neighbors in india want to break away 
    C. Poor domestic politics 
        1. Low literacy rate 
        2. Loss of leaders
        3. Ethnic groups demanding independence
    D. Democratic Socialism 
        1. Diverse political parties 
        2. Influence from Great Britain 
        3. Control from India NAtional Conference 
II. Economic 
    A. Influence of socialism from the british 
        1. Government own most of market 
    B. Agricultural changes 
        1. “Green Revolution”
    C. Avoidance of foreign dependence
        1. India has to own majority of business 
    D. Large focus on industrialization 
    E. Poverty 
        1. 400 million people below the poverty line 
III. Social 
    A. Diverse Culture 
    B. Unofficial class system 
        1. Reserved jobs for “lower” people 
    C. Gender discrimination 
        1. No female education or independence 
    D. Rise of urbanization 
    E. Cultural acceptance 
        1. “Karma” 
    F. Attempt to change the constitution 

I. Political/Economic 
    A. No military or government system 
    B. Corruption of military and politics 
    C. Divide East and West pakistan 
    D. Both possess nuclear weapons 
    E. Attempts of democracy 
        1. Supporters of western democracy 
II. Social 
     A. Violence between muslims and India 
        1. Half million dead 
        2. Border war 
    B. Based on Islamic powers