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As the second most populous country in the world, India is a south Asian country that is no stranger to conflict and advocating for social change.  Achieving independence in 1947 (1), India has been colonized through trading by many countries including the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British.   Social movements play a prominent role in shaping India as one of the fastest growing industrialized country today.  It has had its fair share of religious dilemmas, class struggle and social injustice just to name a few where some of which are still ongoing.  

Week 2: 18th Century and Democracy

 According to the European Parliament (2), India is regarded as one of the biggest democracies in the world today with the largest number of voters though it is debatable whether or not a true democracy exists due to reports of corruption and bribery.
The 1857 Indian Mutiny was a rebellion that resulted in the dissolution of the British East Indian Company and the end of the Mughal empire in India. (3) Subsequently, the British assumed power over the colony and the Indian National Congress was formed in 1885. (4) The congress served as a way for members to learn how to debate and discuss about issues that they cared about, a significant stepping stone in forming a future functional government.  Though the congress failed in encouraging people to support independence, leaders such as Ghandi and Ambedkhar later on contributed to helping India achieve independence.  Furthermore, despite the fact they India was still under British rule, it managed to introduce the Government of India act in 1935 which allowed an elected Indian assembly to have input of most political policies.(5)  Eventually the first democratic election was held in 1952 (6)

Week 3: Abolition and Slavery

 When India was still under British rule, the Indian Slavery act of 1943 was passed to abolish the trading of slaves, (7)  following the Slavery Abolition act of 1833 put forward by the united Kingdom to abolish slavery all throughout the British Empire. (8) Despite these acts, slavery still continues to exist in modern day India not in the most traditional sense but more commonly in the form of human trafficking, child labour and unethical labour.  Debt bondage is a large contributing factor to the presence of slavery in India. (9) The idea is that employers pay the workers just enough to stay alive, but not enough to ever be able to repay their debts.  As a result, people are forced to work in horrible conditions.  For many women and even young girls, labour may come in the form of sex trafficking, causing a vast range of social implications.  Many aid organizations such as "Free the slave" have emerged, targeting developing countries like India in efforts to completely abolish slavery.  They focus on educating impoverished villages not only in skills that can help them attain work but on their rights as a citizen.  In addition, they take an approach where they believe that before slavery can be abolished, poverty needs to be addressed first as poverty is what puts slaves in a state of desperation to begin with.

Week 4: Women's movement

Because of various religions and cultures in India, the constitution which states that “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, sex, place of birth or any of them.” (10)  is not enough to alter a history of patriarchal ideas and attitudes. 
The women's movement in India began when women started to participate in other movements such as the Independence movement and the Freedom movement.  However, with the emergence of many organisations such as Women's Indian Association in 1917 and the National Council of Women in India in 1925 (11), the movement took off, focussing on liberating women and equal rights between men and women.  They were also inspired by feminism and Women's movements taking place in the west.  Eventually, the Central Social Welfare was established in 1953, involving women as recipients of social welfare.  However, there is still a large gender equity gap in India today where women are paid much less, have less opportunities and are often expected to fulfill the responsibilities of the home due to religion and hundreds of years of cultural conditioning.

Week 5: Labour movement Today, there are 12 trade union organizations in India (12). It all started with the "Bombay Mill Hands Association" in 1884 (13) which was formed as a result of workers petitioning to prevent overworking employees in the textile industry, demanding fair wages and proper breaks. After that, various workers' strikes too place and many other organizations emerged, especially after WWI. In 1926, trade unions became legally recognized in accordance to the Trade Union Act (14). However, despite these social,economic and political reforms, India is still known to be one of the largest countries where child labour and sweatshops exist. With increasing amounts of TNCs, these powerful corporations contribute to developing economies like India, but some do not operate with ethical standards such as having long working hours, horrible working conditions and little pay.

Week 6: Indian Independence Movement From 1858 to 1946, India was under British rule. In response to oppression brought on by colonialism such as poverty, racism, lack of political power, and exploitation of their resources, Ghandi led an independence movement that was based on the idea of compassion and peace. The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 (15) as an opportunity for Indians to meet and discuss important issues. This was a way for them to organize forms of civil disobedience and unite to represent their "country". Throughout the movement, there have been peaceful protests such as Ghandi's salt march campaign where participants were beaten by the police without retaliating. On the other hand, there have been radical and violent instances such as those led by Baghat Singh, where he bombed the legislative assembly. India successfully achieved independence on August 15, 1947.

Week 7: Racism in India

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