Leitura para o fim-de-semana: as eleições indianas e a guerra dos tronos

Sim, sou fã de A Guerra dos Tronos. Não sou, obviamente, o único. Por isso, quando vi este artigo que compara o universo criado por George R. R. Martin às eleições indianas, não resisti. E a verdade é que a analogia está muito bem conseguida. Vale a pena ler. Aprendemos alguma coisa sobre a maior democracia do mundo – e também sobre a série do momento.


How the Indian elections are just like “Game of Thrones”

  • By Thane Richard,

The most many Americans know about the election in India is the fact that they actually know nothing about it. While not hard to trump this lack of coverage, one political drama that is certainly getting more airtime across America are those in the world of Game of Thrones, which continues to break its own viewership records with each subsequent airing. May 11th’s episode had the most viewers yet: 7.16 million. Fortunately for America, the Indian election is eerily similar to the plots unfolding in Westeros. Because the plot of Game of Thrones is totally a simplification—not complicated at all—let’s break this down Ice and Fire style. I hope this doesn’t make things worse…


In 1947, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru swept through India on the backs of dragons and conquered it from the British. Gandhi was assassinated and Nehru became the first prime minister, bringing over 500 independent princely states and other entities into the fold of the Union of India with the help of the Hand of the King (Home Minister) Vallabhbhai Patel. India as the our proverbial Seven Kingdoms was born. India also has a Wall in its north: the Line of Control between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir and the Line of Actual Control between Indian and Chinese Kashmir. In 1999, Pakistan tried to breach the Wall, triggering the Kargil War.

The Iron Throne was forged in Delhi, and Nehru became the head of a dynasty that has ruled India directly as Prime Ministers for 40 years and indirectly as head of the ruling party, the Congress, for 55 years (India has been independent for 67 years). The Nehru-Gandhi family took the Gandhi name when Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi (who was assassinated by her Queen’s Guard), married a man unrelated to the eponymous opposition leader. Currently, the Congress party rules India, but there is rebellion in the air. They are most definitely House Targaryen.

House Targaryen (Congress)

The brother-sister pair of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, great-grandchildren of Nehru, are seen as the future of the party. Rahul Gandhi has been the face of the Congress during this campaign, but he is largely viewed as inept at governance and the coddled child of a broken line. His sister, Priyanka, has never entered politics herself and has been involved from the sidelines via managing the campaigns of her mother and brother at various times. She is married to Robert Vadra who, coincidentally, is the chief of a powerful tribe of horselords from the east. Sadly, no, but he has been a source of controversy for her as some of his business dealings have come under scrutiny. Late in the present election, Priyanka became much more involved and her powerful and relatively easy assumption of the limelight has many believing that she is, in fact, the only future for the family and the Congress party. Unfortunately for her, she has no dragons, just allegedly billions of dollars in offshore bank accounts. No pressure, Khaleesi.

House Lannister (The Bharatiya Janata Party)

In the sense that he may usurp Congress, Narendra Modi is Robert Baratheon, but the BJP leader has a political ambition that even Tywin Lannister would find threatening. He is cunning, ruthless, and viewed by many as heartless for his alleged role in communal riots in 2002. He compared the sadness of the event to running over a puppy with a car(over 1,000 people were killed), he refuses to apologize for letting it happen under his watch, and further says he did “absolutely the right thing” in how he handled the unrest. Yet, his critics remain skeptical while his supporters either point to the Supreme Court having cleared his name last year or say “Hakuna Matata,” roll their eyes, and affirm that he has “matured.”

Modi has created a fervor amongst his fans with alluring promises of development and strong governance but he has also pushed away other prominent noble houses. Several regional Indian parties have broken their alliance with his party, the BJP, because of his polarizing personality. His home state of Gujarat (Casterly Rock) is one of the richest states in India and is viewed as an enviable microcosm of development that many across India dream of for themselves. The validity of the statistics around this development, though, and Modi’s personal role in driving them has been questioned. And from a human development standpoint, Gujarat’s growth has been lackluster. Many whisper that these mythical “development gold mines” under Casterly Rock are merely a visage.

House Stark (Aam Aadmi Party)

The lovable underdogs (underwolves?). The leader of the Aam Aadmi Party is a young and fresh politician named Arvind Kejriwal (Robb Stark) who has no background in politics. He worked as a civil servant in the Indian Revenue Service before becoming involved in the 2011 Delhi protests to pass anti-corruption reform. That movement evolved into a political party with him as its leader after millions of people in Delhi started chanting “King of the North!”

So king he became.

In an enormous electoral upset, his neophyte party won 28 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections this past December and he became Chief Minister of Delhi. After 49 days, he resigned in order to campaign in the national election where, in just a few months, he assembled his newly found bannermen and fielded candidates in 434 constituencies (there are 543 total in India). Personally, he decided to challenge the might of Narendra Modi (Tywin Lannister) directly in the district of Varanasi: wolf versus lion in one of the oldest cities in the world. Most predict Modi will win, but young Robb Stark has one smashing victory already under his belt. Can he pull off another or has he walked into a political Red Wedding?

House Greyjoy (Trinamool National Congress)

Mamata Banerjee split from Congress in 1997 and formed her own party, the Trinamool National Congress (TMC). Since then, she has formed alliances with both major houses, the Congress and the BJP, and has generally seized on opportunities to raid the mainland to assert her party’s independence as its own seat of power in West Bengal (Iron Islands) where the party hails from and maintains its throne with a 63% majority of seats in the state assembly. She also has a nephew named Theon (Abhishek, actually) who is ambitiously contesting in this election for the first time. To be fair, one could likely argue that any one of the larger regional parties in India could take the mantel of House Greyjoy, but I opted for TNC.

House Martell (The Third Front)

The Third Front is actually a union of several different political parties with a strong presence in the perpetually warm southern region of India. Until 2011, one of their constituent parties ruled Kerala, which has the highest Human Development Index in India, according to a report by the Government of India, and the highest literacy rate in India. A Third Front party rules the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu and is a significant opposition force in neighboring Karnataka. Like Dorne, southern Indian culture is very distinct from that of the Seven Kingdoms. The food and dress of South Indians are unique and Hindi, the predominant language in northern India, has more in common linguistically with English than it does with the southern Dravidian languages. Even the hero and foe of theRamayana, one of India’s great epics, are viewed differently in the north and south. The Third Front was formed in opposition to the two major northern houses—they have never been outright loyal to Congress (Targaryen) and openly detest our Tywin Lannister, Narendra Modi. It should also be noted that the Third Front is significant in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Suffice to say, there are enough strong personalities and ruling family dramas in India to make for very interesting entertainment even without dragons, beheadings, and zombie ice monsters.”

Um país dividido

É a maior democracia do mundo. E este ano vai a eleições. De um lado o Congresso Nacional Indiano. Do outro o Partido Bharatiya Janata. O The New York Times leva-nos numa viagem às divisões políticas e sociais do país. A Índia.

O fim do mundo recebeu a visita de uns “anjos”

Há 20 anos que a organização Vitamin Angels se dedica a um trabalho fundamental: levar vitaminas a populações em risco, especialmente mulheres grávidas, jovens mães e crianças com menos de cinco anos. É um trabalho silencioso para combater uma catástrofe: 45% das mortes infantis devem-se à malnutrição. Para celebrar as duas décadas de actividade, no Outono de 2013, a Vitamin Angels pediu a três realizadores premiados que se unissem para fazer um documentário que mostrasse o seu trabalho. Chamaram-lhe A Supporting Role. Divididos em três equipas, uma nos Estados Unidos, outra no Perú e uma terceira na Índia. Esta última, liderada por Caleb Slain, viajou para o estado indiano de Nagaland, uma das regiões mais remotas dos Himalaias. Este foi o resultado. “Welcome to the end of the world.”

Welcome to the End of the World from Caleb Slain on Vimeo.

O escândalo das violações na Índia

As novas escravas indianas

A elevada procura de noivas, na Índia, está a levar muitas raparigas – cada vez mais jovens – a serem vendidas a homens mais velhos de zonas distantes do país. Isto apesar do casamento com menores ser ilegal. As familias pobres cedem: seja pelo dinheiro ou pela esperança de um futuro melhor para a filha. Pelo meio há um intermediário que ganha uma comissão. A reportagem é do correspondente do PBS Newshour.

O jornalista que não quis molhar os pés e subiu para os ombros de uma vítima

Na semana passada, houve um vídeo que se tornou viral na Índia. Não, não foi mais um conjunto de imagens de gatinhos ou de uma nova estrela de Bolywood. Infelizmente, tratou-se de um vídeo em que o jornalista Narayan Pargaien’s aparece aos ombros de uma vítima das cheias que assolaram o estado de Uttarakhand e obrigaram 100 mil pessoas a abandonar as suas casas, numa aparente tentativa de não se molhar. Sim, leram bem. Aos ombros de uma vítima para não molhar os pés.

A reportagem nunca chegou a ser emitida pelo site News Express. Mas como alguém colocou as imagens online, o jornalista acabou por ser despedido por conduta “desumana”. No entanto, o jornalista achou que não tinha feito nada de mal. Pelo contrário. “Nós ajudámo-lo com alguma comida e dinheiro e ele ficou tão agradecido que quis mostrar-me respeito, porque era a primeira vez que alguém do meu nível visitava a sua casa”, disse ao site News Laundry. Ainda não acreditam? Ora vejam.

A libertação de Vijay Kumari

O jornalismo atinge um dos seus pontos altos quando toca o coração dos leitores/telespectadores. Isso acontece, normalmente, com histórias sobre pessoas. Algumas são de drama. Muitas de tragédia. Outras de alegria. Exemplos de como a natureza humana consegue enfrentar todo o tipo de adversidades. É o caso desta peça da BBC. Em 1994, Vijay Kumari foi condenada por homicídio. Um tribunal superior estabeleceu como condição para a sua libertação o pagamento de uma fiança de 140 euros. Como não tinha dinheiro, passou os últimos 19 anos detida. Todos se esqueceram dela. Excepto uma pessoa: o filho que deu à luz já na cadeia. Agora, depois de arranjar emprego, o rapaz conseguiu pagar a um advogado para tratar da libertação da mãe. E ao fim de quase duas décadas, Vijay Kumari voltou a casa.