India: Conflicts Within

India is having its moment. Having shed the bonds of colonialism, years of bitter civil strife and a stagnant economy, the country boasts nine percent growth a year with a capable middle class and world-beating industry whose latest feat is the mass production of a $2,500 car.

But just beneath the veneer of India Shining lies an underclass that lags further behind. More than 80 percent of the population — some 836 million people — live on less than 50 cents a day; farmers are killing themselves by the thousands; water and other critical resources grow scarcer; and the rights of lower-caste and tribal groups are often trampled in favor of big business.

Religious, ethnic and class tensions have always ebbed and surged in the world's largest democracy. Yet traditional pockets of unrest like Kashmir and the Northeast have of late shown signs of improvement. The advance of Leftist extremism, meanwhile, slowly gains traction among those forgotten or pushed aside to sustain what some call an "economic miracle."

Today Maoist insurgents keen to exploit the state's enduring weaknesses stalk the Hindu heartland. They are waging their "people's war" in dirt-poor, under-policed areas where conditions are most fertile, part of a long-term campaign that aims to overrun the country. And the threat they pose, nascent as it may be, is sure to intensify as the inequality gap widens. Jason Motlagh travels around the sub-continent to explore the other India up close.

The LA Times reviews Jason Motlagh's work on the Mumbai Attacks in the Virginia Quarterly Review

From Nov. 26 to 29, 2008, 10 gunmen wielded guns, grenades and terror in the Indian city of Mumbai. Acting in five teams of two, they killed 163 people and wounded 300 others in attacks on sites including a train station, two elite hotels, a Jewish center, a hospital and the city's streets. All of the gunmen were young Pakistani Muslims; all but one were killed by authorities. The lone survivor, who has pleaded guilty, attends his trial, which continues a year after the attacks.

Meet Jason Motlagh

Jason Motlagh is a roving freelance multimedia journalist. He has reported from over 30 countries throughout West Africa, the Mideast, Central and South Asia for leading US and international media outlets.

Jason Motlagh Wins National Magazine Award for Digital Media

The Virginia Quarterly Review was awarded the National Magazine Award for Digital Media in the News Reporting category for Jason Motlagh's, "Sixty Hours of Terror" a four-part series covering the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The National Magazine Awards (known as the "Ellies") are presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Journalism School at Columbia University. This is their first year to honor achievements in digital media.

Jason Motlagh at SIU Carbondale 2/16

Jason will share his experiences in reporting international conflicts. He will give lectures to students interested in international journalism/affairs with fresh information on global issues such as conflicts and the current social and political situations in countries he has covered.