TIME women

How Indian Women Are Reclaiming Their Right to Public Space in Delhi

A flash mob performs during a candlelit vigil protesting violence against women as they mark the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape occurred in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2014.
Saurabh Das—AP A flash mob performs during a candlelit vigil protesting violence against women as they mark the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape occurred in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2014.

Women are stretching the existing boundaries of cultural rules that attempt to demarcate a woman’s place in an unequal city

Urban redevelopment in India over recent decades has had particular implications for women. While the economic deregulation of the 1990s opened up new possibilities for work, leisure and relationships, it has also led to new stresses. Cities such as New Delhi have become sites for experimentation, autonomy and aspiration for women. Yet against these images of emancipation can be juxtaposed everyday risks and vulnerabilities.

Contradictions abound in a space that values the woman’s body as a liberalized commodity. Women are under constant scrutiny: for what they wear, how they behave, where they are going, who they are with, at what time of day or night. They are under pressure to conform to familiar boundaries of tradition and class. Challenging these boundaries carries the risk of psycho-social dissonance and assault of various kinds.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the increasing number of women working in the IT industry – or socializing in bars and restaurants – arose in tandem with the rise of cultural nationalist politics in India. Following the rape and murder of young student Jyoti Singh in New Delhi in December 2012, some held that responsibility for violence against women should be attributed to “western lifestyles”. Public debates have also focused on other forms of the “outsider” as a source of fear and hostility on Delhi’s streets, naming rural migrants a “menace in society”.

Bearer of tradition

Clearly, violence against women in Delhi is not a new phenomenon that has arisen out of economic liberalization and urban redevelopment. Yet the intense focus on the death of Jyoti Singh and subsequent cases is indicative of a cultural shift. This young woman, from a provincial background but “aspirational”, represented what “world class” Delhi was supposed to afford women: safe access to public space and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Such attacks highlight the contradictions held within the body of the woman. She must embody the progressive city but also remain the bearer of tradition measured by skirt lengths. The presence of young professional women in Delhi’s public spaces may be desirable to legitimate claims of “global city” status. However, in reality, this access is conditional and based on maintaining a cultural order inflected by a moral discourse of respectability.

As writers such as Shilpa Phadke argue, women must manufacture purpose in order to access the city, they cannot just “loiter”. Much of this purpose is non-sexualised conduct such as engaging in family activities or shopping in the new mega-malls.

Women navigate the city “giving back” through aggressive language, evading stares, reclaiming spaces such as rooftops and parks. They seek safety in numbers, knowing when to wrap a scarf more tightly around their head or cover their knees when sitting. These appear to be everyday skills to cope with the city and to manage its discomfort.

While in these actions women may appear fragile, they are in fact asserting a place in Delhi, especially when reassured by anonymity or the protection afforded by socio-economic capacity such as owning a car. This is an understanding of Delhi opposed to the computer-generated images of independent, happy women in new condominiums that look down from advertising hoardings throughout the city.

Clearly, women are not necessarily timid or immobile in the face of Delhi’s aggression. They are taking part in producing space and seeking out pleasure. There are limits, but these limits can be stretched. Roaming may be curtailed for some who have to remain in the line of sight of home, and choices restricted at times by the pressures of respectability. Yet, women have the capacity to generate ambiguity through their presence, disrupting cultural rules that attempt to demarcate a woman’s place in an unequal city.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME China

The U.K. Has Refused Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei a Long-Term Visa

Ai Weiwei - Visit from Germany
Peter Kneffel—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in his studio during a visit from Margarete Bause, Chairman of Alliance '90/The Greens in the Bavarian parliament, in Beijing, China, 23 Nov. 2013

Instead, he will be allotted just 20 days in the country

London’s Royal Academy of Arts will soon host a three-month landmark exhibit of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s most important work, but the artist himself could be conspicuously absent. The dissident auteur announced via his Instagram account on Thursday afternoon that British immigration authorities had declined to issue him the six-month business visa for which he applied, claiming he had supplied deceptive information on his application.

With characteristic cheekiness, he released the news in a caption to a picture of a toilet.

He then posted the letter from the U.K. Visas and Immigration Office — sent by way of the British Embassy in Beijing — that informed him that he would receive only a three-week permit, requiring him to leave the country shortly after the exhibit opens.

The visa form requires the applicant to declare if he or she has ever faced, among other things, criminal charges in the U.K. or elsewhere.

“You have stated: ‘No, I have never had any of these,’” the letter to the artist read. “It is a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China, and you have not declared this.”

The letter then informs Ai that any future visa applications containing “inaccurate” information could earn him a 10-year ban from entering the country.

Though Ai’s politically controversial work has led to several run-ins with Beijing law enforcement officials, he says the state has never formally charged him with or convicted him of a crime. According to his Instagram post, the artist attempted to prove this to British authorities in China, but “the representatives insisted on the accuracy of their sources and refused to admit any misjudgment.”

Only a week ago, China returned the artist’s passport after revoking his international travel privileges four years ago on tax-evasion charges that Ai claims are politically motivated. The Royal Academy of Arts quickly affirmed in an eager blog post that Ai would indeed be traveling to London for the his exhibition, which opens on Sept. 19.

It appears that Ai is currently on his way to Berlin, where his 6-year-old son lives with his mother. (The artist posted an Instagram of a freshly minted German visa early this week).

TIME Asia

Asian Superpowers China and India Top List of Nations Whose Millionaires Move Abroad

General Economy Images Of China
Tomohiro Ohsumi—Bloomberg/Getty Images The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, right, and commercial buildings are illuminated as they stand at dusk in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Tens of thousands of "high-net-worth individuals" have left to seek a better life overseas

We may be in the midst of “the Asian century,” but a new report shows that many of the wealthiest citizens of the continent’s two fastest-growing economies — China and India — have chosen to leave their countries and settle down abroad.

A total of 91,000 Chinese millionaires left the country and settled overseas in the past 14 years, while the exodus of Indian millionaires ranked second at 61,000, according to a report by consultancies New World Wealth and LIO Global. France, Italy, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa and Egypt round out the top eight.

The study, released this month, looked at immigration data from 2000 and 2014 indicating applications for a second citizenship or change of domicile (permanent residence).

The U.K. — its capital city London, in particular — appears to be the most popular destination for the world’s rich to settle down in, followed by the U.S, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong. The report says Indians tend to move to countries like Australia and the United Arab Emirates, while Singapore and Hong Kong are popular destinations for China’s wealthy.

Despite the large-scale departure of millionaires, both China and India still have plenty of wealthy citizens who chose to stay back — reflected by their respective positions at fifth and 10th on the list of countries with the most millionaires overall. They also remain the world’s most populous nations, sharing a third of the global population.

Those who leave generally cite reasons like “turmoil in home country, security concerns and optimizing education of children,” the report said.

Read next: China Slowdown? Depends on Where You Look

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TIME Dalai Lama

Exclusive: The Dalai Lama Talks About Pope Francis, Aging and Heartbreak With TIME

Britain Dalai Lama
Matt Dunham—AP The Dalai Lama stands on stage before making a speech to an audience at the ESS Stadium in Aldershot, England, on June 29, 2015

On the morning of his 80th birthday

On Monday, the morning of his 80th birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sat down with TIME in Anaheim, Calif. The Tibetan spiritual leader shared his advice on growing old and mending a broken heart and talked about maybe meeting Pope Francis. Below are excerpts from the conversation, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

The gap between the Tibet cause in exile and the situation on the plateau is widening. Some say that your message — which is so cheerful, hopeful, and, as we see here in Anaheim, appeals to upper-middle-class Westerners — is so counter to the situation on the ground in Tibet, where some feel that the exile government isn’t doing enough for Tibetan Buddhists themselves. How do you see that tension, and its future?
It seems that regardless of how much censorship they impose, the people in Tibet do seem to be able to get the news … Inside Tibet, is physically distant … but there’s a few who get some information, then that spreads … There are organizations, their main responsibility is to look after the Tibetan refugee community, their education, and also the way for preservation of our own culture, mainly, and monastic institutions, to carry our tradition and culture — I think quite sophisticated knowledge about the tradition. So then we are not representing, directly, inside Tibet. We have no direct responsibility like that, so by the way, say in our last, I think, 30 years, many Tibetans have the opportunity to come to India and join our school. … So then after they get some education level, they return, they carry [that] inside Tibet … Then these people now carry the main responsibility for teaching … More of these connections are taking place on the personal, individual level, organic process, not so much through the centralized institution.

You have not yet met Pope Francis, correct? If you could have a meeting with Pope Francis, what would you want to talk with him about?
Yes, not yet … Recently he also has been showing genuine concern about the environment. Wonderful. A spiritual leader should speak — these are global issues. So I admire [him].

MORE: Pope Francis Urges Climate-Change Action in Encyclical

How do you find sense of purpose as you age, especially if you live in a Western society that values youth?
I believe in also telling people, when you are young is its own special beauty, doing active things. Then, getting older, its own beauty, more experience to share with other people. One time in Sweden, I noticed, one small group of people, they have some kind of program, those retired people should take more active role taking care of young children. I think that is very good. Old people play, mixing with young children, the old people themselves feel something fresh. Sometimes, children see more love with grandparent rather than parent, that also happens. So I think children may do not attraction external beauty, old people, no longer any beauty, but smile, play, make joke, some sort of short stories, then children looked at. So if you age but then still feel bitter because you are not able to lots of things you could do when you were young, that is total, silly, unrealistic. Of course, the wider experience, the young people, youth, cannot do that — not yet.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been in love, but I’m wondering — how do you heal a broken heart?
Actually, you see, practice celibacy … If you look at the nature of strong attachment, underlying that strong attachment is a clinging, grasping, and if you look at other reactive emotions that arise, actually it is strong attachment that underpins hatred, anger, jealousy, and so on, so if you somehow are able to look at this and recognize that a large part of the reception is perception, that could lose some of this strong grasping. I always remember, in a dream, if … a beautiful woman or something like that, I remember I am a monk. It is very helpful.

And if you aren’t a monk?
I think the desire for sex goes extreme, always creates some trouble. So that I think, in Western culture, there is a lot of emphasis on sensuality, and sexuality is part of that.

TIME China

China-Backed Development Bank Holds Signing Ceremony in Beijing

China-led AIIB members ink accord for its inception by year's end
AP—Kyodo Delegates from more than 50 countries gathered to sign the articles of agreement that specifies the new lender's initial capital and other details of its structure.

Conspicuously absent from the ceremony was the U.S., which declined to join the bank

Delegates from 57 founding member states gathered in Beijing on Monday to finalize and ratify the terms of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the China-backed multilateral development bank seen by some as a strategic rival to the World Bank and similar international financial institutions.

The signing ceremony comes eight months after Beijing officially launched AIIB, which intends to “focus on the development of infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia” and “promote interconnectivity and economic integration in the region,” according to its mission statement. It will begin with a $50 billion capital base, the BBC reports.

Of its founding members — which include Australia, Russia and Germany — China will be the largest shareholder, with 25% to 30% of all votes. Conspicuously absent from the roster is the U.S., which in October expressed concern over the bank proposal’s “ambiguous nature.” While World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has praised the new institution, citing the “massive need” for fresh investments in Asia, some critics see its establishment as a self-serving exercise in Chinese soft power.

TIME Economy

Asia Now Has More Millionaires Than the U.S.

HONG KONG-ECONOMY-PROPERTY
Alex Ogle—‚AFP/Getty Images This long exposure picture shows apartment buildings and office blocks clustered tightly together in Hong Kong's Kowloon district, with the famous skyline of Hong Kong island in the background, on October 28, 2013.

The one percent are eastward bound

The population of newly minted millionaires across Asian-Pacific nations has swelled to 4.69 million, bringing the grand total a hair above North America’s millionaires club, according to a new survey of the world’s high net worth individuals.

Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management surveyors estimate that the global economy produced 920,000 newly minted millionaires last year, who they define as anyone with investable assets exceeding $1 million in value. Asia-Pacific led the world with 8.5% growth in the population of millionaires, followed by North America’s 8.3%.

While the cumulative wealth of North America’s millionaires still led the world with $16.23 trillion in holdings, the study estimates that Asian-Pacific millionaires will hold a greater sum by the end of this year.

TIME China

China Shows the World How to Turn a Tragedy Into an Embarrassment

An aerial view shows rescue workers standing on the sunken cruise ship Eastern Star in Jianli
Reuters An aerial view shows rescue workers standing on the sunken cruise ship Eastern Star in Jianli, Hubei province, China, June 4, 2015

The prone Eastern Star may finally have been righted but personal tragedy remains cruelly submerged

If, in the early hours, there was any small affirmation in tragedy, it was this: the squadrons of scuba divers, the implacable cranes, the search-and-rescue teams prying open a ship’s hull were striving ceaselessly to rescue victims of the June 1 cruise ship disaster on the Yangtze River. Few could argue against the efficiency of a one-party state. Amid driving rain and wind, China’s Premier Li Keqiang rushed to the scene, his shirt-sleeves rolled up, the conductor of a sorrowful symphony for the sunken Eastern Star.

Yet, four days on, we are left not in awe of the galvanizing power of autocracy but with aversion to its inelegance. So determined has Beijing been to stage-manage the wake of the storm capsizing — as of the morning of June 5, the confirmed death toll stood at 97, with 14 survivors and hopes rapidly fading for the remainder of the more than 450 passengers and crew — that they have turned a potential PR boon for the Chinese Communist Party into an embarrassment.

Family members of the ferry victims, who have converged on the town of Jianli in China’s central Hubei province, have been warned not to talk to the media. Some have been followed by security personnel, as if their loss somehow makes them suspect. Reuters reported that other relatives in Shanghai, where the tour agency that filled the ship is based, were physically assaulted by uniformed Chinese police.

Many have complained about a lack of information from government sources. Censors are scouring the Internet, even targeting the words “Eastern Star.” Members of the Chinese media have been hushed. Why? “I can’t rule out that even among Chinese journalists there are people who want to smear the government,” Hu Shining, the deputy police chief of Nanjing, the city where the ship embarked on its journey, told family members, according to Reuters.

On June 4, China’s President Xi Jinping convened a special meeting of the nation’s most powerful leadership committee to discuss the tragedy. A statement from the meeting, reported by China’s state news agency Xinhua, called on “local party committees and governments to ‘sincerely understand the families’ grief, carry out appeasement efforts and earnestly safeguard social stability.’”

But grief is messy. It is not “coordinated, scientific and pertinent,” as Premier Li described the equipment being used for the Jianli rescue effort. The families of those lost on the Eastern Star, most of whom were elderly, were not looking to disturb social stability. But now that their bereavement is being treated like criminal activity, how will they proceed?

Other disasters have made unlikely dissidents out of ordinary Chinese. When parents and others protested the shoddy construction of schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, some were jailed for their troubles. When families of New Year’s Eve revelers, who were trampled to death in Shanghai this past holiday, tried to commemorate their loved ones, police and censors converged. Back then, Chinese media were instructed to stick to state-sanctioned versions of events, a pattern that is being repeated with the Eastern Star sinking.

That has prompted some ferry relatives to speak anonymously to the press or to merely identify themselves by their last name. Yet again, personal tragedy was left submerged under the weight of preserving social stability.

TIME Economics

El Nino Could Cause Serious Trouble Across Asia

Aerial view of a flooded area in Trinida
Aizar Ralder—AFP/Getty Images Aerial view of a flooded area in Trinidad, Beni, Bolivia on Feb. 24, 2007. Authorities say two months of rain and floods left 35 people dead, 10 unaccounted for, and affected hundreds of thousands of people. The disaster, blamed on the "El Nino" weather phenomenon, also has caused millions of dollars in material losses.

Bad weather on the horizon

You may recall a time in the mid-1990s when American citizens were worried about El Niño, the tropical weather pattern that can cause global changes in temperature and rainfall. Now, according to a new Citigroup report, the next group to pin concerns to El Niño may be bankers.

The report, produced by Citi analysts Johanna Chua and Siddharth Mathur, suggests that the current El Niño (the weather anomaly takes places at unpredictable times, sometimes more than five years apart) could have a deleterious effect on economies in countries in and around Asia.

India, Thailand, The Philippines, and others, where agriculture contributes a major percentage of GDP, might see inflation in food prices, since a severe El Niño can brings dry spells and cause crop damage. In Indonesia, for example, the agriculture sector makes up more than 50% of overall employment.

In economies dependent on farming, long-lasting weather that upends crops will naturally impact farming output, and thus commodity pricing.

With these countries especially vulnerable to economic disruption, it may be more bad news that recent reports indicate we are about to see a particularly violent El Niño.

TIME Crime

Subject of Serial Podcast Gets a Break in His Case

A friend never called to testify at Adnan Syed's trial may get to speak

The central subject of the popular podcast ‘Serial’ received a break in favor of his case on Monday after an appeals court in Maryland ruled that his request for relief following his conviction can be reopened in a circuit court.

Adnan Syed, who was jailed after being convicted in 2000 of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, will receive a new hearing that could bring testimony from someone who was never called to testify at his original trial, the Huffington Post reports. The case of Syed, who has always maintained his innocence, gained notoriety after millions tuned into the ‘Serial’ podcast.

On Monday, the Maryland Court Of Special Appeals granted Syed’s request to have his case remanded to a circuit court, which could open the door for more review and possibly the testimony of Asia McClain, a high school friend who claimed to have seen Syed during the time authorities said he committed the murder, which could give him an alibi.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Syed’s attorneys have 45 days to file a motion in Baltimore Circuit Court requesting the hearing so McClain can testify.

TIME Asia

The Exodus of Rohingya Muslims

Thousands of migrants are believed to be at sea

Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Burma were spotted in the Andaman sea on Thursday as the exodus has fueled an intensifying migrant crisis.

At least 6,000 migrants from Burma and Bangladesh are believed to be at sea, and neighboring countries have become increasingly reluctant to take responsibility for them.

Earlier this week, more than 1,500 refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh landed ashore in Indonesia and Malaysia, but both countries say they plan to turn away other boats.

Meanwhile, a recent crackdown in Thailand on human smugglers may have led smugglers to abandon boatloads of refugees at sea. Though Thai forces provided food to one abandoned boat of migrants pictured above, the New York Times reports that it was unclear if the Thai navy would provide more help. Passengers said that the crew had abandoned them six days ago and that 10 people had died during the voyage, according to the Times.

Some 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis have fled their countries by sea in the first three months of 2015, according to the United Nations, or nearly twice as many as last year.

Read next: The Rohingya, Burma’s Forgotten Muslims by James Nachtwey

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