Ravindra Misal: Trying to help some of India’s poor and caste-restricted young (and himself) achieve upward mobility by beginning to learn the ways of those in higher strata of society

by Anand Giridharadas

Ravindra Misal–leading the revolution in Umred, a small Indian town. The NYT reporter came to the  town  to write about a riot, and he discoverd Misal. A few months earlier, power blackouts that rural Indians always suffered silently triggered a violent reaction in Umred. Why? Umred was just another small town in the middle of nowhere, dusty and underwhelming. But Umred had begun to dream, townspeople told me, because of television, because of cousins with tales of call-center jobs and freedom in the city. Once Umred contracted ambition, blackouts became intolerable.  Photo: Bharat Sikka/New York Times

I came to Umred to write about a riot. A few months earlier, power blackouts that rural Indians always suffered silently triggered a violent reaction. Why? Umred was just another small town in the middle of nowhere, dusty and underwhelming. But Umred had begun to dream, townspeople told me, because of television, because of cousins with tales of call-center jobs and freedom in the city. Once Umred contracted ambition, blackouts became intolerable. A psychological revolution, a revolution in expectations, had taken place.