In Search of a New India

Oliver Munday for TIME

In search of a new India.

Not far from my home, across forests of acacia and groves of cashew, lies a canyon that cuts through the south Indian countryside. I used to play there when I was a boy. I remember a pristine canyon, deep and wrinkled and colored red from the iron oxide in the soil.

I recently went back to the canyon. It was not a pretty sight. A sprawling garbage dump had risen at its edge — plastic bags, rubber tires, beer cans and mineral-water bottles were strewn across the red soil. Clouds of smoke...

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