Uttar Pradesh is an Indian state that is obsessed with guns. Farmers own pistols, politicians distribute arms to their followers, school teachers feel unsafe without their own weapons.
Guns are a status symbol, and security in a poor and largely unpoliced state. Many weapons are hand made, beaten into rough shape by blacksmiths. But locals speak longingly of the sort of gun they would most like to own: A pistol that is “Made in Germany.”
Meanwhile, 600 kilometers north in the capital New Delhi, politicians are looking at ways to clean up the Ganges river; a holy, myth-laden and deeply polluted waterway that flows through India from the Himalayas.
They are also looking to Germany. The Rhine river, also shrouded in myth and part of Germany’s national identity, was once fouled, but an initiative in the 1990s has made it one of the cleanest waterways in the world.
When India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, came to visit Germany in August she spoke enthusiastically about how her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier had offered to help India improve the Ganges.