Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nothing to Be Proud Of

A friend had posted this article recently. At the time I thought it overly pessimistic. Now Iam not so sure.

I had occasion to go on a train journey recently. The one thing that struck and saddened me was the abject poverty. Little children sweeping carriages for a small coin, old people shivering in the early morning cold begging from people half their age, mothers cradling children to cajole money or food from the coldest hearted. Clearly they had not heard about the newest Asian tiger, poised to become the third largest economy in the world by 2025.

Insulated as Iam in the city life I live, these scenes were stark reminders. True, there are beggars in the city too, but I have all along dismissed them as opportunists, out to make a fast buck. But these were the real people of India. Mahatma Gandhi said, "India lives in its villages". This may come as surprise to Manmohan and co but the Mahatma's India is still poor, living a hand to mouth existence thankful if for one night it does not need to go to bed unfed.

I buy a shirt for Rs 800 and marvel at the new spending power of the Indian Middle Class. I go to Coffee Day , pay Rs 100 for two cups of coffee and sing paens to Globalisation. I switch on CNBC , hear the experts toasting to the Indian success story and bask in the reflected glory. On the way to office in my car, I come across street urchins rummaging in the garbage. I look the other way, preferring to see the gleaming buildings by the roadside, heralding India's arrival on the IT scene.

p.s : I had started this post immediately after the Vizag trip, but feel unable to complete this. Too pessimistic. But sadly enough , this is nothing but the truth.


redwaterstew said...

great to see you back after a vacation. Looks like gods own country ( devils own people) has introduced a tinge of socialism in you. or is it the ammavan effect now that you need him

Sachin R K said...

@redwaterstew - tsk , tsk you are too cynical :P . I liked the 'devils own people' prayogam :)