The disparity between the two sides of India is appalling, to say the least. One side is witnessing sky-rocketing growth, while the other side is ebbing away. The India of today needs to be transformed into a powerful ‘people’s India of tomorrow’.
RECENTLY, FORBES came out with a list of the richest billionaires in the world. For the first time in its history, four Indians figure amongst the top ten. The rankings clearly show that India is a dominating player in the world market and India is where all foreign investments are headed. Another set, which ranked the dirtiest cities of the world featured Mumbai and the national capital New Delhi. These contrasting rankings made me wonder which way the real India is headed.
On one hand, India is the fastest growing economy in the world and on the other it is still one of the poorest countries of the world. On the one hand, we have the ‘Incredible India’ campaigns running all over the world particularly in America and the UK and on the other even our best cities are among the world’s worst. On the one hand, we complain of racism whenever we migrate to the western countries, but here in our own backyard, the Biharis and migrants from Uttar Pradesh are being driven out of Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. The graph of India resembles a periodic sine wave where highs as well as lows occur periodically.
Take the tourism industry of our country. Cleary, if you were to go by advertisements then India is indeed a heaven on our planet. But when foreign tourists visit a city even in modern Goa, we cannot guarantee security; the chief minister himself admits that foreign tourists should be careful in Goa. Every state in India has come up with its own promotional plans to woo the foreign tourists. But whenever foreign tourists visit India, they get a bit anxious about their own safety.
This is one of the most beautiful places in the world – the unexplored regions of the North East, the backwaters of Kerala, the cold desert of Ladakh and the enchanting Ajanta Ellora caves in Maharashtra. But where is the infrastructure to take the tourists to such places? Thus every visitor has lots to say about nature’s delight but always adds, “if only the government had done a bit more for the tourists!”
None of the Indians should ever complain of racism, for what we face in our country is much worse than racism. A young Dalit boy is beaten to death for drawing water from the same well that the upper castes draw water from. The number of backward classes has increased since independence and exploitation of the people on the basis of caste is prevalent in almost all the rural pockets of our country. In Mumbai, the most developed and the most modern city of the country, migrants from different parts are beaten up and driven out – all because they have migrated from a different part of the country.
Why should have Mahatma Gandhi complained when he was thrown off the train at Petermaritzburg station in South Africa when apartheid was in vogue? Almost a century later, migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are being beaten up in trains by the goons of a political party. And make no mistake: Raj Thackeray is a very shrewd man; he is following in Bal Thackeray’s footsteps, though he plans to go further. The problem is that Maharashtrians have a history of capitulating to such theatrics. Dividing the country on the basis of caste, religion or now region has become the political mantra not just in Maharashtra but also in many of the states in India.
In the budget presented a few months back, Chidambaram gave away largesse worth Rs 60,000 crores to the suffering farmers of the country. A few days later, a village in the suicide belt of Vidarbha wants to sell itself off, for, the FM’s money cannot benefit it. Debt waiver is for marginal and small farmers, with less than five acres of land. But, in this village, most of the farmers have land-holdings in excess of that, at least on paper.
Jesus once said, “ To those who have, more will be given and those who have little, even whatever they have will be taken away from them.” Probably this is applicable to the people of our country where the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen.
Image Courtesy: dsrfoundation.org/images/poverty.jpg