Once I saw on the Grand road bridge in Mumbai, police driving away the homeless who had sprawled tents to make their humble dwellings. The police were charging the people with lathis and were throwing their aluminum utensils meant for cooking, plastic pots meant to fetch water from the public taps, their ragged clothes, worn straw mats on which they stretched themselves in the night, into the garbage bin. I saw them pleading to the police to spare them; none of them were spared nor their pauper tents. There are millions of people in our country like the ones I mentioned above, who does not have a place to sleep- who sleep on the pavements and roads; there are millions who sleep in one room chawls. In places like Mumbai or Delhi, there are families as big as a dozen or a score who live (cramped) in a 100 sqft. area or less than that. They eat, sleep, answer their nature’s calls, copulate, and entertain within this limited space. There are millions of people in our country who can’t afford to have a one time meal. There are millions of lower middle class people who struggle to make their both ends meet. Rickshaw pullers, scavengers, chaprazis, scrap pickers, beggars constitute the major chunk of Indians. Does any one in this country care?
We also have people with family as small as four members living in buildings as large as 30 floors, 150m tall, and 1500000 sqft. in a congested city like Mumbai. The area as large as this could have normally accommodated a 1000 families otherwise. Then, as somebody said with pride- that’s life style! Phew! The so called educated middle-class are proud of the sprawling bungalows and mansions of the fat-cats that showcases style and grandeur. We like their life style, we like the way they carry themselves. We love to watch them pass in their Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz. We love their expensive watches and glittering suits that worth lakhs, we get a sense of ecstasy by watching them as if watching a larger than life Rajnikanth movie. We hate people living in single rooms and pavements. Those people let us down by displaying our poverty to other countries. We want our country to be known by the billionaires who amass wealth in exponents. Whether they multiply their money diluting the policies of the national government or whether they change national budgets in their favour or whether they multiply their funds by causing losses amounting to billions to the exchequer is not a botheration for us. We want to stand tall and say that we have more billionaires than the U.S. or China. We want to say that we will be the second biggest economy in 2040. We don’t care about the people (an alarming 35% of India’s population is Below Poverty Line) who live under poverty! What if we have 60% under poverty by 2040, we don’t care, we just want more billionaires and want to become the second biggest economy with a sizable population under poverty! Is this the India that our forefathers who fought sacrificing their life against the British, envisaged? Where has Nehru’s socialist principles gone? The so-called socialist and the communists have already sold themselves to people once they despised as monopolistic gentries.
The poverty alleviation program that started during Jawaharlal Nehru’s period is still running without any result, in fact the percentage of poor have only increased. Why are any of the members in the Parliament talking about tackling poverty (except for Mr.Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who incidentally doesn’t belong to any political party)? Why are the poor and their problems never given importance? What are the programs for the poorest of poor, what are the projects for the homeless? No one knows because every political party are only interested in obliging to the corporates who enrich their funds in crores periodically. The political parties and the so-called national media is silent on the heinous offenses committed by the corporates for obvious reasons. Some corporate brothers are fighting for oil fields as if they are fighting for toys as they did in their childhood. They are fighting for Government resources as if they have inherited the country. They buy officials and journalists and finish off people who disagree with them. Journalist are paid to write eulogies on them. Those who think of nailing them die in air accidents. The educated middle class youth wants to identify themselves with these rogues, without being aware that they have immersed themselves in a false sense of pride. The 2G scam saw Tata causing almost Rs.60000 crores loss to the exchequer according to CAG, the reliance under the shield of swan also could have caused an equal amount of loss to the exchequer if not more. An amount as big as Rs. 175000 crores could have helped in developing programs for eradicating poverty or building houses for the homeless or tackiling redundancy. What is the difference between Dawood Ibrahim and these corporates? Dawood Ibrahim did illegal business without the support of the law and these guys are allowed to indulge in malpractices in the name of business legally; that’s the only difference and although there is no religious terrorism, however, that is made up by crimes that in no means are lesser than terrorism. Do not ever blame the systems, the systems, law and constitution have been made in the right way, it is the people who don’t follow the systems. When Lalith Modi was criticized, one of the progressive Indian lady from London asked me,” Why are you people so cynical? Why are you so much prejudiced? Modi has done the nation proud” ( as if IPL eradicated poverty and created jobs in enormity). He was doing the nation proud by showing that we are the record holders for swindling. He had to abscond because he was not as powerful as some of our corporates. Having said that, I must say that all the corporates aren’t like the above; there are people like Narayan Murthy of Infosys who still lives in a 2-3 bedroom apartment or Azim Premji of Wipro, who hit the news for his achievements in business rather than any pompous or extravagant life styles or interfering in budgets and ministry formations.
If the young people who think that few malls, flyovers and luxurious cars plying on the road make a country developed, they are wrong. A country becomes developed when the living index goes up and not when Obama declares India as developed or by the things mentioned above, that means the poverty in the country should be reduced to a meager. This country will go to dogs if the Governments (UPA, NDA or ABCD) doesn’t stop functioning at the behest of certain corporates. Straightforward politicians are a rarity, but there are few of them, who should join hands and stop this country from rotting and looting. Everyone knows what had happened to Pakistan, the Army has been running a parallel Government there and the people are suffering. We shouldn’t allow a parallel government to operate in the form of corporates. We want to have the Government- OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE and FOR THE PEOPLE.
picture courtesy: easydriveforum.com, slightlymorethandirt
The rich-poor divide : Tony Novak
The rich-poor divide : Tony Novak