The last post got me some good comments and I just had to include something again on the issue. India is not poor. Period. I agree there is a lot of gap between the rich and the poor but if I am not mistaken, isnt it pretty much the same in most other countries? You cannot convince me that there are no poor people in the US, Norway or any other rich country. Exchange values of currency are not to be taken here.
Just two days ago, I saw this cute little girl in the city bus station balancing on a thin rope with a vessel on her head. Her brother was beating a drum and an older lady was appealing to the onlookers to spare a few rupees. Standing just a few feet away was this lady with a few gold chains around her neck, with thick bangles on her wrist, giggling away with her companion. The scene ought to be very disturbing, but it ceases to make an impact. You learn to look away and spare the child no more than a momentary thought, if at all.
There are high raise multi-million rupees apartments next to dirty slums, an underage child helps the daughter of her mistress get ready to go to a posh school, a mother dances away the night in the company of drunk men, not to satiate her lust (or theirs), but to feed her two children whom she tucked into bed in the back room, who will wake up hungry the next day. We know all this. We have stopped reading about it in the media, simply because it is not news anymore. You cannot ignore reality.
Like I said, throughout my tour, I saw the poorest of the poor. The modern theorists, we learnt in class, blame the individual for the condition he is in with out considering the social conditions that lead to that stage. These people were almost fatalistic. It is unfortunate that I did not get to talk to some of them and find out more. You could almost call it a revelation like that of Che in Motorcycle Diaries, though not resulting in any drastic change on my part.
India will change, I shall believe in that. The will of the people, along with very strong political initiative, is the only way to ensure that.