A billion dollar enterprise entertained us for last few weeks. Like a wholesome food, IPL was a wholesome entertainment. Though cricket is the main product on sale there, it is the accessories that make it much more interesting. Sacking of a central minister, tweets, cheerleaders, Zoo-Zoos, MRF blimp, Harbhajan catching Nita Ambani and so on. The only other Indian item to match such a wholesome entertainment was Gunda the greatest movie ever. Though movie was the main package there it was the fan following and activities inspired by Gunda that made it much more entertaining.
When we look at IPL or at the sea-link, we feel proud. Our TV Channels as well as our leaders (who are not very different from cheer leaders except that they are ugly) are busy telling us how these are the signs of our strong economy and growing power. Soon, somewhere around 2020 we will be a superpower. So we are told. I don’t remember when was the last time we met some deadline but let’s be hopeful.I am sure we will be a unique superpower with around 800million people living below Rs 100 per day income. Thats quite a lot I feel. Rs. 100 will be sufficient for that person to buy a mobile top-up and access Internet using 3G (if at all the auction is over by that time).
Here is a story of where India stands today.I have picked it from GovernanceNow magazine. I don’t think I need to elaborate on it but it tells me what kind of superpower we will be around 2020.
Rani Devi Patel, 40, has become a faceless statistical figure in the records of Kunda police station in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. Like 62 others, she was crushed to death in the stampede at the Kripalu Maharaj trust’s ashram at Mangarh village on March 4. She had gone to collect freebies that the trust had promised to distribute on the death anniversary of the Swami wife. But her story is unlike that of the others.At the age of 16, she got married only to be rejected by her husband. She came back to her uncle Bindeshwari in Kusemar village, adjacent to Mangarh. She found another companion who, after a few years of living together, turned her out. Rani was left to fend for herself for over a decade. On March 4, she found, in the distribution of freebies by the trust, an opportunity to lay her hands on something for survival. Freebies included a thali, a gamchha (cotton towel), one laddoo and Rs 10. For a woman living the life of a rejected outcast, that meant a lot.
But she died outside the gate when thousands pressed her frail body against the iron gate of the trust and ran over her. Yet, in her death, the much-despised Rani has become the darling of her two unknown husbands, her brother and an uncle who are all running around to claim the compensation for the deceased. In her death, Rani will fetch around Rs 5.5 lakh to her rightful heir. In a queer twist of irony, now all of them swear by the woman who they spurned forcing her to live the life of a destitute. The compensation has not been disbursed because of the dispute among the various claimants.
Even more poignant is the death of Kavita Yadav, an 18-year-old girl of the same village. She was very young when her mother was killed by her father Kamlesh, who was subsequently sentenced by the court. She was brought up by her maternal uncle Rajaram. On March 4, she skipped her school to collect the freebies. However, her body was brought home by Rajaram who performed the last rites. But as compensation for the deceased was announced, her father Kamlesh resurfaced to claim his right over Rs 5.5 lakh. [Source]
Such desperate poverty can only be seen the countries where governance does not exist or the ruler is a dictator. For a country like India, which has enough natural resources and potential of all kinds, it really takes enormous efforts to keep people so desperately poor. Thankfully the Nehru Gandhi family have spent over half a century in ensuring that they make it happen. The sacrifices that this family has made to keep the nation so desperately poor is beyond any verbal description.
No point the chest beating in the family’s name. People got what they deserved. If the people themselves were not ready to subject themselves to this desperation there was not way for the family to force poverty on them. But people preferred “Atit ke Niv Par Bhavshya ki ummid” and “to keep communal forces at bay” and “victory to secularism” and so on.