Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Half Marathon – Delhi

It was a strange juxtaposition of images on the television. They riveted me to my seat. Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario 1: On the one hand the wealthy designer-track-suit wearing, health conscious city slickers from Delhi (which included film stars like Priyanka Chopra and Gulshan Grover and sports stars such as Rahul Dravid), running to shed a few kilos of the fat they have accumulated from conspicuous eating. The event: The Half Marathon in Delhi on Sunday the 28th of October 2007 where they ran for 21.1 kilometers. These were the people who had money and material wealth and bred expensive dogs in their houses to which they would feed food worth thousands.

Scenario 2: On the other hand, on the same day, 25,000 impoverished tribal people - original inhabitants of India - who marched 340 kilometers on foot to demand a “National Land Reform Policy.” This marathon of foot was called “Janadesh Yatra.” Increasingly they have been isolated in their under-developed areas, and even evicted without compensation for building dams, roads, power plants, and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which benefit the class of people mentioned in scenario 1. They came with plastic sacks on their heads, in clothes that were hardly designer, and slept on the streets, where the rich man’s dog would do poo-poo.

They held aloft flags. The desperation was visible on a man’s face as he said:

“खाने को रोटी नही, खेती नही, पानी नही.”

No rotis to eat, no land, no water.

Considering these two scenarios, considering the tragedy that India has become, where every man is supposed to be free and given the inherent rights to a home and a decent way of living, I weep tears of despair.

What happened in Nandigram and in Singur is being repeated in many part of the country. If India is to be divided into Special Economic Zones for the rich and wealthy, and the impoverished villages where only a few buses stop every day, one might as well divide the country into two: the rich India (let’s call it Amir India) and the poor India (let’s call it the Garib India).

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Geets said...

The Great Indian Divide indeed!!!

John said...

Hi Geets,

How true. Thanks for the comment!