A nation in an economic boom and the loss of innocence.

Ours is a country that has been chronically poverty stricken – the poor here are more in number than any other specific group of people. It has always been thus and whoever says we were a rich country in the days of yore – is right to the extent that there were rich people then as there are now – but it  is the poor that made up the multitude. We were never rich and the our history is loaded with tales of when the rich kings and subedars and jagrirdars and other such feudal types robbed and pillaged the downtrodden with taxes that kept them poor.


And today we are in the midst of a boom – we are on the way to get rich – poverty isn’t the image any longer.  That is what the Americans call ‘drinkin’ your own koolaid’ – believing your own baloney; actually thinking that the lobbyist and the PR images are what it is all about. Sure there are a lot of people out there in the work force – there is a growth in the services sector driving the economy – yet the fact remains the majority are still poor – and poverty means a bit more than just the world bank definition of less than 1 US dollar a day. I believe it means the depredation and destitution and the desperation of existence when you have not even access to some basic rights of existence. Poverty is that feeling of not having anything – kind of like those images from Darfur, Sudan – site of a mass genocide and other such African images of Ethiopia like we saw during Live Aid.


Africa is rich in poverty at least the images and the landscapes and the desperation but then our country – has not really any less to offer. The distances between the haves and the have nots – a subject for much discussion among the political classes in the 1970s (when we were really poor as opposed to now – when we seem to be only fashionably so) is really not come down. Looking at indices like the world human development report from the UN actually puts a number to that destitution and off course it is not fun. We still have less doctors per person than does Cuba and of course they are much smaller and then size is our problem – but then why is not size our opportunity – whey don’t we just make so many doctors?


But there is an economic boom going out there at growth at 8% and above, yet when poverty ingrained at levels so deep hits an economic boom and  the luxuries of existence are all over the place there are bound to be interesting things happening – as have had happened in India. The growth of the ‘maoist revolution’ and their meaningless and agenda less nihilism (reminds one of the anarchists of yore in continental Europe) is today redrawing our country in distinct lines of the urban and the hinterland. The hinterlands are the badlands – where the law of nature, jungle; gun; Maoists and what have you s rule. If true development has to be made – the rebels out there – the badlands; the OBCs; the people under various names who are marginalized in every game must also be the ones getting some of the benefits of this economic boom that our country is so proud of.


And it is not a lot that they need – remember they are poor and just simple sustenance level things are enough. A little bit of fair governance; a little electricity; some telephone connectivity; land rights, micro finance at the lowest interest rates,  a government that cares and maybe a little bit of a computer and internet connectivity at the block and tehsil offices so that people could access the government extranet for land records; laws; etc. Funny thing is most of the infrastructure exists; sachets of shampoo made by a Anglo Dutch multinational and even the ubiquitous cola reach our interiors. Why then cannot good governance and a better life? The need to find the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid is now no longer just for the MNCs but also for the governments to build if our nation has to build on its greatness and harness its new found opportunities without disrupting our existences.

About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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