“India is a rising global power”, “India is the next big thing”, “India Shining” these are few proclamations being made about India for the last few years. But, India shining? Which of the two India’s is shining? Confused? I am talking about the large divide and gap between the ever talked about urban India and the never talked about rural India.
India is rising and how? One look at the branded stores like McDonald’s, Levis, KFC, Tag Huer, Reebok, Adidas, various other luxury brands in Mumbai, Delhi or other cities and no one can argue that we indeed have come a long way since 1947. High rise buildings, metros, high class airports, five star hotels, multiplexes and pubs coming up everyday- urbanisation, globalisation, India shining, these are terms synonyms with the urban India – the obvious grounds for development. Sensex is rising, economy is booming and India is making its mark in global scenario.
But should we measure wealth of a nation only in economic terms? Amidst all this though what about the “other” India? – The India which is often neglected and ignored. For someone who can’t afford two squares of meal – what does India shining mean to him / her? For someone who can’t send his kids to a primary school or for someone who doesn’t have electricity in his / her village — how does it matter how much the sensex rises? When Indian’s living in villages are deprived of basic amenities like electricity, food, water and education, how does a high GDP help common man fetch food? Rahul Gandhi had once said, “There are two India’s — Ameeron ki Hindustan (India of the rich) whose voices reach everywhere, and the Garibon ka Hindustan (India of the needy and deprived) whose voices are seldom heard. We can’t agree more with him.
Decades after independence, what has really changed in our country and what has been stagnant? Why is the gap between the rich and the poor poles apart and still widening day by day? The poor is being marginalized in the cities for ‘development’. Slums after slums come up in the outskirts after millions are being displaced under development. The lifestyle is booming in the cities where people are experiencing the change in life style. But the biggest question is that is this applicable when we talk about the rural part of the Country.
“Who you are, where you are, and what you do?” matters a great deal in India today! If you belong to new urban India, you are experiencing a lifestyle you never dreamed of. If you belong to the age old rural India, you are experiencing a deprivation you never imagined. The gaps are just gigantic and they are growing. It’s not a cliché; rich are getting richer, poor poorer. It a two-nation divide – “Vastly different lifestyles, vastly different living standards, vastly different basic needs and vastly different levels of stress and distress”, two vastly different worlds Indian’s are living in. It’s high time that we try and merge these two worlds into one so that India grows and develops as “one”………..