The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

INDIA IN SLUMS: ACCEPTING IT WOULDN'T DEMEAN US!

The Guardian reported that Indians are angry over the scenes of Indian slums in the movie ‘The Avengers’. I don’t know how come the reporter came to this conclusion and headlined the story like this quoting some so-called harbingers of the Indian pride. Honestly, I didn’t hear much buzz about it though many Indians saw the movie in the opening weekend as the opening figure of Rs. 11 crore tells.

But why this reaction at all?

When would we, a country of over a billion, be realistic about problems ready to send everything to the gallows?

And mind you, being realist is not about being hopeless or negativist. It is about being aware of where we are on the scale of human development and realizing the need to act swiftly.

India ranked 134 on the United Nations Human Development Index last year. We constantly perform poorly on various scales indicative of a developing human society like transparency, crime and gender sensitivity.

Why then, we don’t accept the reality bravely and start working to correct the wrongs?

It wouldn’t demean us. India of over a billion cannot do with some patches of glorious growth stories. Yes, the India Growth Story of post-1991 period is an achievement given the legacy of borrowed socialist economic culture of the past, but it is yet to deliver us on the path of ‘growth with parity’.

So if India is urbanizing rapidly, it is more about unplanned growth and compelled migration to the cities for livelihood and less about developing organized cities of future with civic amenities for everyone.

52.4 million Indians were living in slums according to Census 2001. It almost doubled to around 93 million in 2011. Now that is more than population figures of many countries.

Recently, the government of India upped the poverty line limit in terms of monetary expenditure. The new poverty line figures, Rs. 66.10 for urban areas and Rs. 35.10 for rural areas, put 65 per cent of the Indians below the poverty line.

It is true that there has been perceivable change in India’s image globally but that portrayal is basically about its larger market size and thus sustained growth figures in a ‘liberalizing’ economy, its bright spot areas like information technology, booming telecom sector, space research and defense capability.

The world still treats us poorly when it comes to the portrayal based on parameters of quality of life. And there are valid reasons.

We need to change the reasons behind the sick mentality of the slumdog tourism and convoluted but true imagery. 'Giving' is the finest human attribute when it is without any strings attached. It is just mediocrity when it is associated with feelings like ‘obliging’ or ‘looking down’.

And we give opportunity to such fellows by not attending to the basic issues. Every major city has large-area slums and their population has increased considerably. A report says Indian slum population is expected to grow at 5% adding two million more every year.

We react on silly issues like dress codes, moral codes and regional affiliations while manual scavenging remains a reality though it was banned in 1995. You can see it in Delhi. You can find it in some distant town.

Why can’t we, as a nation, work to bring a welfare state of holistic development?

It might to too idealistic and day-dreaming-like a thought, but, there is no other alternative then.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/