Sunday, January 08, 2006

The homeless

I met a homeless woman at a shelter recently. She had been abandoned by her husband after he married a much younger woman. She had three kids from ages 2 to 5. She had lost a four-month baby to Delhi's cold. But she was proud of the fact that her kids were going to school. She was happy to be able to sleep in the shelter at night. She was absurdly grateful to the people who had arranged the shelter. What gives her the right to be grateful for so little? Why is she grateful and not resentful? Why does she accept a system where the keepers of law are her biggest predators? Why do we talk about India's booming economy when the state had failed a quarter of its population abysmally at every level--be it health, law and order, livelihood, basic living conditions. How dare we talk about India shining, when India is most definitely not shining, at least not for Yasmin and her children.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Payal said...

There you have it - the real face of India. And they want us to believe that we need more malls and more discos!

2:44 PM  
Anonymous hathirpithi said...

I think the discos and malls are as real as poverty. The point is that it is easy to forget the poverty when the gloss increases and that isnot quite the right thing to do. Malls have a role to play, but poverty exists too and we have become seemingly blind to that fact.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Meghna said...

Thank you for expressing what people see and turn a blind eye to everyday of their lives...Poverty in India is a reality that people choose to ignore.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous hathirpithi said...

Hey Meghana good to hear from you after so long. There is also something called a "delhi stare." When some beggar comes knocking on your window at a crossing you just look straight ahead pretending s/he doesn't exist.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Nitu said...

There is hope in her optimism. If the woman with all her woes can find something to be proud about,India is indeed shining. She enshrines a spirit that is truly Indian....India may not be shining but hey, Rome was not built in a day. So let's look at what we have achieved while recognising we do have a very long way to go.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous hathirpithi said...

I am not denying India's growth or that it has actually reduced the number of people below the poverty line. It has done so undeniably. I think the state has failed Yasmin, but there are private organiastions that are stepping in to fill the void. People like Yasmin should demand more and the media needs to remember people like Yasmin, which it increasingly does not these days, enamoured as it is by the page 3 set.

8:28 PM  

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