The Two India

The last three to four days has been an awesome time for India and its image as a growing business and entertainment hub. We had the glamour and excitement of the Formula One sporting event coming to India. Along with this came business worth billions of dollar and even jobs for the upwardly mobile Indian youths of our metros. Then accompanying the F-I event, we have had international music artists like Lady Gaga and Metallica coming to perform. A more prosperous India found in the metros and State capitals can well afford to buy tickets (out of reach for most Indians), travel and stay in hotels to witness the glitterati. Even our Bollywood stars and other rich and famous people had plenty to be excited about besides not to forget the parties thrown in to complete this show business. And without the media what is show business anyway—so our rich and famous enjoy all the adulation even though many of them want to be known as media shy. But we should not forget that this is only a small part of India. In contrast to this opulence, we also have the bigger India where poverty, disease, illiteracy, corruption etc stalk the land. When there is a media blitz like the one we saw over the weekend, the real picture of India can often become distorted. Hopefully as the bright lights and music die down after all the excitement is over, we will wake up to the reality of the other India where even the basic needs of food, cloth and shelter is still a distant dream for many.         
There is nothing wrong in having two India. It will be idealistic for us to expect a classless society or where everyone is equal. Yes we may idealize that ‘all men are born equal’ but we cannot escape the fact that all men are born into different situation/s. Some are more fortunate than the other. Having said this, the more realistic way to look at things, is to bridge the gap between the rich-poor, educated-uneducated, healthy-unhealthy etc. So while we cannot treat everyone equally, the basic premise in which we should go about things is to provide at the least the ‘equality of opportunities’. The constitution of India is a remarkable piece of document where safeguards have been provided to bridge this gap and provide a helping hand to the weaker section of the people. We have the policy of protective discrimination (reservation) in place for the last more than 60 years. The right to education has been made into a fundamental right. A plethora of welfare measures and government programmes have been formulated for the benefit of the downtrodden. It is now obvious that India has a compassionate constitution and forward looking policies and programmes to look after the poor. But after decades of independence India still finds itself confronting the old problems of poverty, disease and illiteracy. The fruits of development have not reached the masses. With a big government, plethora of programmes and massive funds, governance must improve tenfold if justice is to be done to the values and ideals mentioned in its constitution.