The gleaming new image of India with the Commonwealth Games and a false show of gallop towards an incredible future will be true only when we weed out poverty and disease within our people.
THE SENTINEL of Indian history Qutab Minar was rising majestically from the morning reef of clouds. Sleek and long cars had begun to zip through the Mehrauli-Badarpur (MB) Road. All kinds of traffic were making its presence felt at various speeds.
On the left side there is Saket a posh colony, a residential complex of parvenus and arriving big-shots; on the rights are some clustered hamlets of have-nots of Syed-ul-Ajaib – a township or village which has seen the rise and fall of Chauhans, Ghories, Slave dynasty, Khiljis, Lodhis and Mughals. Every dynasty has left it marks in this area skirting the famed Aravali Ridge.
Here, the M B Road makes a clean divide between the rich and the poor, demarcates between the haves and have-nots and speaks between those, who have taken their morning shower from the scented waters and those who are waiting with empty chattels for the municipal water supply tanker.
The less-miserables don’t know the difference between the water that comes in patented bottles or the clear liquid they get and can call it water. For them the tanker is a blessing of God and gift from Sheila Dikshit and they have always been thankful for that. Hope, fear and gratitude, all reflexes, clearly reflect in their eyes as they wait for the arrival of this bounty of nature and government.
The morning was no different, the denizens of Indira Camp were waiting for the water supply vehicle of Delhi Jal Board. At 6.30am when the tanker reached, the water seekers gathered around it.
Like a pack of wolves the impatient crowd boarded the truck to reach the pipes as quickly as they could. They climbed the tanker from every side. One of those desperate climber was a fourteen years old boy Ali Asghar. On seeing the huge rush and scramble for water, the driver started moving the truck.
At this point Ali Asghar lost the balance and fell from the vehicle. He came under its wheel and died on the spot. Later, the local people blocked the traffic for over two hours to show their indignation. Life of a teenager was lost for few drops of water. That is the story of a poor boy! That is the story of a India that is shining.
The question is whether India’s need of the hour is to impress the foreigners or face the harsh realities of the pangs of the underprivileged, and of the poor whose margins are small; who live on one square meal; whose survival or death is related to the Delhi Jal Board water supply vehicle? It is of no use joining modern industrialised nations with the swanky new airport terminals, when,, here in the national capital, we can’t properly provide the basic needs of life.
The gleaming new image of India with the Commonwealth Games and a false show of an incredible future will be true only when we weed out poverty and disease within our people. Dressing a sick entity in bright new colours is like painting a crumbling edifice to make it look brand new. It is of no use!