Teenager dies collecting potable water in the heart of Delhi

Teenager dies collecting potable water in the heart of Delhi

Teenager dies collecting potable water in the heart of Delhi

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!

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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I wasn’t also invited at Chelsea’s wedding

Chelsea-Clinton

Chelsea-Clinton

God has made us all equal. Chelsea is not only Clintons’ daughter but ours also. And if I’m not mistaken, you were the most devoted and ardent supporter of Bill Clinton when we had Monica Lewinsky dominating the world media.

I AM really fortunate to have a better half, who knows about all my acts of omissions and commissions in life at least after our marriage. She is the home minister, finance minister and foreign minister.

Naturally, with the blight of recession, inflation and Commonwealth Games our resources, like every middle class or lower middle class Indian are strained if not torn apart at the seams. I don’t remember exactly when did I purchase my last vest and the present vest has been washed and stone-washed so many times that it has become an excellent example of smart ventilation or air-management system.

So when I announced this morning that today, and by today I mean this today, and by time I mean right now this time I‘m going to venture out to purchase a cow-boy shirt, a Texas style jeans and a new vest, no one in the house believed me, not my wife at least.

“Why not shoes and underwear ?” she asked in her usual sarcasm. “Rough shoes go well with American-Style jeans and underwear is not a big issue; it’s a very personal matter.” I tried to match the intensity of her incisive remark.

“And how’re you going to stand this treat ?” She fired back as she knows all my income. She is well aware that I’m not blessed with any talent of a Godman or policeman and nothing can make a dent in my economic status for the better till God so desires.

“My old friend from US has send me some money to look for a land to put up a business premises. He will come to India after performing his pilgrimage. I’m sure he will understand the situation and as he is in possession of a kind heart he would allow me some years to pay him back. By that time my eldest son would be on the job. We should never lose faith. Hope is the only refuge of victor or vanquished alike.”

“Your idea isn’t bad. However, patience usually runs thin when it comes to money matters. But, I’m catching here a different scent in this fry darling ! Your cow-boy ideas suggest that you got an invitation from Clinton’s to attend the weddining of Chelsea ?” That proves my earlier statement that my wife knows me better than I know myself. She is a philosopher, thinker, a planner and a strategist. She knows about the gap between rich and poor, between privileged and underprivileged and haves and have-nots, between her husband and Bill Clinton.

Being a man of honour I refuse to accept the supremacy of her intellect before her.

“We’re poor because you’re poor in managing our resources like our dear Sharad Pawar. I have always worked hard to make this house happy. You don’t know how to keep the food from rotting when electricity comes like good weather. You don’t want the kids to go to municipal school or Angan Wari where they even arrange the feasts of Khichdis and other sumptuous treats. Its not always that kids get sand, any other foreign particle or a mini-reptile in food. We could have something at least. You’re an ardent religious lady but you want to send your kids to elite nurseries.

Its sheer hypocrisy. You don’t know how to manage this house !” I delivered a homily or spewed the pent up venom with a good excuse and for a good cause. That should have silenced her for a while and could have put her out of wits. Unfortunately, like our great ex-sport minister Mani Shankar Iyer she was determined to make her statement:

“ Thirty five per cent of Indian population lives on less than $1 a day, which is comparable to Bangladesh’s 36 per cent and much worse than Pakistan’s 17 per cent. The World Bank reported that India is 12th wealthiest nation in 2005 with its GDP touching 785.47 billion dollars or Rs 35,34,615 crore . US is the wealthiest nation with GDP of 12.46 trillion dollars. While India was way down compared to China, positioned fourth with 2.23 trillion dollars of GDP, it was wealthier than Mexico, Russia and Australia. So, my dearest husband, please don’t make an ostentatious rhetoric or display of our poverty or your incompetence. These days the gape between rich and poor is decreasing faster than the DTC bus. We shall overcome one day.”

Then came an stroke of epiphany. “I’m sure, any moment someone will knock at the door and hand-over to you a return ticket for USA. They will make you a show-piece of milk of human kindness, an example that people care; a proof of the statement on US Dollar “In God We Trust.”

God has made us all equal. Chelsea is not only Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter but our’s also. And if I’m not mistaken, you were the most devoted and ardent supporter of Bill Clinton when we had Monica Lewinsky dominating the world media. The President is not a thankless man. I’m sure I might have an issue or two with his wife but they could have nothing against an innocuous entity like you. You’re going to go to White House. Enogh was enough. I decided to be a loving husband of the real life.

“Darling, they haven’t invited even Obamas to the wedding. Didn’t you hear what the poor President of USA said the other day – I was not invited to the wedding because I think Hillary and Bill, properly, want to keep this thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband.”

Life doesn’t move according to our dictates after all !
We can explain certain situation but often we don’t even understand them.

“You don’t want two presidents at one wedding. All the secret service, guests going through (metal detectors), all the gifts being torn apart,” he added jocularly. Clinton’s Vice President Al Gore, celebrities Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner will also not be attending Chelsea’s marriage to her investment-banker boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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