Monday, August 15, 2005

Independence day irony

A couple of days before Independence Day, the vendors and street urchins who sell lemon-chillies and balloons at traffic signals shift to selling flags and other such memorabilia. In fact they also have moved up the value chain from selling just flags to decorative pieces.
In the few seconds that car onwner gets, he decides either to buy it as a token or really muses what this country has given him. Especially with the Mumbai floods, his view on the country's progress would have taken a nosedive. I would not be surprised if this year flag sales in Mumbai have been lower than last year.
The impact of the vicious circle is so cruel. The people who have been most affected by the floods are the ones making flags, paav, dabbas etc which keep Mumbai running. But the epidemic scare has made people wary of buying dabbas and other stuff coming from places most affected by floods. Thus the affected people face a double whammy. Loss of savings/property plus loss of livelihood due to lower business.
Patriotism still continues to be sold by the people who are the most afflicted by poverty,malnutrition and other problems plaguing India to the people who have benefitted by the globalized and relatively better India. The people living in slums were the first to help the people trapped in cars during teh deluge. The car owners can say they pay high taxes which the government fails to utilize properly, but can they say that slums need to be removed so that faster highways enable better cars to zoom. I believe if this divide is not addressed soon we are going to see an alarming rise in crime or public violence. Just look at the stares when one stands in the separate line for first class to book a railway pass when there is a line of 25 at Andheri station. You will know what I am talking about.


At 11:40 PM, Blogger Shivaji said...

Yes, the poor also vote more, listen to political leaders more, and participate in rallies more.....
It feels guilty to be somewhat well-off when so many are having such a tough life...
On a lighter note, why do we always blame the government for the bad things and always credit the gods for the good things?

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Parth said...

Hmm, the risk of the divide!!! I suppose NDA already learnt the lesson of ignoring the poor the hard way. Whether that will make any difference is a debatable issue though.

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