Thursday 21 March 2013

The great Indian divide; the haves and have nots

The great Indian divide; the haves and have nots

Hi friends its good to be back from a trip to Mangalore.  The journey of 17 hours by Airavat (a bus service by Karnataka State Transport) was hectic and tiring but one of the things I noticed going from Mumbai to Mangalore was the great Indian divide.  I have read in many newspapers, watched intellectuals speak over TV and had several arguments with friends and colleagues but have had never seen the stark reality of the wide chasm that exists between the rural and urban India.

As soon as the bus moved out of the Pune towards Karnataka, the earth seemed barren, the buildings had all but disappeared.  In place of building there stood mud and brick huts, there were no Malls and shopping plaza's.  In their place stood just shacks and sheds.  The roads are just mud paths and dirt roads in many parts of Karnataka. There is no street lighting in much of the state.  Where it is existent, the poles have a fluroscent light or a small halogen lamp.   The roads are bad and bumpy.  The only saving grace is that you get to see many beautifully constructed temples and masjids along the way.  Maybe the people are putting their money into religious beliefs more then developmental issues.

Why is this happening in a developing country, where in Mumbai, it is often an eyesore to see so many buildings, one often competing with other in terms of height and the most high tower that I could seen in Karnataka was a BSNL tower.   I was in Karnataka for around 38 hours out of which at least 20 hours were spent with a power cut.  It is quite common to have power cuts as many as 5 times in a day in Karnataka.

Though the land in Karnataka is fertile, the people are simply poor. They may be happy with their lifestyle as the standard of living is extremely low, you get to taste the vegetable grown in you own back yard and the basic necessities are pretty cheap.    But the question remains.  Why this great Indian divide?  

One year ago I had gone to Narendra Modi's Gujarat and to my surprise, even the remotest place their had good roads, full time electricity,and the people seemed generally happy.  

So why can't Karnataka be a Mumbai or Gujarat.  This question came back to haunt me.  Karnataka has been in a political mess since the government of Yeddy was dismissed.  Even before, the mining barons of Shimoga were having a field day while the rest of the state was in a mess.  The present government doesn't seem to care about the development issues.  It is pretty much worried about is own fate given the precarious majority it has in the state.  What surprised me more was that Bharitya Janata Party (BJP) who is giving good governance in many of the states of India and whose motto is good governance has failed so terribly in Karnataka.   The growth rate for 2011-12 has already slipped to 6.4 % and this year it is not looking good either.  When states like Bihar are churning out 12 % plus growth, Karnataka is far far behind.  It will take a leader of total dedication and commitment to lift the people of Karnataka out of the poverty and into the life of development.

The elections are schedule on May 5th, 2013 across the state.  I hope the people of Karnataka use their sanity and choose the right leader to lead them for next five years.

Till the time states like Karnataka are really developed with good infrastructure, good roads, no power cuts, the question of the divide will continue to haunt me.  May good governance be the sole criteria for choosing the leaders.

Vijay Prabhu

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  1. disqus_fXPhzJDPF621 March 2013 at 22:03

    I don't agree with your views.

    Still there r many villages in and near mumbai or gujarat state which r facing the same situation and there r many villages where peoples r not getting drinking eater which is basic need of a human to survive.
    In India everywhere the situation is same I think in the coming year this will remain same.So stop Discussing abt politics.
    I Regularly read your blogs and your they are really very very amazing and especially your language is best i have ever read except the above.
    Keep posting. Best of luck.


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