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The Summer School Saga

November 9, 2010

A bunch of mothers walked up to this well-known journalist and begged him to help them persuade the government to keep schools open during the summers.

No the demand wasn’t made cause they think that their kids have been bad and this is the only way they can punish them. No it isn’t even for their IIT and Medical preparation. This demand wasn’t even made cause these women don’t like kids around them. The only reason they begged this influential man for something like this was because this is the only way their children wouldn’t suffer the wrath of poverty.

This occurred somewhere near Mumbai. The city where dreams are full-filled, where stories of Rags to Riches come alive, or so we believe, and just on the outskirts of the same city little kids can’t even dream big. And even if they do, that is all they can do.

On one hand India rants about becoming the next superpower and on the other hand people suffer unimaginable poverty. We talk of challenging the Chinese Dragon, we talk of becoming a permanent UN security council member. Yet 70% of our population lives in rural areas.

Our agriculture minister refuses to give away the tonnes of rotting grain dumped in granaries while people die every minute. We haven’t even achieved a 4% growth in our agricultural sector (something that we have been yearning for years) yet we decide to help African nations. While millions are dying in India our government decides to give Pakistan food grains for diplomatic ties. I guess we forgot the saying Charity Begins at Home.

We spend a few 1000 crores on a fancy balloon and stadia but leave behind the many 1000 crore people who can’t even have a decent meal. And as if that wasn’t enough we are now eyeing the Olympics. So much for national pride!

While P. Sainath was recounting his experience with these women I felt ashamed. Ashamed of having been ignorant and unperturbed. We happily spend a fortune on crackers but make a face when it comes to assisting our fellow Indians. Yet when we roam around in our Mercs we curse the poor for ruining our countries name.

What is worse is that we become all aggressive when a bunch of white folks decide to snap pictures of these poor people or make a movie (ok Slumdog millionaire was a shitty movie with no story). We don’t want to help the poor but certainly do want to throw a curtain over.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2010 10:17 AM

    Dear AN, your account of this story and your reflection on it are beautiful and touching. The realisation that children like these are suffering all over the world brought a tear to my eye. Even here in Ireland we have crippling poverty; in a nation which pretends to play on a level field with the International Big Boys. In working class housing estates we have children naked on the streets, their mothers too drunk or doped on heroin to notice. There are children here who are only given meals at school and fend for themselves when out of school. It is so easy to turn a blind eye to this suffering, once we see it – it troubles us to our core.

    Thank you AN. Here is a reflection on some issues in Dublin:
    http://homophilosophicus.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/hard-times-and-the-response-of-a-theology-of-liberation/

    • November 15, 2010 1:29 PM

      I didn’t even have to read your blog to imagine the level of poverty some people face in your country, your post was enough.
      I hope that we all can indeed do something to help these people.

    • November 22, 2010 10:09 AM

      BTW i read your blog and i LOVED it…
      its really wonderful,
      keep up the good work 😀

  2. November 16, 2010 4:29 AM

    AN, it is my sincere belief that there is something that we can do to change this situation; in India and around the world. It is more than prayer or wishful thinking. We are blessed to live in democracies where we have the power to change the world in the way that we vote. This can make real change.

    • November 16, 2010 3:43 PM

      Well i really hope so!
      And its great that you believe in it..
      That itself is a great start

  3. November 18, 2010 6:08 PM

    Lovely post, AN.
    You’ve put it down really well.
    The situation is dismal (actually a few degrees below that).
    I know our country’s progressing and all. But instead of actually doing something about such issues, all the government does is conceal the major flaws, and in the bargain, the lower strata (economically backward), get crushed.
    I do hope I live to see an improvement somehow, but as of now, the chances are bleak.

    • November 22, 2010 10:07 AM

      I guess our country is one of the top clients for beauty products
      (conceals, get it…NAH?? yeah it was as sad as ur PJs 😛 )

  4. December 30, 2010 3:38 PM

    I completely agree.

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