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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 14, March 28, 2015

Developed Realities in Dark Times

Monday 30 March 2015, by Humra Quraishi


Development is more than often confused with high economic growth. Nah, we don’t even bother to query—What is development? Is development something to do with well-being or more to do with hyped economic graphs? Where is this development taking place? Why can’t we—the apolitical hapless citizens—see even traces of this development? Is this development only for those manning the very system? Who are benefiting by these hyped and bogus declarations of development? Are these development slogans well-fitted into long-winding speeches to distract the naïve?

In no mood to dwell in the past, focusing only on the well-splashed happenings of this week. A 71-year-old nun gangraped in West Bengal. A semi-constructed church destroyed in Haryana. A well-known school in New Delhi with numerous branches spread out in the Capital city and also in other parts of the country—the Ryan International School—is compelling its staff and students to participate in the membership drive of the BJP. Why? The top boss of this school, Grace Pinto, has herself joined the Mahila Morcha of the BJP and with that forcing or compelling or brainwashing others under her control to grace her political outfit... This incident well relays what must be happening in government-run schools and colleges in the BJP-ruled States of this country.

This week also saw the death of an upright bureaucrat—D.K. Ravi—in Karnataka. Hurriedly labelled ‘suicide’ by cops; mind you, even before those basic investigations could take off. It could as well be a well-planned murder as D.K. Ravi was coming in the way of nexuses at work. Will we get to know the truth or will the powerful (developed!) lobbies come in the way?

This week also saw farmers dying in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and in other States, in the midst of utter despair. Several hung themselves. A couple of them died of heart attacks/cardiac arrest, as they could not take the strain of seeing freak rains more than ruining their fields ...with crops ruined, their lives and families ruined.

This week also saw gangs unleashing children to rob and steal in and around the fashionable malls of Noida. Cops did manage to nab the children but no clue of the master-minds. Easy to grab these hapless children—in all probability bought or kidnapped and trained to rob. Why throw these children into lockups, where they will be abused in more than a hundred ways? Why ruin their childhood? In fact, these children ought to be pardoned and rehabilitated for its sheer poverty that drove them to used. The bigger and broader picture stands as complicated as ever—where are the master-minds? Why are these masterminds left untouched? Where are those manning the Ministry and commissions set up for child rights? Shouldn’t the Ministry and commissions come to the rescue of these trapped children? In fact, one particular incident keeps bothering me—I saw a child trying to steal a roti from a roadside vendor but before he could even stuff it into his mouth he was beaten, not just by that vendor but also by other vendors. Do we have the moral right to label and beat up a child stealing bread to settle those hunger-pangs? No, I wouldn’t label this child a thief but would blame ourselves, our callousness, our utter insensitivity, our lopsided system. We, as a collective lot, have failed, because we cannot feed the hapless, forcing them to steal a roti!

This week also saw reports of stray dogs biting and mauling children as well as adults. Not just in the Kashmir Valley but elsewhere too. What is our development-obsessed government doing to curb this growing dog menace? Probably nothing; politicians and civil servants seldom walk on the roads and so cannot visualise the havoc on the roads. Why just roads, there is a growing graph of strays well parked in parks and marketplaces and museums and hospitals and hotels. I have seen monkeys swaying on branches of trees inside the campus of New Delhi’s top sarkari hospital—AIIMS. I have seen strays all around the campus of Gurgaon’s five-star private hospital, Medanta. I am seeing the growing numbers of stray dogs in and around New Delhi’s fashionable Khan Market, where the so-called VVIPs come with gun-trotting security guards. Security-phobias have made these political creatures short-sighted, they cannot see the prowling strays around ... The situation is alarming; yet there seems no effort to curb these strays, well straying towards our limbs.

This week also saw a young couple beaten and blackmailed in Uttar Pradesh‘s Hathras. Why? Because they were in love and were open about it. Nothing on the sly but loud and clear about it. And in these developed times there is no space for love to blossom! Only lust and perversions are allowed to flourish ...These are the developed realities of these dark times we are destined to live in.