Monday, August 28, 2006


This last week I've been touring to some places of religious significance. I've been to Rampura, Ahmedabad and Galiakot. Most of you might not even know where these are. But anyways, I went there with my Dad. I am writing about the journey which was in most parts in a Bus.

The bus which carried us from Rampura to Neemuch was a minibus which could seat around thirty passengers. I could not believe my eyes when I saw more than seventy people crammed in there. On each stop which was less than every five minutes more people would get in. They all were so desperate like me to get into the bus that it seemed there was no other bus during the day.

We talk about increased leg-rooms on flights and crave for exit seats. There I understood what leg-room is all about. It is the actual space on which your feet are resting and nothing more. Consider all of this with the fact that, all along the road was nearly non-existent. Heavy rains during the past fortnight had washed all that was remaining. The good part was you could not feel the bumps because the bus was so crowded.

In Madhya Pradesh, the govt has dissolved the road transport corporation. There are no State transport buses, only those licensed by it and operated by private operators. There method of operation can be well understood. I also noticed that these buses won't take school children who are returning to their villages from their schools. The reason is a government policy which establishes a reduced fare for students. If only the administration could see.

The same scene was repeated on the route from Banswara to Pratapgarh. Only this time the bus was bigger and therefore the number of passengers were more than hundred.

After seeing what actually India is and how grim the situation is, even in not-so-rural areas, I am sad that these stories are never in the news. Our news channels and newspapers are filled only with the travails of Mumbai local train passengers and the development or lack of it of the Delhi metro. Moreover nobody, not even us act on it. It would do us some good if we are aware of both sides of the India Shining picture.

1 comment:

Steve Zavestoski said...

This was a nice post. Thanks for sharing your experiences and observations. I think American media focus on one side of the "India shining" story because American's don't deal well with the knowledge that "free trade" has yet to raise many people out of poverty.

I'm also surprised, however, by the one-sidedness of the Indian blogosphere. There are a few bloggers who seem to attack anyone who questions India's economic rise. These pro-"India shining" bloggers call anyone who brings up poverty or the fact that India's economic growth is benefiting a relatively small elite "anti-India" or they claim you are trying to hold India back from its long overdue emergence.

So I appreciate that you raise these issues. I'll be back to check out what else you have to say.