13 September 2005

Don't believe me?

It always delights me to see visitors to my blog. And, the proof lies in the comments left in the ‘comments’ box. I don’t get too many of these, apart from the spam that leaves me enraged and hopeless, but when they genuinely do come in, they fill my heart with gratitude. So, thank you Charu, Arzan and Govar for your comments on my “Redefining the rural” post.

It’s interesting that each of you should present a varied point of view because that’s exactly how it seems to me too. There are so many varied points of view and statistics presented by varied ‘authorities’ that I’m not sure which to believe. So, I decided to offer you a glimpse into two schools of thought.

The one I grew up with – the India of poverty – is one perspective which has haunted me for decades and, on purpose, I presented it here as the old school. That’s because, the new school – of the rapidly-prospering rural India – seems to be the mantra of the day as far as corporate India is concerned. And, the media is a ‘partner’ in this process.

Which is the true India? To which India do I belong? I really don’t know. All I know is that the India I grew up in is not the India I read about, nor see, in the media these days. Of course, that’s expected. Of course, there has been some progress. I can feel it in my bones, but I can’t explain it.

As Charu says, some of the progress has already begun. And, I agree. Then again, as Arzan and Govar point out, the benefits of this progress may not be visible, nor experienced, by the rural population at large. From my shallow experience of rural India, I believe this too.

Is this progress only in rural India? Of course not. But that’s where corporate India seems to be heading. Don’t believe me? Wait until you see the media reports this month-end.

1 comment:

arZan said...

runawaysun

Thanks for a follow up post. We have a farm in a village called Anklachh, 50 kms interior of Valsad in Gujarat.

I have been going there since i was born 30 years ago, and yes the village has improved a lot. There is electricity, more and more people have motorcycles, water pumps to pump out water from wells etc. But somehow the infrastructure remains underdeveloped.

So its a funny conundrum, that there are ads for cellphones in a village that has not a single land line.

So yes cousmerism is prevalent in the villages, but not at the level where it is a necessity. Its still disposable wealth that villagers get either from working in nearby industries or towns.

A very funny example to highlight your arguement would be this....years ago when we went for extended periods of time we used to carry shampoo from bombay, because at the one village store, they never heard what shampoo is. But in the past few years, we can get satchets of all the leading brands of shampoo and from what i hear womenfolk in villages use shampoo satchets a lot.

Go figure :):):)