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India not shining..

For some people, India has never really shined.And doesn't look like it will shine in the near future as well.
This morning, I met a person from the India-not-shining section of our society.
I was walking back to my apartment complex after my morning walk, with the usual newspaper and half-litre milk packet.He stopped me a few paces from the apartment gate and enquired as to how far Patancheruvu is from here.
He looked extremely tired, his clothes were dirty, and his eyes watery.And he was carrying a small jute bag, which has two blankets of rough wool.

I stopped being curious about such people a few years back.But I don't know what made me stop and engage him in a conversation this morning.Here's his story - the gist of what he told me, all the while feeling asahmed of himself, and his plight.

Mohammed Khasim (that's his name) is from Nirmal, in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.A part-time mechanic and daily laborer, Khasim makes the ends meet for his family, with great difficulty.He contacted some illness and though the Govt hospital could provide him some basic treatment and medicines, he still needs to buy a few medicines from the market, if he has any hope of getting cured.But his illness meant he could not work for the past few months. The neighbourhood grocer could not extend the credit beyond Rs.2000. As a last resort, Khasim requested his brother for a loan of Rs.2000-3000, and his brother (Khasim told me he works as a petrol station attendant in Patancheruvu) asked him to come to Hyderabad and collect the loan.
Khasim was dropped off in Kondapur by a kind lorry driver yesterday morning at 10 A.M. Khasim asked some one for directions from Kondapur to Patancheruvu, and by mistake took the wrong route.He ended up spending the night somewhere in Madhapur, and walked till my area (S.R.Nagar) in the morning (a distance of 13 km).He had not eaten since yesterday and had a few tablets left.And when I started asking him questions, he almost burst into tears.

Ok..a confession to make first. When he told me his name, I immediately became the 'vigilant citizen', and asked him to open his bag, pockets etc., so that I am fully satisfied that he is not carrying any thing that could be dangerous.He dutifully complied. I guess he had very little self-esteem left by then.

Voice choking with tears, he told me: "saab..i don't know what to do..i am afraid I will die of hunger in this strange city (yeh ajnabi shaher), and my family won't even know what has happened to me.I don't want money, I just want some food so that I can survive for a day.I am not begging..I will do any work you give me till evening, if you can give me some food."

All I could do was to arrange some (much needed) food for him, and Rs.20 so that he could get to Patancheruvu and meet his brother.I don't think he has lied to me.One need not construct such a long story for a little food. I could see the sense of shame he felt within himself.

Donno what else to say except that our system is failing all these people, while we keep wondering about the impact of the financial meltdown in the US.

Comments

Teja said…
shame on us and our system.... we r helpless,,,,,
Kumar Narasimha said…
Teja,

Thanks for stopping by. Liked your blog.

Yes..some times feel so helpless abt the system...

-Kumar
pitiable condition..jaago india...
Aryan said…
kumar, nice of you to help the man out.
Nishka said…
We need to be very active and vigilent citizens and semand complete transperency in the operations of our local governments. A lot of money gets siphoned off.
One way of doing this to join Loksatta or other such anti corruption movements
Aryan said…
"I have started feeling that most of you are in the US, you may or may not have a vote in India, and even if you have the vote, you are unlikely to come to India and cast your vote.Your intentions are good and have clarity, but I don’t think any amount of ranting is going to change things in any manner.It will just serve as an outlet for your feelings, which is not a bad thing actually."

dude you grossly discount what the farin offstumped readers are doing beside ranting on offstumped. we have formed a group of people focused on doing things to support the causes in India.

#1 I've set up a youtube channel, to gather support for hindu causes, getting 200 hits/day. all orgs doing great work in India.

http://www.youtube.com/user/dharmaraksha

ekal.org
sewausa.org
chinmaya.org
aryasamaj.com

There are 25,000 US funded ekal vidhyalayas in India, all working to educate tribals and prevent conversions with an average 40-50 kids.

#2 another one of our group members gives lectures/seminars and contacts hindu groups in UK trying to create awareness about missionary menace in India.

we cant vote, you are right, but we do more then just rant. I think your comments were a little unfair is all.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Aryan,

I understand and appreciate the importance of a forum like Offstumped.It helps us connect with each other.

I simply stated a fact that you guys can't vote.I hope you agree that how much ever we do through informal /civic methods, we could do a lot more if we have a government that subscribes to our worldview.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Nishka,

Thanks for stopping by and posting the story on Offstumped.

Lok Satta - They were doing a great job of disseminaton of awareness and civic activism.Not sure they are doing the right thing by getting into active politics.

cheers,
Kumar
swats.... said…
Why everyone blames government for everything? if this man took a wrong route...its not government's or system's fault. I do agree with you that there are loopholes in our system but atleast it shouldn't be blamed in this case. I appreciate the lorry driver who helped him, i appreciate the auhtorities who are giving him (atleast little) medication. think about it once again...let us put our energy reprocessing the system and the ways to improve everything..what ya say??
Kumar Narasimha said…
Swats,

How can I not agree with you about reengineering the system?

What I meant to say here is a situation where if the breadwinner is unable to work, the family has to starve.Interventions have to happen at this level, I suppose.
BrownPhantom said…
Very true..Similiar sentiments are expressed in White Tiger too.
And he was definitely genuine case. I've met a fraud who actually asked for money and fooled me.