One of the founding principle on which our country was run was equality. Equality on basis of equitable distribution of resources. Equality of opportunity. We adopted socialist way of life till 1991 happened. To attune ourselves with changing global climate we shelved our socialistic garbs and became a capitalistic society. Maruti 800 was replaced by fancy foreign cars. Suddenly the change was visible everywhere. We all sang tunes of progress, tunes of prosperity.. But was this progress achieved equitably, did the last man in the reckoning received the boons of liberalization?
The answer is a big NO. Only handful of people prospered, amassed wealth in billions, whereas the billions of our population still stay in same conditions as they were before. We have created islands of prosperity amidst huge huge deserts of disparity. The picture is awfully unbalanced. Some people have so much that they worry how to secure their riches whereas the other larger lot worry how to meet their ends…
I happened to visit a place called Umarmali which is near Kasara Station on Central Line. For me Umarmali had a bad image in my mind, i always saw while travelling women carrying junglewood and alighting at Diva Station. This wood lighted the fires on which Desi Arrack was brewed and sent all the way to Mumbai & Nashik. I happened to visit this place courtesy my NGO Mai Marathi and what an experience it was..
I always had an image of a backward area in my mind and didn’t this place some odd three kilometers from Umarmali Station fit in toto? Barren stretch of land reflected the fate of those who resided there in small hutments. Soon we reached a place or rather an Adivasi Pada called ‘Chafyacha Pada’ in village Shirol. There was a small government primary school, run by two teachers. It had 72 students in it. All four classes from first to fourth standard were cramped up in one room school. The kids, reflected their poverty back home, worn out dresses, hunger and expectation widely seen on their innocent faces all over. The kids unlike we thought were very smart and active, they recited poems by heart, they danced and shown a rustic confidence. One kid sang a song “Jag chalalay chandravari… amhi rahilo dongara vari…” which meant the world has reached the moon… and we are still on our mountains… how true that song was.. the sturdy voice of the kid showed the kind of hardship he faced which inflicted untimely maturity on him.. I was moved by the first song and went pensive..
I generally avoid visiting old age homes, orphanages or such places, for i get very unbalanced emotionally after such visits. I cannot but stop comparing my kid back home who thrives on all the luxury he gets and the kids in huge numbers around me who are deprived of these things. Wont these kids grow up one day when my boy back home would be of their age. Would that not lead to a struggle between haves and have nots?
As a nation we are developing very haphazardly, if the rate of disparity increases likewise, a day wont be far away when there would be clashes and riots like it takes place in poor African nations. After all despite their acute poverty the kids, the people in these poor areas too are human beings, they too wish and dream a good lives? what crime have they done that they are deprived of it?
As the proverb goes, every cloud has a silver lining, I experienced it in real term, a small email was circulated appealing people to donate in cash and kind for these kids, and the kind of response we received was really pleasing and satisfying. It showed that humanity and good people are still around in large numbers, and as long as they are there, i place my trust and hope in them…
My Friends in city, do visit such places atleast once to find out how the islands of prosperity where we live are superficial and you will be faced with a very stark reality which i bet will move you..