11 Suicides in 48 hours by farmers in western India.
Nagaratnama's husband could not get loans for seeds and fertilizers, so he borrowed heavily from a money lender who charged 40% interest and sold him duff seeds. When the harvest failed (because there isn't any water, or machinery), he felt his only way out was to commit suicide. Perhaps then, his wife would get compensation from the government. You can watch the full report by clicking the link ...
'India Poised'... 'India Rising'... what does it all mean? For decades, India had a socialist economy, where only a handful were rich. The rest could choose from one television channel, two types of cars and a job with the government... or a little shop selling the same old stuff.
Now, comparatively, yes, India is booming. People here get excited, rightfully, about the endless job opportunities with international companies.. about which car to buy... how efficient a washing machine to get. People here work hard-- really hard. But if you're a maid, rickshaw driver, farmer, or beggar, India isn't poised or rising or shining. It's still a medieval dungeon.
I've been feeling really down the last few days because both my cook and the guy who minds the front gate are really struggling. They both earn about $100 a month, both have two children... and both live hand-to-mouth. Kavita, who comes and cooks a few days a week has lost her other, full-time job. Her husband works as a driver. But even with both jobs, they just get by. They live in a tin-roofed room at the top of a building. Her son has asthma, which is often triggered by all the dust and cold, in their room. His inhalers cost her a fortune. I want to help Kavita.... so what should I do? Send her $50 each month? Yes, I can. I sent Nagaratnama money. I don't know what became of her.
What angers and upsets me is that people like Kavita and Nagaratnama have to rely on the charity of others at all. They're both smart, hard-working women. Why can't they get a loan? Or social security? I hate to rain on India's parade, but the next time you read about the multi-billion dollar deals being done... or the call centres moving here, creating jobs, just remember one thing. No matter how much India rises and shines for the educated, it still tramples the poor. You won't ever see photos of Kavita (who by the way is very pretty, very articulate, and never moans) in any newspaper with a profile of what she goes through everyday. Who cares about her? Why should we?
Fact: India still isn't building schools, hospitals, roads, water pipes or affordable homes for the poor. The headlines only report that it's building luxury flats and shopping malls.
Fact: Until it does, India might make headlines -- and that really is great! But it won't be a superpower. Nor should it.