India Vs Bharat
Ashish Tripathi wrote about his experiences while volunteering in rural Uttar Pradesh, asking why the growing economic development in India is so different from the grim realities of Bharat "Sone Ki Chidiya Ki udan" is the main heading of today's Dainik Bhaskar. The article puts the question- who says India is no more a golden bird? It further points that it is clearly evident from the economic boom, that India has become the golden bird again. The sensex is going higher and higher and is about to touch the 10000 point mark, GDP is growing at a rate of 7.5% against the estimate of 6.9%, 45 lakh mobiles have been sold in January 2006 which is the highest number of mobiles sold in a month since 1995. An editorial in The Hindu dated 28 January 2006 says that there are 260 million Indians(193 million in rural areas and 67 million in urban areas) who are still living below the poverty line, according to India's first Social Development Report. I am in a dilemma after reading these two articles. I do not whether I should rejoice for the development of my country or I should feel sad for the pathetic condition of my countrymen. It was ten days back that I was staying in a village with two of my friends for our project work with 'Asha'. During my project work I came to know about the real condition of the people living in the rural areas. Most of them are so poor that they are not able to arrange two square meals for themselves and their families. There is an acute shortage of safe drinking water. The Primary Health centres are at such long distances that you cannot expect a serious patient to be alive by the time he reaches the hospital. The villagers prefer not to send their children to schools, because the teachers are mostly absent or even if they are present do not be surprised if you catch them drunk or sleeping on a charpoy. Most of the villagers have very small land holdings and they sustain their lives with great difficulties. The villages are yet to be electrified and you cannot reach these villages in the rainy season by any means except the helicopters because the roads are very difficult to be found in this season. The condition of the girl child is very poor because they are not allowed to attend the schools. The girls help their mothers in day to day activities and remain confined to their houses. The villagers are not aware of their rights and they are easily fooled by the PDS dealer (kotedar), the police, the doctor and all the other govt. officials. I remember an incidence where a doctor demanded Rs 4000 from a woman for conducting her medical who was beaten very badly by the Thakurs and she had to lay out side the Hospital for three days, in severe winter before her medical was conducted. The villagers under the leadership of Dr. Sandeep Pandey (Founder,Asha and winner of Magsaysay award 2002) organised a Dharna against this and the doctor made a promise not to repeat the same in future. Within a week he got himself transferred. The schemes of the govt. for the villagers are helping everyone except the villagers, to improve their living. The villagers get grains three or four times only in a year on their Ration cards but the entries are made for the whole year. The quality of the food cooked in midday meal is so poor that children fall ill after eating that food. The Primary Schools and anganwadi centres remain close for most of the time. The children of poor villagers are deprived of their Right To Education. I recall an incidence where the name of a girl named Ruchi was struck off the rolls because she was absent for a few days (the girl had gone to meet her father who was in jail). She was not given books and the headmaster did not even allow her to eat the food during the mid day meal. We, incidentally, met the girl in her village during our survey. Her mother told us the story and she stood there with her mother weeping. We took Ruchi to her school and threatened the Headmaster to take...
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