Diversity in India

Hi everyone

When you are in India for some time, so will surely see a lot of diversity. I actually think that one of the things that really make India so interesting is that the diversity is so easy to see everywhere. India is probably the only place where you can see a BMW, a cow, and some people dragging an old crock at the same time. After having been here for some time, I have off course been used to the diversity now, but still, there are sometimes when these things strikes me more than normal.

One such event happened Friday evening, or rather early Saturday morning. I had been to a nice party with a lot of friends over in Juhu, which is one of the rather porch places in Mumbai. We left the place around 1 in the morning, and decided to go on to some other nightclub. So we headed over to one of the five star hotels, which is where most of the nightclubs in Mumbai are. When we came there, the club was closed, so we got to see something different.

When we were outside of the club, there were a lot of people coming out of the club. These folks were off course what you would call the “upper class” people. They went out, and into their big cars that the drivers had pulled up outside the club. But the striking thing that was there were not the porch people, it was the beggars. At this place, at 1 o’clock in the morning, there were quite a lot of beggars there. And that was quite heartbreaking to see! One of them was a young boy. He looked like he was maybe 5 or 6 years old, but due to malnutrition, and maybe some diseases, he was quite short, probably shorter than my nephew, who is soon 4… As one of my friends said; “I could pick up this boy and put him in my handbag without anyone noticing it”. She did not do that, but some of the guards outside the club picked up some of the beggars and kind of thrown them away! And also there were some police there, who were supposed to direct the traffic. What they mostly did was to use their rods to hit out on the autos to get them out of the way so that these big cars could drive about.

Off course I should not be surprised to see something like this. But when you stand there in the middle on the street and are not able to get away from it, it really do affect what you. One thing that strokes my mind is; will India ever manage to get rid of the poverty and the beggars? In a society that is so clear hierarchy, there will always be someone who has to be at the bottom. Will they ever manage to climb about the first hurdle and get away from the streets?

Rest of the weekend? Norway 5 – Sweden 4 in ice hockey world cup. First victory against them ever! Chennai Super Kings 165 – Deccan Charges 146 in IPL. Arsenal 1 – Manchester United, ha-ha-ha-ha, have a laugh, in Premier league. It could have been a lot worse 🙂

Talk to you soon!


3 thoughts on “Diversity in India

  1. I can understand why you were taken aback by how those beggars were treated by the Police. You asked question whether India would be able to get rid of pverty and beggars. Answer to this is very simple. There is INCREDIBLE amount of corruption in India. The money which should be used for poor people never reaches them. Instead, politicians and alike use that money for their comforts etc. Not all of the politicians would do that but there are plenty who are like that.

    The solution to solve corruption is to introduce a strong independent body which has the power to function independendent of Indian government influence. The rally you must have seen on TV in Mumbai and many other parts of India led by the Activist Anna Hazare has FORCED the government to draft a bill named Janlokpal bill which will act as a law against corrupt including politicians, Judges and other top officials in the government.

    Indian’s have around $1.4 trillions stashed away in tax havens like Switzerland, Cayman Islands and many more. If India government is able to get this money back they will be able to look after the poor.

    So, the point I am trying to make is that part of the reason why poverty still exists in India is because of lack of governance and transparency. This is where Norway scores over India big time. I mean, if I were to know how much an ‘X’ earns in Norway I will be able to know it immediately. Here in India, you have to file a PIL which is called Public Interest Litigation in a court t oknow about that person. So, there are lots of things that we have to work on. But having said that, the young India is restless and want to see quick changes. India will be different 10 years down the line.

  2. Karsten, as an Indian living in Norway, your posts are very refreshing. Thanks for taking the time to post these.

    I hope India can find its own solutions to its challenges, however as Divye points out, the rampant corruption is without doubt the single biggest source of the imbalance that you see. My ethnic Norwegian colleagues who travel to India are dumbfounded by the imbalance in opportunity and living conditions. As one remarked “You can get out the car on one side and experience Manhattan, or the other side and experience sub-Saharan Africa”.

    India with its 1.2 billion, will have to find its own solutions and not just copy blindly. Many policies and practices that may work elsewhere will not work in India. I often use the example of a pedestrian crossing. In Norway, the pedestrian has right of way and traffic must stop. I cannot see that work in a city like Mumbai — traffic would never move :-).

    There are however some basic values that transcend all – like human rights, equal opportunity, dignity for all etc. The youth of India will need to find those and drive the change they want to be and see (to quote the Mahatma).

    Keep posting Karsten, as a Mumbaikar I appreciate your posts.


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