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India’s winter of discontent

Published Jan 14, 2013 01:02am


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THIS hasn’t been a good season for Indian cricket fans: first, their national team lost a Test series to the visiting England squad on home soil after decades. Worse, the Pakistani team defeated them in the recent One Day International contests. And a couple of days ago, the England team won a high-scoring ODI.

But far more seriously, the recent high-profile rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey has shocked Indians by its sheer brutality. The huge protests caused by this incident underlined the status of women: from birth to death, Indian women are discriminated against in the most blatant manner. According to a UN report, India is the fourth worst country in the world to be a woman in. And before Pakistani readers take any satisfaction from this, let them know that Pakistan figures one spot below India on this sorry list.

In a CNN special report, a woman stated that when her baby girl was born, neighbours urged her to drop her from her second floor abode. “Why do you want to keep a girl?” they asked. She went on to complain that from birth, boys were favoured over girls, getting better food and clothes, and being sent to good schools.

The report pointed out that in fact, discrimination began in the womb, with an unprecedented number of female foetuses being aborted. According to Lancet, the authoritative British journal, there are 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to the age of six, and the gender gap has worsened by a million in a decade. There are now 109.4 males to 100 females. The termination of viable pregnancies on this scale has been called genocide by some observers. The social fallout from this skewed demographic growth has yet to be felt.

Despite India’s many complex social problems, its people justifiably take pride in the economic progress their country has made in the past two decades. But even this image of a thriving economy has taken a battering of late. Last August, the world’s biggest power cut hit 700 million Indians, underlining the fragility of India’s infrastructure. While we in Pakistan are all too familiar with the problem, the scale of the Indian blackout was unprecedented.

William Dalrymple, the well-known historian, is a friend of India’s, having lived near New Delhi for years. Many of his books are about the country. In the 12-18 October 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Dalrymple has written a devastating cover story, After the Blackout, in which he discusses the stark contrast between India’s aspirations and claims and its ground level reality:

“For over a decade now, India has marketed itself as the coming superpower, placing itself in the same league as Europe and the United States, and hyphenated with China as the dominant force of the near future…”

But for Dalrymple, and for millions of Indians, the reality is very different:

“India’s remarkable growth figures have, however, successfully masked a far less appealing set of statistics that, despite the success of its middle class, when you look at government delivery of basic services to the poor, India has been struggling against being hyphenated less with China than its more desperate and impoverished neighbours — Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan — and by some indices has been failing to compete with the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Damningly, the writer observes:

“Sixty-nine per cent of Indians live on less than $2 a day, and roughly 35 per cent on less than $1 a day. India ranks 66th out of 88 vulnerable countries listed in the Global Human Index. India has the highest number of children dying in the world. Every year, 1.7 million children under the age of five die from easily preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea. Of these who do survive until the age of five, 48 per cent are stunted due to lack of nutrients: child malnourishment is sadly something for which India wins the gold medal every year…”

And yet, India has ambitions for lunar exploration, as well as sending a rocket to Mars. Its military budget has tripled in recent years, and it is now set to be one of the ten top countries in terms of defence spending.

While the Indian economy has grown, so has income inequality. Dalrymple cites an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study which finds that inequality has doubled in the last 20 years. In 1990, the top 10 per cent of earners made six times as much as the bottom 10 per cent. This disparity has now grown to 12 times.

Massive corruption scandals, too, have badly damaged India’s image. While this is a universal curse, the magnitude of some of the scams has been mindboggling. The 2G airwave auction reportedly cost the exchequer $40 billion.

Other observers have been highly critical of the corruption and slow decision-making process that is hampering investment. In a stinging article published last October, the Financial Times wrote:

“Indian investors, unfortunately, have been putting much of their wealth to work outside India… in part because they find their domestic business climate almost as daunting as foreigners do. They know this to be a market where the government has imposed retrospective taxes on investors and where managers have been attacked and occasionally kidnapped or killed by angry employees.”

One Indian voice that has been consistent in its defence of the poor and the marginalised is Arundhati Roy’s. Dalrymple quotes from a conversation with the writer:

“In order to create a large middle class, a much larger underclass has been pushed down into poverty. You now have huge cities populated by migrant labour living on less that 20 rupees a day. Growth rates are not an indicator of wellbeing – during the period of highest growth our per capita food intake, which was already lower than sub-Saharan Africa, actually went down. Meanwhile, power has fallen into the hands of a corporate, middle-class oligarchy.”

Despite all the current gloom, Dalrymple sees hope for India, provided it can find the will to carry out the difficult political, social and economic reforms that are so desperately needed. The whole region — and the world — needs India to succeed.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (88) Closed

Sahil Jan 14, 2013 05:54pm
Good article
jhaman Jan 14, 2013 05:53pm
every candle has dark bottom /so i do nnot blame you not knowing arundhatiRoy . /you should have seen yesterday kaun banega kirorpati .how one lady was preparing kebab of rat and making meal of it sham on india/patta patta janaey sirif tou na janaey , by the way i am hindu doctor proud to be sindhi in pakistan if you have honest and disfunctional primeminister under whose nose every sort of curruption has happened .doeshe feel ashmed of it /when i visited india and was going by taxi to air port mi saw how much india has prepared to go to moon
Shasi Kumar Jan 15, 2013 03:14pm
As an Indian, I came to Dawn through an article from an Indian news paper. I visit here because of a fair reporting related to India, not because of any so called ?obsession with Pakistan?. In fact I heard or learned more about Pakistan only after 2008 Mumbai.
Shah Faheem Jan 14, 2013 05:47pm
Iyer Jan 14, 2013 05:47pm
More Indians keeping this site in business, rather than Pakistanis! Pitiable condition isn't it?
Mahendra Jan 14, 2013 05:44pm
The articles is a good analysis, although a little exaggerated. but the problems are real, will surely differ in degrees when compared with the data given in the article. being a democracy things get highlighted, sometime unfarely. there is no doubt that the systems must change, reforms must happen at faster rate. given the type of people that are running the main parties India, it does not appear to be a nearer possibility. some thing drastic is required. why India the whole of south asia has tremendous potential however the people who are and who are likely to be at the helm might not allow this to happen. vested interest! so tragic. anyway keep fingers crossed.
Deep Jan 15, 2013 03:01pm
Yes brother I hav full faith on my young Indian brothers and sisters we al will make our great nation again the greatest in the World. Dont forget brits came to India because of its wealth nd with the blessings of God again th sun wil rise nd Mother India wil become golden sparrow as it was earlier. We hav to teach our kids about our great ancient past nd its philosophies to build a great society so ta India can become not only monetarily but also morally and spiritually wealthy. May God bls Mother India.
anand Jan 14, 2013 06:12pm
Irfan,the hard work & pain you took to get your statistics/quotes on India should certainly make you & lots of your type feel happy & elated. For whom have you written this article? If this is for Pakistani people & the State, you are fooling yourself. Pakistan as a state and its radicalized masses have failed in all sense of term.Its a bane to civilized world. We realize we have to go a long way and we will work doubly hard for it,but your nonsense will not be a dampener for sure.
Pankaj Patel(USA) Jan 14, 2013 06:08pm
I agree fully with you Irfan sahib very balanced and honest article.Unfortunately in India politicians are , not dedicated, less cultured and corrupt resulting in this mess.But it can not be compared with China because of the freedom and democracy India offers.I still has lot of hope for India for achieving batter result in the long run then China.About the wealth gap I will say that wealth has to be created before it can be distributed so it is a natural thing in the initial stage of development.
Rahul Jan 14, 2013 11:32am
Sir, I agree with your article on the lines that it highlights certain grey areas in our country. Indians are an intelligent, positive and hard-working race who have always survived against odds. So far in my lifetime of 28 years, have seen lot of good changes in our country though we may be slower in bringing change within our society but am hopeful that we will change the future of this country for good at a faster rate. I love India. I love Pakistani people too. By the way, who is Arundhati Roy??
Boing Jan 14, 2013 10:02am
Dream on -:)
raghu Jan 14, 2013 06:58pm
I felt the article is one sided. It only highlights the negative side. In the past 20 years India lifted 400 million people out of poverty to the middle class. Still 40% of Indian population is below poverty line. lot of effort is needed to bring majority of population into main stream. It needs more time to do that. India is the only country which spends the highest on social development. I feel corruption and political uncertainty is delaying the process. Simultaneous development in all sectors is very important not only social. But dont forget, India did a tremendous progress in various fields of education, IT, pharma, manufacturing, etc etc.. More efforts need to take place and politicians need to work to the development of the country. We cant built a U.S like state in short time. Things will definitely get better in coming future.
Ganesh (India) Jan 14, 2013 11:09am
Very well noted and analysed as usual by Irfan Sahib? Author has rightly captured root causes of both present and potential issues India has to deal with. But if one closely observes election results of some state assemblies and Parliment ( National assembly) one will be optimistic that people are voting only those governments who can/have delivered economic coupled with across the board social growth. Growth in the area of information technology ensured information to all people and its no longer easy for politicians/administators to fool people. People are less vulnerable to exploitation in the name of religion/cast/regionalism/language etc? Have u seen the kind of response from people ( Mostly spontaneaous and unsupported by major political parties) over curruption in public life, inefficient civil/judicial administration ( As seen in Delhi Rape case)??. Finally author is absolutely right when he says that region is looking towards us to succeed so that they can take clue out of it?.
rob Jan 14, 2013 02:43pm
And to add insult to injury, Indians have Pakistanis as neighbors... Whatevr progress Indians hope to achieve will be limited until the Pakistanis hope to live a normal life themselves!
A. Bose Jan 15, 2013 04:52am
As usual a well written article from an author who dignifies humanity. We need some voices like Mr. Husain who is thoughtful and fact oriented in India to keep rise out of our bureaucratic dogma. However, it is to mention that Arundhati Roy has a different psychology of getting famous with articles with devoid of facts and purely based on agenda of negative propaganda. She knows she is the only one doing it bound to be famous. We Indians need a true friend like Mr. Husain who shows our shortcoming with facts rather than hawkish writer like Arundhati Roy.
aku Jan 15, 2013 05:43am
I think India has done well despite having to deal with a very difficult social infrastructure which in many ways is similar to Pakistan. However, growing bigger and stronger will need much more than economic success. The social mindset has to change. If it wants to be a big brother, it has to behave like one and be ready to give more and sacrifice more. And Indians have to shed away the ghosts of Pakistan. I am surprised to see how Indians despite all the success over their recent years, still are obessessed with Pakistan. Linking everything bad happening in India to Pakistan.
aku Jan 15, 2013 05:27am
When you say that every terrorist attack in India is linked to Pakistan, let me just caution you that many in Pakistan feel the same about India for the terrorist attacks in Pakistan, and there are many proofs as well. While India is progressing well and I wish them best of luck, Indian's can't deny their obsession with Pakistan and its affairs, just see the number of Indians reading "Dawn". If India wants to grow to a world power, its people, govt., miliatary will have to show more maturity with regards to Pakistan and start behaving like a world power. Bollywood alone will not take you there.
Siddharth Jan 15, 2013 05:41am
I am an Indian and have no shame in accepting that India is yet to arrive but we are a progressing, forward looking and a working democracy and I am proud of this fact. We have our challenges but they are being addressed slowly but surely. The growing improtance of India on the world stage is undeniable. Please remember that as a nation, we are still very young and you will agree that we have leaped ahead of Pakistan on almost all parameters. For every statistic quoted here, I can quote 100 statistic which shows how India has progressed over the years. There are nay sayers in every countries and it is very easy to quote them in support of one's view.
rajesh Jan 14, 2013 05:37pm
India and Pakistan should fight poverty and the social prob and corruption than each other . but it looks tough in current situation.
Kannan Jan 14, 2013 04:19am
While the whole World is trying to save Pakistan from current chaos, the article seems to be based on, quote: The whole region ? and the world ? needs India to succeed. " Irfan sahib, I never miss to read your articles on Dawn, this one I am disappointed. I know how much William Dalrymple loves India and his quotes on Arundhati Roy, proves my point.
aryan Jan 15, 2013 11:09am
Reality starts from Dreaming only... Frankly telling I appreciate the DAWN news paper and it's views...But I feel this news is bit one sided news.... I am now 35Yr old and I have seen a good change in my country and people are coming with their own ideas to make the things better... Yes we accept that we have failed in many fronts....But lets make things better both in India and Pakistan....lets give out next generation something good so that they will feel pride about their forefathers..... In Europe all the countries had fought very bloody battle and they forgot and have progressed...why not India and Pakistan...
Imran Jan 14, 2013 05:18pm
Easy tiger. Truth does hurt.
Imran Jan 14, 2013 05:13pm
Did you actually believe them?
Amit Jan 14, 2013 05:15pm
Isn't it amazing that Dawn has more Indian readers than Pakistani??? :-)
Imran Jan 14, 2013 05:16pm
Raja Sb , Pakistan has no claims to be a superpower or shining or sending probes to Mars etc. We are what we are and we know what we are.We have no illusions or pretences.
Imran Jan 14, 2013 05:17pm
Thats the spirit.
Akram Jan 14, 2013 05:11pm
Classic Indian response.
Akram Jan 14, 2013 05:10pm
Of course. The real India is shining.
RAJENDRA BANSAL Jan 15, 2013 02:18am
Agree with Dr Khan's observation
Hassan Jan 14, 2013 04:59pm
As a Pakistani, believe it or not, I want India to succeed both economically and politically. Both India and Pakistan share the same culture and unfortunately, we also share the social weaknesses. I think Pakistan's problems are well documented and author correctly points out that Pakistan is not far behind on all the negatives and in some cases even ahead.
Shri Jan 15, 2013 02:01am
What is occassion, Mr Irfan ? Are you trying to say something here that you did not put into words ? But we Indians have very high regards for you and your thoughts and I agree that we did not have the greatest of winters. You are right. But I drew lot of hope from the Indian middle class coming out on the roads and giving a strong message to the poltical class of India. It was not led by any political party. it is unfortunate that brutal rape had to take place for public to say enough is enough. Defence budget or space research is not responsible for poverty. Your defecne and research needs go up to protect your economic growth lines. Corruption, politically motivated and oppurtunistic plans are responsible for poverty. Do not compare Europe or China's growth pattern with India as India is far more diverse, complex and densly populated than other countries. India will grow in its own way, stunning you with its successes and surprising you with its failures. World's highest and largest, both in negative and positive sense, will always be there in India. Good article.
Burhan Jan 14, 2013 04:53pm
That misguided notion is because of her well-known stance on Kashmir
mandeep Jan 15, 2013 01:40am
Mr Khan, read the comments carefully. Most of us are not disputing the facts, but we are saying is work in progress. The economic boom has touched only 15-20% Indians and we need 2 more decades of high economic growth. We have done very well on economic front in the last 2 decades and it is recognised by international community. India today is a 1 trillion dollar economy. Whether these are social faultlines or corruption, middle class is out on the roads to assert itself. We will ultimately prevail unless some catastrophe hits us.
Karachi Wala Jan 14, 2013 11:35am
I have been reading DAWN articles and blogs for quite sometime. The reason being, what I read in DAWN is no where to be found in URDU media. I find most of the Urdu media one sided and biased with very few exception. Over time, I have observed there is a good bit of cross border traffic which reads DAWN and pass comments and to me is good. My general perception about Indian readers has been quite positive. Most of these authors describe the reasons for Pakistan's current situation as they see and do a healthy criticism where ever they find an ill. I see a lot of cross border praise coming for these columns and authors. However, after reading Irfan Sahib's this article, I am very surprise to read most of the comments coming from across the border, with very few exceptions. Irfan sahib has quoted a UN report not his personal views. Not liking or disagreeing with Arundhati Roy and William Dalrymple is one thing but an out right rejecting of Irfan Sahib's column is very very surprising and disappointing for me. Someone should have at least tried to confront the report, if they find it baseless.
mohit Jan 15, 2013 01:15am
No party politics here sir. we fight with all people and all parties for common cause. you vote for what you think is right, let me worry about my vote, please.
Freewilly Jan 15, 2013 12:55am
hey, you guys have online newspaper.
Singh Jan 15, 2013 12:12am
Reading is taught in schools, which Taliban blows up in Pakistan. :D
Parag Jan 15, 2013 12:05am
"?In order to create a large middle class, a much larger underclass has been pushed down into poverty. " Factually incorrect. Income inequality has grown, but that is because of rising incomes of the rich. Overall poverty levels as a percentage of populations are down from say thirty years ago.
Akram Jan 14, 2013 10:54pm
Thats a good excuse for remaining backward...our neighbours don't let us develop. Good one.
Akil Akhtar Jan 14, 2013 10:41pm
We don't understand why millions of indians still line up to go to Europe or Muslim Gulf. Around 30,000 educated and working indians leave their jobs and migrate to Australia alone every year and do not want to go back to shining india all the while also claiming india is great.
Ganesh (India) Jan 14, 2013 11:14am
Article is about India and its problems... should not bring Pakistan in it......
Prashant Jan 14, 2013 08:11am
Factually incorrect article, downright inaccurate.
Kunal Jan 14, 2013 08:20am
I was reading this cloumn seriously and was as worried as an indian should be then suddenly found Arundhati Roy's name in the column and i got what it was all about and stopped reading.
Akil Akhtar Jan 14, 2013 10:34pm
Everything is Pakistans fault. LOL. That is the brainwashing that has been going on in india for the last 65 years and is getting worse. The indians very conveniently forget their interference in bangladesh, Siachen, Balochistan and regular firing across the LOC to name a few. In Pakistani media you will see there is no demonising of Indiacontrary to the indian media which is full of vile against Pakistan. Blind nationalism is dangerous for india and for its smaller neighbours.
NKT Jan 14, 2013 07:59am
Only if people of India make sure in elctions ,that in future congress never comes back in power
Dr Khan Jan 14, 2013 03:01pm
Look at the comments to this article. No indian is agree to accept the facts based on references from reputable sources ( Lancet, OECD, Financial Times). I thought we pakistanis are only nation in a state of denial But I am happy that our neighbors are on same pitch in this matter. Every time Irfan Hussain criticizes pakistan for wrongdoings there is huge applause and praise from indians for him. But look at the response to this article, even one indian fellow is questioning the geopolitical knowledge of Dawn news paper. TRUTH IS BITTER, my indian brothers should have the courage to face it.
Ranjan Kumar Jan 14, 2013 07:45am
Thanks for bringing it up. Any issues highlighted tell us how much work there is for us. However, I must say that this is a more one-sided article than I expected from you. For instance, you do not highlight that the poor in India have assured work for 100 days every year. They get a month's ration for the same $2. While highlighting healthcare issues your readers should know that there has been no incidence of polio in 2 years in India. We do have miles to go. But we would appreciated that you acknowledge a few miles covered too for the billion plus population.
Hrleen Jan 14, 2013 02:55pm
Irfan Sahib, I agree with your observations. However, I just want to bring couple of things to everyone's notice. India is in a state of transition. India opened up or liberalized its economy 2 decades back. Given India's size and population, you can not expect every Indian to be pulled out of poverty within 2 decades. There are many plans for education and health, that are put in place in last couple of years, will show their results in next decade or so. The global economic meltdown has affected the growth of Indian economy as well. So things will be delayed further. Being a democracy, it is not fair to compare India's growth pattern with China. We have to work by consensus. Whether social faultlines or corruption, more and more Indians are identifying them and becoming assertive by the day. But we Indians are hopeful of a better future.
dee Jan 14, 2013 07:34am
Very well written article.. Pakistan is the most progressing nation in the world. It has GDP more than India and Brazil, 100% literacy, equal rights and no terrorist attacks at all. India has gloom and doom economy.. very good Irfan Hussain, you are the most intelligent, well informed journalist ever in the history of mankind...and by publishing your article has also shown its gepolitical knowledge and the state of denials...keep up the good work...Looking forward for your next article
Shridhar Subrahmanyam Jan 14, 2013 11:02am
British newspapers have published the name of the victim and NY Times has an article which details the background of the family and interviews with the father.
Devil Jan 14, 2013 02:49pm
Agreed ! One thing for sure, if you want to succeed, measure your failures via your most bitter critic ! Who better than our beloved neighbor in case of India ;-)
Raja Jan 14, 2013 06:45am
How/where you do you see Pakistan in these areas?
NITS Jan 14, 2013 06:54am
Why would anybody, who had ealier read Mr. Dalrymple's article, would be interested in Mr. Irfan Hussain this 'copy n paste' article... instead the author should have written more of his opine! Disappointed!
Observer Jan 14, 2013 06:58am
This is still a measured article. It talks about failure of India in more detail than its successes. That's okay and not one sided. We don't expect more from a Pakistani Newspaper.
Observer Jan 14, 2013 07:00am
Well the girl's father has given permission to name her. I don't know why we still use those Nirvaya/Damini/Amanat name in our sites. "Jyoti" sounds great to me.
dudenator Jan 14, 2013 06:29am
How did the author know the name of the victim? Has it been officially released by the Indian authorities? If not, I propose that the article be edited to remove the name of the victim immediately.
Shubs Jan 15, 2013 06:30am
If India lived in denial, we would look like today's Pakistan, wouldn't you agree? So, maybe the truth is different, Dr Khan?
BRR Jan 14, 2013 06:16am
Indeed, the skewed male / female ratio is a time bomb, Indians learning the hard way. Female education has to make a lot of progress, and education in general has to be accessible and affordable - affordability is a big problem. Resource shortages, staring with water and power, are endemic. It is a tough slog for India ahead, but it must focus on the basics - food security, water security and education of the people, especially its women.
Atul Sreedharan Jan 14, 2013 06:16am
Brilliant as always Irfan saab. We need people like you to take us out of the comfort zone we fool ourselves into.
Mansur Sharma Jan 14, 2013 09:58am
Pakistanis consider Arundhati to be a leading economist.
S Raghavan Jan 14, 2013 12:58pm
May i remind the author of one thing. India can and will succeed if only Pakistan does not meddle and Provoke India. Every terrorist attack in India has sound proof of Pakistan hand behind it. India takes defeat in sports and games in a sportive manner and not as a deterrent to progress. Notwithstanding the ratings mentioned in the article, India could not have made great stride in several spheres but for corrective actions in all areas where India is lagging.
umesh bhagwat Jan 14, 2013 05:52am
Rest assured, India will succeed!
Bong Jan 14, 2013 08:27am
India will come out stronger with this show of discontent. The political class knows that they have to deliver and the people are longer ready to wait for 5 years to show their displeasure. The youth of the country want IMMEDIATE actions and also RESULTS.
Kamal Khan Jan 14, 2013 09:25pm
Irrelevant response. Learn to live with reality...will you?
Ali Jan 14, 2013 05:35am
So, India Shining was only a hoax.
Sachin Jan 14, 2013 05:34am
Thanks for a wonderful article....I love you Dawn.....Sachin from India
Karachi Wala Jan 14, 2013 05:03am
"According to a UN report, India is the fourth worst country in the world to be a woman in. And before Pakistani readers take any satisfaction from this, let them know that Pakistan figures one spot below India on this sorry list." Interesting but sad findings. Lets see how people from both countries respond to this.
JC Jan 14, 2013 05:04am
very well written article. It is the truth that the whole region needs India to succeed as it can provide much needed support to others.
Saty Jan 14, 2013 04:35am
I am a regular reader of dawn and admire Mr.Hussian's columns. Yes, he is right in what he says. More than the Lunar mission or the military expenditure, it is the extreme corruption in India that is keeping masses poor. The money needed for education and healthcare does not really reach the needy. The government announces some populist vote banking measures like 1 rupee rice and free laptops etc , but that is not what people need, what is needed is 100% education, free healthcare and jobs for which we need more investments, but the corrupt red tape-ism still exists and will slow the progress despite the reforms. The unfriendly attitude towards the girl child is a national shame. However the situation is not the same in the highly literate and socially forward states like Kerala and that is the fruit of education. "Despite all the current gloom, Dalrymple sees hope for India, provided it can find the will to carry out the difficult political, social and economic reforms that are so desperately needed. The whole region ? and the world ? needs India to succeed." Hoping for that.
Devil Jan 14, 2013 02:44pm
Raoul Ciao Jan 14, 2013 09:44am
GOOD article. Should give hope and heart to Pakistanis, that despite progress economically, you can't have a great country. So, Pakistan is not really doing badly.
Siva D Jan 14, 2013 03:42am
Mr. Hussein kudos to you for once again laying out the case very plainly.. We Indians are ashamed of this blatant underperformance by our politicians and bureaucrats. The people are often not terribly behind in their thoughtlessness though there is a genuine aspiration to aim higher among many Indians. The tragedy of things like child malnutrition is that I believe it can be easily wiped out if the Indian state (read it's govt and its people) really desire so. The reason it is still there is that not enough people REALLY care about these issues. Until we do, our measures will be half hearted and their outcomes unsatisfactory. Regards Siva D.
kamaljit Singh Jan 14, 2013 02:43pm
One who shows you your shortcomings is a true friend.
Ravi Jan 14, 2013 03:24pm
darkness and light can coexist during transition phases... we are trying to get rid of the darkness and the existing system and the entrenched vested interest groups are resisting... but we will succeed. India has come this far despite its government and we have no intention of stopping.
rk Jan 14, 2013 03:25pm
@karachi wala,Thanks for accepting views from across the border to the east.To clarify this matter , India :s current per capita annual income is usd 1200 for 1250 million people,giving National Income of about usd 1.50 trillion. While William and UN may be right for some pockets,the article is welcome and shows the corrections to be made. You will see the marginal income tax rate being raised from 30% to 400% to adress the income inequality in the 2013 Fiscal Budget.
Rajeev Nidumolu Jan 14, 2013 08:15pm
The magnitude of problem faced by India is gargatuan. You are correct in pointing out the reality in India. inequality is a problem in growing emerging economies. China which has more dynamic economy has gap between rich and poor more than India. Concern is the scale of military expenditure which is diverted from the developmental needs
kamaljit Singh Jan 14, 2013 03:39am
The common man feels the pinch of high cost of living. Farmers are selling their farm lands to Real estate mafia at quite high prices which is controlled by political cum business houses. These real estate dealers make the political party in power as their partner. In many a deals the politicians of opposing parties are the partners in the same deal. Then these land holdings are sold at much higher prices or are not sold at all because those cartels have other sources on income.The poor farmer comes to his senses after the initial 'kick' to have 2-4 crores an acre. He realises that he has no source of income. If he wants to buy land he cannot find in one chunk to be viable for a farm.
Imran Jan 14, 2013 08:10pm
No, its not amazing at all. Just take a look at Indian papers to know what I mean.
pathanoo Jan 14, 2013 03:35am
Dear Irfan, I agree in totality the litany of dysfunctionalities of India you have listed. They are all correct except one. "India worse than Pakistan in mistreating it's women." Now, that is a reach too far even for India baiters and I know you are not one of them.
Feroz Jan 14, 2013 03:31pm
Good sensible comments are not making it past the moderator Karachiwala. Will be lucky if this innocuous comment gets posted.
Madan Mehta Jan 14, 2013 03:23am
I read almost every piece of Irfan Hussain in Dawn, and admire his understanding of situations, but his quoting of Arundhati Roy belittles the piece. She is just a one-novel-author. No more.
Devil Jan 14, 2013 03:35pm
Sorry for the heartbreak, but no, thats not a hoax !! why not visit New Delhi, or check the stats on web for more clarity !! Though article is also not wrong in stating that there is still lot of poverty in India, but middle class has seen 'a lot' of improvements in two decades !!
Carlos Jan 14, 2013 02:31pm
Arundhati is a leftist who knows very little of economics. She became famous because of her book "The God of Small Things" and has since written nothing of significance. India has freedom of speech and Arundhati gets away with a lot of stuff that others might consider "treasonous".
Zimbo_Indian Jan 14, 2013 02:05pm
The name is well known now through the British media. It is actually Jyoti Singh. Her friend was Arvind Pandey. I think there is some mix up in the names resulting in Jyoti Singh Pandey.
Zimbo_Indian Jan 14, 2013 02:01pm
Dee, the article is about India and not a comparison of India and Pakistan. So, see the the reality, for once, and try to do something about it.
peddarowdy Jan 14, 2013 09:23am
I as an Indian am distraught and agree with the findings. India is a work in progress and has a lot of room to improve on different aspects.
Akram Jan 15, 2013 10:24pm
And thats despite Singhs warning that no business as usual with Pakistan. You better listen to your PM
Akram Jan 15, 2013 10:25pm
Writing is also taught in schools. Why dont Indian writers attract a readership?