In a column titled An Indian says Farewell to poverty with jitters (August 9th) published in the New York Times, the columnist Akash Kapur pointed out few things about India’s development and its sustainable structure. I felt to give him a reply because the way he is portraying India to outsiders is pathetic and hid a lot of the realities of so called development ethic, the new chores for writer like Akash Kapur who are missing their home land: India with Bullock carts, thatch roof huts and earth roads.
Akash wrote in his column “The other day I went for a drive on my motorcycle and realized that my world had changed completely”, yes for sure. If you had run your old bicycle, still nothing would have changed in your life. You are able to recognize change even due because your are running motorbike instead of Atlas bicycle (Old Indian bicycle manufacturer brand name, very heavy and made for Indian bad roads at sometime but not anymore in picture because the roads of India had changed, thanks to good road!)
There are lots of writer based in India those who only write for a public outside of India to portray what is happening here, or going along wrong or unsustainable track. The whole column was written in a way to show American or International public that India has chosen a way, which the writer feels, pretty alienated the sustainable society or homogeneous society, which used be in India in now disappearing. A kind of column what you can see in any Newspaper across US an UK written by Indian to show that how wrong things has been going on here back in homeland.
I do not disagree with the reality that things are moving across unsustainable way here but at the same time I try to dive down deep to me to see: If I was different than others? Those who are doing things…. pretty wrong…. or trapped in… so-called enigma of development?
Akash said in his column “When I was a boy, the road was bordered by emerald-green rice fields. There’s not a rice field in sight anymore, only the neon greens — and pinks and purples and oranges — of the concrete blocks that have taken their place.” Dear Akash who wants to do farming any more and grow Paddy in field? And when your kind of great writers become icon for Indian students, then their parents can not farm any more. How many farmers from India have you seen sending their children to study abroad to Harvard or Cambridge? (Where you studied)
If you see Mr.Akash’s profile in his personal website, you would know that he had studied in Harvard and Cambridge. Everyone knows how tough is to go in these institutions first. If one wants to go there, it is very clear that the son or daughter of a man who run bullocks to plough their field would not be the one of them. If parents like Akash’s want to send their children to study abroad in these institutions, definitely they cannot afford it while running bullocks in their fields. They will definitely have to move to tractors to plough more land and get more income to send their children to the best schools in the world. What Akash’s parents must have thought about. No question why they thought about it but when someone else does the same, why the class which Akash belongs to emerges as a medium of thought where they see things happening in wrong direction?
Akash do not hesitate to claim, on his website, that his second home is USA. I would definitely say that if I have to make a living somewhere in USA for half of the year, I can not afford it while running a bicycle around for earning money.
Akash Kapur claims that he had been living in a village where things suddenly started to change and he could not reconcile from the change. I would like to say that as far as I know where Akash lives, it is not a village, it’s a five star resort surrounded by poor villages. I was there back and would like to say that Mr.Akash’s village or the village what he claims to be his, is having three or so more video facilities, ten or more world class restaurants where you can eat food as you can in US or Europe. It has a very good library with facilities to borrow books, videos or audio files, a good swimming pool and hundreds of sport facility and so on. If Akash claims it to be a village, I would dare to say please o’ lord make all villages of India like that.
The problem with Akash’s kind of writer is that they seem to believe that world is changing beside them but they cannot do anything and its fills them with grief and sorrow. I had been feeling the same but now I know very well that I have been able to understand the changes which are happening In Indian context because I have had chance to use most of it which are categorized as unsustainable part of development. Now which seems to be jitter to the whole society. Sometimes, I did feel quite bad about things going on around me but when I saw people who are doing things miserably or trying to do that, I only see one point: that they are on the same ladder where I am sitting quite much higher then them. The people who are running bicycle today would definitely want to move to a motorbike (what Akash is running to write this column) and the ones who have motorbike want to move to a car, and car owner wants to buy more and more good cars, then those who are traveling in India would like to go abroad like Akash to study or to have a second home in US or Europe. They can not do it by running bullocks cart, living on dirt roads in thatch roof houses.
I doubt even that Akash has ever lived in thatch roof house? Those who lived in there want to change because they do not want their children to play and get attacked by scorpions and snake in house. They want more and more security and leisure for them and their family. This is why development for them seems to be a kind of gift, which had changed their life. Of course when life style changes, lots of other things changes in your life, like Akash pointed about the violence in nearby Village where he seems to be living. This is a by-product what we are doing right now and that tend to happen, it’s the price what we pay to our self. But because I can see what is going to happen to million other those who are going to board in development plane I can not ask them to refuse this development on mere basis because I myself know what is going to happen, alas I have used all that for which I am denying now and have used this is why I have understood. Or can claim I do understand.
In short reply to Akash, sir you are good writer but could you write about India as you have seen? You have earned by this development and you have enjoyed the life of this development you could have never lived in USA as your second home if your parents would have been driving bullocks cart around the dirt road which leads to your village or resort? You could have never studied in Harvard or Cambridge if your parents would have been driving the bicycle or living in thatch roof entire their lives? You could have never been able to work on your profile if you would have used to live your life what you are claiming to be good? Is not it? You would have never able to buy a lappy if your parents would have not made money out of economic boom where land was sold to the factories in awesome prices? Is not it?
Actually we are living in a world where we have nostalgia either about future or past. Those who are living in developed nation are hoping to live in thatch roof houses and mud earth block building with having sustainable power supply and eco transport. The ones who are living in developing nation or come from kind of social class wish to have motorbike, cars, concrete buildings, uninterrupted power supply. Those who have cars wish to have bullocks cart in their service or horses but those who had once or owing them right away now wish to sell to buy a house or a motorbike.
Akash Kapur nostalgia is about past, and have to be… Shall I question how many years he had worked in farm to grow rice, how many hours did he sat on bullock carts, ran Atlas bicycle what once upon whole India used to run? And have lived in house which in incorporated like mud house of villages which seems to disappear from his eyes?
Best of luck be Indian by heart. Be Human by nature