When Salim and Jamal escaped the dreary sets of the slums the audience rejoiced, but unfortunately, not everyone living in the slums enjoyed such happy endings. The need for balance in the universe demands that with every skyscraper being constructed, a slum housing approximately the same population must rise elsewhere, within the city walls. But, 14 odd million people living in such frugal living conditions, is a pretty steep price to pay for balance.
According to the NSSO, around one-eighth of the urban population is housed in the slums in India. Given that India’s population is around 1.5 billion, we are talking about a huge population slumming it, literally.
Why does this happen? Oh, we all know why this is happening. An amalgamation of Indian politicians, Scrooge-like businessmen and Hitler like loan sharks with their ready to use Quotation gangs is more than sufficient to ensure that the cosmos is satisfied. The rich get richer, and the poor don’t get any better.
The stats are all available. Not in some dusty cupboard in a government office, but neatly compiled in a decent website. Yep, the stats are all there, point is that no one is bothered enough to look it up. People would prefer to Google search “How to cook Pot Roast” or “Vampire Diaries playlist” or even better “Download Movies for free” as opposed to looking up the living conditions of people living in their own city.
Just picture it, every time you grab a Coke and walk into the Movies with your friends, or drive along Marine Drive, and later squander your allowance on burgers and fries, whose side effects you will later try to shed, thanks to your personal trainer; there is a kid sleeping without a roof above his head, eating food off a rusted plate, playing cricket using the branches of the tree that fell down during the storm, and trying to earn his living by selling wares along the same Marine Drive.
Corruption, a change in the mind-set of the common man, these may be big problems, ones that we may not equipped to solve as of now. But, fact remains that unless we solve those issues, it is children like Jamal and Salim that will have to pay the price. Our parents try to provide us with the privileges they never had. As a society we are duty bound to atleast let others enjoy the privileges we did have. That’s the choice here, not ability, but responsibility.
© Copyright 2016 Annette Francis. All rights reserved.