Friday, September 09, 2005

Was out walking in the rains today in the afternoon. Water was almost waist-high in some places (toward Lower Parel), and people were panicking a little, understandably , with memories of 26/7 still fresh in people's minds. But with all the desperation and poverty and dirt and everything, there was no signs of violence. Everywhere people were doing little things to help out – warning of gutters in the middle of the road, generally giving directions, encouragement, keeping the atmosphere light with smiles and camaraderie, though the tension was very clear beneath the surface.

The walk made me happy. It reminded me we have community in this city. Humanity still exists. It made me feel very proud to be Bambaiya, while on the other side of the planet, the so-called “civilized world” deals with it's own ghosts in the most pitiable of ways.

I think it should be clear to all that “globalization” needs to be a two-way process – sure, we have a lot to learn from the West, but the West has at least as much if not more to learn from “the East”. And this process of learning needs to happen people-to-people, and in a way that's not constructed blindly to fulfill greed and profit motives.

What we've also seen with both the floods, here and there, imho, is the complete lack of faith in authority (and complete lack of action on the part of the authorities). Here, it being a well known fact that the corruption of the political class and their narrow-minded greed is taking us all to the pits of hell – with economics replacing human beings as the basis for urban planning - more sky-scrapers, less green spaces and inadequate infrastructure plaguing an already struggling population; and the only solutions being offered by the media and most institutions point to the West as a model of perfection.

And then we have New Orleans, where the order of things has broken down more than most of us can even dare to imagine. Cops joining looters and absolute anarchy in the wake of disaster, with everyone on a desperate individualistic binge to grab all they can while they can; and the authorities behaving like what I'm afraid the United States is increasingly becoming – a dictatorial police state. The most pronounced response being the surrounding of the city by the National Guard (not even letting the Red Cross in with supplies), evicting people from their homes at gunpoint “for their own safety” and taking people to “Refugee Camps” more resembling Detention Centers.

What's sad is that, sure, these were natural disasters, but in both cases, they have been caused by what we as human beings are doing to ourselves and the planet. I can only hope that we as a people's can learn important lessons from these tragedies – start asking the right questions and hopefully, as a global community, find answers to secure a future for our generation and the ones to come, otherwise I'm afraid there might not be any.


Blogger umarang said...

hi Sanj,

Good stuff. Have just added your blog to our basicindia site.


9:52 PM  

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