2 Nations In One Nation
– November 05, 2017
Traveling through the roads in the state I currently reside, I was taken back in memories to 20 years. 20 years back, there were no real roads or to call something a “road”. We used to say, the fields are better than the so-called road. But the 50 kilometers to nearest town with all these challenges used to take only 1 and half hours. 20 years later after 10 years of constant development we have now a half built road. And the same distance takes anywhere between 2 and half to four hours. The so-called half developed road is daily being dug and rebuilt for the last 10 years. Where there were about 1500 trucks crossing this Indo- Nepal border town 20 years back, today you find more than 3000 trucks. From 12 wheeler it has gone to 32 and 64 wheeler. Many a day half the road, up to 30 kilometers is blocked with 2 lines of parked container lorries awaiting crossing of the border. And the town as usual is filled with dusty trucks and horse carts, rickshaws and cycles, cars and buses with people squeezing their way in between. A railway crossing that is at the center of the town, remains closed for 1 to 2 hours at times, blocking traffic for hours together.
20 years down the line, after supposedly 10 years of so called infrastructure development we take more time to travel, roads are worse, and people await “real development”. But why should not this be so, should we expect anything more, for a location and context which is invisible for the powers and authorities.
Having spent 14 years in Delhi, we have seen in a span of 10 years, millions of rupees being spent to beautify the city, demolish slums, set up metro lines, and fly overs and see that infrastructure catches up with the dynamic needs. One does recognize that there is more to go in terms of the requirements of such urban centers and development has led to worsening of air quality. But because it is the visible India, India which is seen by our dignitaries and visitors, there is constant attention and discussion about such big cities. But for the invisible India, locations like where we are, where the powers and authorities do not land up, development continues at a much different pace.
One is left with the realization that it is not one Nation and 2 narratives we are talking about but 2 nations in the same nation. The visible India which the rulers and authorities tend to see, and the invisible India generally ignored by them and the media. This is not only for infrastructure but other areas too.
Last 2 weeks we had a visiting senior OB Gyn Specialist from Kerala working with us. She was surprised to see almost one Eclampsia per day, many rupture uterus’s and almost all the book descriptions of Obstetric emergencies which one no more sees in the cities of our nation and or South.
There was a statement in the press two week back by one of the senior health ministry official on “eradication of Leprosy in India” saying that we are almost there. In our center, we see one to two new patients with Leprosy every day invisible to the national data though it is reported. Patients with HIV, MDR TB, Tetanus, Rabies suicide attempts etc. is a common feature in many locations like ours. Maternal deaths and neo-natal deaths continue in the communities. But none of this ever reaches the main stream media. A sensational murder of a politicians relative or a Bollywood suicide is more media worthy than the thousands of rural maternal neo-natal or suicide deaths.
The paradox of visible India vs invisible India. The visible that authorities and powers and media tend and want to see and the invisible that they tend and do not want to see.
The outcome of all these? The invisible India is moving to the visible India. Changing the landscape of the visible India. Last week a local crowd landed up with a patient and was questioning one of our senior doctors. How can you run hospital without these specialists – they had a list of specialists they wanted the administration to bring. The senior doctor knowing very well that these people are from families who have many doctors in their community asked a question, what about your family members, doctors? They categorically made this statement “Who will work in the context like this town? Why should they stay here?” All of them are in the visible India, in the visible upwardly mobile corporate careers leaving their own families and communities in the invisible India.
When will our leaders wake up to realize that we are 2 nations in one nation. And if this is ignored the 2 shall become one – the visible will become like the invisible. May be then only our leaders will wake up. Will it too late then?
I read this today in the Good Book – “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the town, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one.”
I hope we will have more who will stand up to repair the defenses of the invisible India…