I had a discussion with a senior professor of a reputed Institute in Chennai. He was referring to the Tsunami in Tamilnadu and his efforts, to help the affected people, through his students.
Some of his erstwhile foreign students, now in Europe, called him up and offered half a million euros to support his efforts. He flatly refused their offer stating that he valued the small contributions of the local people, from the local neighbourhoods, to mitigate the hardship, more important to him than such a generous offer. When I asked him why he thought so, he replied that his logic was, nowadays, Indians are ‘abdicating their social responsibility’ the moment they hear of any government project, any donor inflow, any private initiative, to tackle such issues. This he said was against his grain of thinking. Hence the refusal.
I was left dumbfounded at such a logic, when times are such that people would fall head over heels to get external funding at any cost.
One would immediately retort, saying ‘how about Bombayites during the recent floods ?’ Well these are exceptions and exceptions do not make the rule.
Again, to state, most Bangaloreans, for eg., do not have any idea about the issues and the plight of northern Karnataka people face. I am a living example for this statement. I/We know more about what is happening in US and Europe than what is happening in my/our own backyards.
Sorry to provoke the readers, but then, it is so. (I do not mean to denigrate any one, here.)
Though this is a digression, I felt that the look on the Jatka saabi appeared to be melancholic. It led me to wonder whether there are brighter days ahead at all for him. How would he manage his family with his dwindling income from his profession, how would his family meet its requirements?
While Bangalore is getting swankier by the day and is trying to compete on the global scale, what has it brought to the poor people’s lives? They are edged out of their jobs, their locations, their roots. They remind me of ‘living fossils’ waiting to get sucked into the pages of history.
This applies not only to this segment of people, but to host of people depending on small vocations, who fall into mainly silent and voiceless category. (I have seen these people always pleading for enhancing their rates from customers). Bangalore alone is not Karnataka.
In the race against technology versus people, it appears, in most cases, it is always the people who lose. Is it not the time to stop, look back and see whether we need ‘technology rewind or unwind’?
Again back to the quote, ‘Quo Vadis’?