A sandstorm recently swept across north India and killed hundreds of people. Mud huts were thrown to pieces and only shelters for the heads of poor went with the wind.. .. When the news was flooding through media, I searched facts about north Indian states and poverty.. Social inequality, exploitation of caste system by politicians to gain rule,.. lower tiers of caste always struggling for mare survival.. . Latest “good news” for poor is this dust storm.
What to expect next.. Some scientists have attributed the increase and the frequency of storms to climate changes stemming from global warming. Much more scary stuff started to appear in these discussions. “Thunderstorms, flash floods and heat waves are likely to increase in future and their intensity will be more visible in northern India” one scientist had expressed his views to media.
A great subcontinent on pillars of ancient caste systems.. Rich traditions of Hindus and Muslims.. Poorest of poor and richest of rich… Multiple gods.. Sacred cows… stray dogs.. rickshaw drivers.. changing climates.. floods and storms.. Media reports of human tragedies.. Amidst all these, novelists writing about an amazingly colorful society bubbling with life’s moments, joys, power, and sufferings…
I have recently become a fan of those Indian writers, who describe the rich cultures of their country and spice their novels with unbelievably vibrant Indian society. The struggle between castes and social classes are common in almost all those novels… In all those stories, faces of poor in every nook and corner of the society were distinctly visible.
Some of the characters of the novel “ Between Assassinations” by Aravind Adiga, came into life in my mind and started to make a dialogue about fates of poor amid this tragic news flowing through media during last days. In the novel, there is this coolie called “ Chennayya” who is a star among peers. Chennayaya is among many porters in town, who paddle cart-cycles to deliver goods from the town’s furniture shop to customers’ homes in the pouring rain and in burning sun.
In writer’s words, simple economies play in their lives.. “ 2 rupees per each trip and one can make 3 trips a day making 6 rupees, deducted from lotteries and liquor, they can save 45 rupees a month. A trip to the village, extra long drinking binge, an evening with a whore, your whole months saving were dust”… “A man has to be slightly above the poverty to even to talk about the injustice” .. Chennayya fights, obeys, suffers and work and work.. An unheard voice below the line of poverty.
These men dream about getting autorickshaws and putting tea shops in villages. Dreams of poorest of poor… When small towns flood with people from villages coming to work as day laborers, their families live in mud huts in distant villages. Then comes the climate change… more dust storms and floods..casualties reported in worldwide media, then forgotten after the next cricket match and election.
This is the story of the third world, where the struggle for survival is utmost important than anything else. This is the story of poor and the human face of the climate change politics.. These are the stories – stranger than fiction-a writer will find interesting for years to come, as we can not see much light in near future for these third world nations…