(Article) Lessons from Beijing and Bundelkhand

Article : Lessons from Beijing and Bundelkhand 

A successful Indian businessman—indeed, one of the most successful in the telecom sector—had this to say after his return from Beijing , where he had gone to watch the Olympics. “I felt depressed when I came back to Delhi . Beijing is a miracle city, a truly world-class city. The wonder is, all its transformation has taken place in just the last four years. In contrast, Delhi is miles behind.” 

Just a few days earlier, I had met another businessman, a struggling but dynamic contractor engaged in building a small stretch of the national highway in Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh. “I feel depressed when I come to Delhi ,” he said. “ Delhi is shining by keeping places like Bundelkhand in the darkness of poverty and backwardness. Delhi grabs everything for itself, whereas our region is a picture of neglect—no roads, no hospitals, no proper schools and colleges, no industries, no employment. I sometimes feel that we Bundelkhandis, who produced patriots like Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi , should revive the spirit of 1857 and revolt against this discrimination.”

 Two disquieting observations, but there is merit in both. Our national capital has a long, long way to go before it can match Beijing in world-class infrastructure, civic amenities, efficient local governance and global self-projection. Equally true is the fact that Bundelkhand and many other deprived and neglected parts of India are way behind Delhi in terms of even basic infrastructure and services. Of course, in recognising the disparity between Delhi and Bundelkhand, we should not be oblivious to the disparity within Delhi itself. Large parts of its newly populated areas—the Delhi of jhuggi-jhopadis where distressed farmers and other ravaged sections of the rural poor from the under-developed regions in north India have migrated to—are condemned to have poor housing, wretched educational and health services, inadequate water supply and, not the least, squalid and disease-breeding environs. This internal disparity is the stark truth about almost every other Indian city.  

India ’s development strategy should be attentive both to China ’s stupendous progress and to the stultifying stagnation of the many Bundelkhands spread across our land. We must improve the global profile of our national capital and other major Indian cities. As India ’s gateways to the world, they must present the picture of a nation on the rise, a proud nation of over one billion people that is confidently seeking its rightful place in the world. At the same time, with even greater zeal, we should work for the speedy and all-round development of those regions of our country and those sections of our society that have badly lagged behind.  Read more..

By : Sudheendra Kulkarni
Courtesy : Sustainablehrm.blogspot.com