Much about India has been pleasantly surprising–the vibrant colors, the spices, the food, the chai, the wild peacocks, the language, the people…oh, and the camels.
And how can anyone not love the sunset over Udaipur?
For example, the new mall Celebration Mall here in Udaipur is selling a Mercedes-Benz on the first floor right next to the Walmart-owned grocery store Easy Day. And just outside the mall, beyond the fancy water fountain, are street vendors who live on close to 2 dollars a day. And a few blocks away is a slum.
I know that this disparity between the rich and the poor is not unique to India. Chile, where I lived for 4.5 years and in many ways is a second home, has one of the widest gaps between the rich and the poor in Latin American. But for some reason I had a different vision of India in my head before coming here. Many academic and news articles paint the image of “India rising,” that it’s IT services and software engineers are behind it’s growing economy. And maybe the very fact that Celebration Mall exists is a sign of such growth.
But is this economic growth enough to lift millions out of poverty? Is it enough to combat malnutrition and to provide clean water? To provide quality education to millions of children, children like these?
Who live in villages in mud homes like these?
I’m left with a question: If India is indeed rising, as some say, then whose India is rising?