Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Downside of Economic "Growth"

This is the image attached along with the anchor article in the Times of India dated July 25, 2007.

It is titled "This village has a 1000 crorepatis". It is about a village whose main occupation till recently was to grow paddy n sell it. That is, until Delhi property prices rose & real estate developers came along & offered these farmers prices which would mean income of the next 2 generations selling paddy in one shot.

Who would refuse such a deal. i wouldn't. They didn't either. So, the property is sold, crores made, lifestylr upgraded accordingly.

This is evident from the report which says the following:

Two years ago, Radadhana in Sonepat district, about 50 km north-west of Delhi, was a paddy-growing village where bullock carts jostled for space on dusty tracks. The tracks are still dusty, but today Skodas, Hondas, Endeavours and a range of SUVs jostle for parking space. The homes, once made of bricks fired at the local kiln, are now gone. They have been replaced with hurriedly constructed and often garishly painted three-storey mansions fitted with ACs.

Gone are the kurta-pyjamas in which the farmers would loll about in the off-harvest months. Now, they are sharply dressed and strut around in their branded jeans.

Now, this is the 4th or 5th such TOI article i've read in the last 3 months. Land which the farmers use for agriculture is being bought off & used to build BPO centres, malls & offices. Agriculture is discontinued. Yes, this is Economic growth. The Rupee output per unit of that land will rise exponentially. But what about the decrease in food output. The newspaper, surprisingly, fails to bring out this side of the story & publishes the whoel article in "India Shining" mode

India is a predominantly agricultural economy. Industrialisation is welcome, but surely not at the cost of food production.

Our progress & so called Economic Growth does not have a sound foundation & one day it will all come crashing down.

Land which can be used for is is currently being used for agriculture is being developed into building complexes. Water shortage is already a problem and this will aggravate it. Electricity is demanded more than it can be supplied. This will skew the ratio even more. Food has not been a problem till now. It's only a matter of time before it too is.

So, there is acute water shortage, acute Electricity shortage & shortly, acute food shortage. Nice.

Growth ? Economic Development ?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Musically Handicapped

My head bobs lightly to the strings of "O sanam" sung in the chocolate voice of Lucky Ali.This guy's voice is so chocolaty , listening to him for too long can get you cavities in your teeth.But this is a blissful time.Past midnight.A hot cup of coffee. No one planning to beat me up. A Swiss chocolate bar lying on my table. And my name managed to crop up in the passing list of CA Final a couple of days ago .And even though the playlist has started with "who let the dogs out" after kicking out "O Sanam" , life is fine right now.

The media player on my computer must be ready to file an over exploitation petition by now. I study, and it plays. I sleep , and it plays.I am in the bathroom , and it plays.I watch TV, and it plays. If media player had fingers , all ten of them must be pointing towards the cross on the right hand top corner of its face by now.

But to be honest , if lack of knowledge of music is a handicap , I am paralysed with both my arms and both my legs missing. You need to understand my upbringing. No cable connection at home, till 1995. My dad, 9s the type of person who would wonder if K.L.Saigal, which sounds a familiar name , is the name of one of his clients . Mom only listened to “Akashwaani” on radio. And if asked on a bad day , they may even identify Elvis as being the president of Cuba. In short , they are as interested in music , as a fish would be in "how to swim" lessons.In shorter terms , they are not interested in music.

So all I had even remotely related to music was 6 audio cassettes of Jagjeet singh ( Dad's music "collection") , chitrahaar and Rangoli and some other Countdown shows on doordarshan , and a radio -cum-cassette player which , with its perfectly rectangular face and the plastic handle on its top , looked like a little suitcase.Of course , dad used to sing in the Bathroom , that too only on Sundays , but lets not count that.

So i grew up with minimal exposure to music. The early years were fine.Little kids anyways sing only "Jack and Jill" and something like 'Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses" , If I remember right.But by the time I stepped into the teens , Cable TV had entered most Indians home , with our home being a silent exception. And my classmates had begun to watch MTV and such things. Suddenly , humming to the tune of "Sardee Khansee na Malaria hua , Lovaria hua " from "Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman" was no longer "cool". When I was in class 11th , a girl in my class asked me if I listened to Bryan Adams. I told her I listen to my mom only. During the school farewell we gave our seniors, a bunch of boys got terribly excited. They formed a little huddle and shouted "Alice.Alice.Who the f**k is Alice ?"And i looked at the guy standing next to me and said "Do you know her ?".It was learnt later , that these were the lyrics of some "angreji" song.

Later in college, I got a computer. The old radio-cum-cassette player was given a proper burial and the gleaming new HP pavilion was unveiled to me in a dramatic fashion. The two speakers standing on either side of the screen seemed to blaring to me "La la ...of your ignorance this is the end , listen to music my ra ra".

It sure ushered in a little music revolution in my life. But I was like getting on a bicycle when most others were driving a car .So now when others are flying around in planes , I am driving the car. I am still very much "Desi" in my musical habits. Lucky Ali. Pritam, Silk Route. Junoon. Bollywood songs. No Remixes. Not Anu Malik ( "Do me a favourrrrr, lets plaaay Holeeee" , now that was too much for me too).So I am not really a part of the so called "cool" gang which understand that Pink Floyd is not a shade of pink but a music band. I still have to focus hard to get the lyrics of an english song right.I have made quite a few attempts to like english music. But trying to make out what the guy is saying amidst all the falling utensils leaves me pretty exhausted by the time it ends. So while music is meant to relax me , trying to decipher English music makes me feel like I am writing the CA Final Direct Tax paper in a pair of jeans 4 inches too tight for my waist , and all this while a stove is burning beneath me.

So I keep reverting back to Hindi Music. While the room to my left blares 'Shaggy' and the room to my right drools 'Aerosmith' , it’s a ignorant and confused Hrithik Roshan asking questions about love and then crooning "Na tum jaano na hum" from the movie "Kaho Na Pyar Hai" in my part of the world. And its all right this way. But if someone asks me "Hey , how do you find Black Eyed Peas ? " ( Its another music band ... I think) , you may just hear me saying "Cant say ..never eaten them ..u like them, why are they called black eyed ?".And I am still confused if its Led Zeppelin or Zed Leppelin.

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