walls visible and invisible

It is a sad but unequivocal reality that there exists two Indias. In spite of all talk of unity and integration the truth is that we are a fractured society in strange and multiple permutations and combinations. There are the rich and the poor; the ones that speak English and those who do not; the one that belong to one caste or the other; the rural and the urban; the traditional and the modern; the ones that belong to one faith or another. The list in not only endless but mind boggling as it follows no logic at all but seems to suit different vested interests at different times!

I am still watching with utter helplessness the building of the 2 kilometer wall that will soon encircle the homes of many of our kids and that is being erected to block out the slum dwellers from their middle class neighbours! Wonder what it will take to see this wall fall. In Satara it took a threat of suicide by 100 dalit families and three years to bring down a 150 meter wall that was erected to confine them to one part of the village.

In both cases the wall was built by a court order!

Even policies meant to bridge differences turn out to be quite farcical as they too tend to crate further walls and often seem to be steered by hidden political agendas as is the case with the present debate on the creamy layer that is undoubtedly giving many a sleepless night to politicians.

Yesterday for the first time I traveled in a luxury tourist bus coach. We were taking some friends to see our plot of land. To my utter dismay I found another wall! The driver's cabin was separated by a glass door from the rest of the coach. The coach was air conditioned to almost freezing temperature but the driver's cabin was not. It simply had a small fan and was incredibly hot. I was shocked to say the least as to my mind it is in the drivers hand -quite literally - that lay the safety of his passengers and not having a door would have made scant difference in the comfort of the passengers.

There are walls everywhere, visible or invisible!