Read an article in the IHT on the plane today [the other day], Viewpoint by Andy Mukherjee: The Burning of Bangalore, syndicated from Bloomberg News.
Urban amenities - like roads, power and water - are in woefully short supply because town planners and civic administrators have been asleep at the wheel. After 24 years of discussion, debate and hand-wringing, work has finally begun on a much-needed subway system to ease the terrible traffic jams in the city.
Hands up those who think Bangalore's civic infrastructure problems are different in any real way from every other overcrowded, under-infrastructured Indian city?
Hands up those who would be brave or foolhardy enough to patronise (even if hypothetically it were ever to be finished) a subway in provincial India? Why not just dig a hole and bury yourself alive now?
Town planners asleep at the wheel? Assuming there ARE town planners in India - a formidable leap of faith to begin with - isn't is more likely that they have wheeling and dealing with whatever funds have been available from baksheeshing all those years.
I have nothing to judge these horrible comments on beside 10 years of visiting India and seeing absolutely nothing improve, at least by the external evidence, in the daily plight of the average Indian, despite all this talk of employment growth and economic powerhouse expansion. The place is as half-finished, exploitative and half-arsed as it ever was. As I watch the Untouchable women redistribute the wealth of dust on the streets with wands of fine branches, as I watch the children shit on the road-side and scoot off to beg for more food and money for their Fagan-like runners, as I watch cows command the traffic-flow, as I watch the piles of rubble and refuse move past the window of my auto-rickshaw, as we skirt great holes in the road, as I pay $200-300 USD a night for a hotel room where damp-damaged paint flakes off the bathroom door and where there are no English language channels on the TV and nothing is in the bar-fridge save Pepsi- or Coke-labelled mineral water and where the shower-water is so hard the soap won't lather...
OK I lie - one thing has improved, but this affects tourists much more than most locals. Those monstrous Ambassador taxis with their bouncy-as-Grandma's-couch rear seats have been greatly superseded by Hyundai and Suzuki micro-cars.
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
How true. How come no one else ever says this?
Funny you should say that, there was session in the BBC News about how most of the Indian population are still living in primitive villages and that education and opportunities are at what seems to me to be a Middle Ages level. Some poor guy, all he can do is manually thresh wheat, that's all he does, all he was trained to do, all he ever will do. I'd say education is the answer, if it wasn't for the Philippines experience...