What to the poor was G20?

I did not wish to write it till the festivities were over. To me it seemed like an opulent wedding of a lower middle class family. 

That does one of the three things;

Wipe out a family’s lifelong savings, puts the family under debt, or both. 

It is mostly both. 

G20 & India

G20, has 19 countries, European Union and African Union. 

India is the poorest of the 19. 

It has the lowest GDP Per Capita at $2601 

Indonesia which is the second lowest, sits at $5017. 

Our Human Development Index is also the lowest at 0.633

As per UN, The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. Learn more about HDI here,

We are not only the most destitute, but also the sickest and the least educated

Well at least by the established standards, but what do they know. 

Bangladesh sits at .661; This also means we are weaker and lesser educated than Bangladesh. 

Although we have more billionaires, so I reckon that is a win.  

But we still managed to spend the most to host this event,  4100 Crores, that is about half a billion, 500m$ 

and there was water logging,

or maybe there wasn’t

Depends on who you ask, but the Public Works Department (PWD) said there was heavy water logging but everything was smooth around the VVIP routes. Which pretty much means all is well, for those who matter. 

Paani gaon ke upar se nikal jaye; hamare  pero taley nahi aana chahiye;’

The village may get flooded; but it should not wet my porch.

probably Amrish Puri

It doesn’ t matter now, spilled milk water under the bridge.

A lot was achieved by us, they say, I am not expert but it has been summed up by Menaka Doshi here, and a lot was achieved by those who snubbed our Prime Minister, read here

At what Cost?

$500m, they say, INR 4100 crores. Just quoting and converting public figures.

And they built a lot of barriers, around their own citizens.

We, Indians love barriers. 

Only Brahmins had the right to education. Barrier. Lower Caste cannot come drink from same pool. Barrier. 

And it goes all the way up. 

Where we have massive government buildings, cordoned by security.  Clubs reserved for officers. Restricted neighbourhoods, Private gates upon public parks, you name it. 

For a free country, or partially free, depends on who you ask; there is not much freedom to go around.

Though we tend to get very selective, we extol G20 Presidency, demand a seat on the Security Council but when it comes to freedom of speech, life and liberty and equal rights to all citizens, we erect barriers.

Briefly, it sure did feel what foreign occupation looks like.

And These guys Love Light Shows

As much as it says about lack of creativity, it reeks of nepotism, in the sense; they seem to have one only vendor who has all but one trick up his sleeves. 

Even for a sombre and solemn memorial such as Jallianwala Bagh; they executed a light and sound show.

For those of you who may not know, Jallianwala Bagh is managed through Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust, and all decisions are made by Ministry of Culture, Government of India. 

They did one on Gateway of India, in May I wasn’t surprised, with the light show on Qutub Minar, or Red Fort for that matter. 

Vandalism in the name of beauty. 

Anyway the point is this government loves sound and light shows, and spares no expense in doing one.  In this case some part of $500m/ INR 4100 crores. 

And they served Vegetarian Food

India is predominantly Non-Vegetarian Country. If G20 was supposed to represent India, the food at least didn’t. At personal level I sensed a case Class Politics and institutionalization of vegetarianism. 

‘…vegetarianism in South Asian communities is quite different. “It is deeply linked to caste mandates and religious dictates. It can be a hot-button religious and political issue. Upper caste Hindus are often vegetarian whereas Dalit, Adivasi, and many Shudra communities are predominantly non-vegetarian.’


All of that is for another discussion another time, but for now at least the world leaders got the taste, or lack thereof, of our personal freedoms.

And they are ashamed of the poor and the downtrodden

The people of this country were once British Subjects. 

We are probably free-er than how were in British rule with self-governance and all, but the way poor were sequestered, traders asked to shut shop and those you survive on daily wages, were asked to survive in a different manner;

This is what citizens of a conquered nation feel like.

When a leader of a nation asks the citizens to sacrifice, it is the poor who do and the soldiers who die. The marginals are the marginals because they are at the margins. 

Hence it was easy, as well as convenient, to cover the margins. 

And we did that. 

These images are all over the place and it does not matter. And It probably cost a fraction of $500m/ INR 4100 crores.

There is no point here. I personally felt that it was sheer waste of taxpayers’ money. World leaders have visited India before and they have their teams, consulates, embassies, media and spies. They know about our poverty, our poor, our open drains, stench, and the air that we breathe.

And to the poor of India, I have this message by Frank Underwood,

Nobody can hear you, Nobody cares about you.

Ekla Chalo Re

We do what we can, where we are, with what we have. This maxim by Theodore Roosvelt has stood me in good stead, and I also have poetry of Rabindranath Tagore to power me through. There are better versions of the song, but I leave you here with one modern rendition. I am sure Thakur Sa’ab won’t mind as long as we stay courageous and on the righteous path.