DISAPPEARING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A seaplane and shanties

http://bagchiblog.blogspot.com

The photograph alongside displays an interesting perspective. It shows a seaplane a service of which was launched at Juhu Airport in Mumbai to connect Lonavla, the popular hill station near the metropolis. The plane will land at Pawana Dam near Lonavla.

The photograph shows a sea-plane poised for takeoff. In the foreground an agricultural worker continues to do his sowing work quite unconcerned. Beyond the aircraft, in the background one can see a shanty settlement from many of the shanties of which DTH antennas can be seen sticking out. Shanties and DTH? This was unthinkable a few years back. But today it is a reality – not only in Mumbai, even in Bhopal too. Within those small spaces the shanty-dwellers generally have all kinds of gadgetry and appliances the most ubiquitous of which are the TVs and mobile phones. These are the people who constitute Modi’s “neo-middleclass”. They have emerged from below poverty level but are yet to stabilise themselves in the (lower) middle classes


Outside the shanty clusters in Bhopal I have had occasion to see a number of motorbikes. And, also push-carts that sell hamburgers and other fast food items of Western and Chinese variety. On top of the carts there are signboards with FAST FOOD writ large on them in English.

Looks like, India is surely on the move.
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