Are you already tired of India?
Asks the NRC Handelsblad, the newspaper that comes home.
No. No I’m not tired of India. Because digging deeper into India is the same as digging deeper into myself. And finding surprises.
Recently I was surprised to see a picture of the alley in which Jyoti, the brave woman who died of her injuries after being raped, lived with her brothers and parents. I had said in the Netherlands Radio 1 interview that she was from the middle class. Then I saw that the alley she lived in looked like a semi-slum in Delhi. So I was wrong.
I like surprises.
This surprise will help me to remember that the men working as porters in the Indian airport that I land in next time may be there because they have a daughter to educate. That is one of the jobs that Jyoti’s father, Badri Singh Pandey did, to earn money for her. He also sold his land to give his children an education.
The same day ie. January 14, the NRC Handelsblad has a column in its economy section – ‘India throws shadow over it’s own future.’
About India it goes on to say,
‘The dreadful rape case there may look like an incident but it says everything about treatment towards women, a culture rooted in prejudice, about the inability to govern, about far reaching consequences of the male-female ratio because of selective abortions.
India is even now considered as one of the promises of the future. Is this only about perception inspired by a few big cities and a few modern centres on the coast? No idea. But it seems more like such a link is drawn for the future without reason’.
‘A wonderful thing is imagined about India and sent into high orbit, and then it is brought crashing down.’ I am quoting Amartya Sen, the well-known economist who has made us aware of a particular kind of orientalism.
In the week to come, the NRC reporter in Delhi Joeri Boom is going to be highlighting the differences between the ‘traditional rural areas versus the modern city’.
Badri Pandey, a villager is like millions of men and women of India who don’t abort their daughters and do educate them. So does the rape case say everything about the treatment towards women in India? Does it clarify how it is a place deep rooted in prejudice? Badri Pandey’s village right in the heart of India is nowhere near any coast, and is better known for its ‘poverty’ than it’s ‘modernity’. He does, however share at least some ideas that are common to the progressive ones of the NRC Handelsblad in ‘modern’ Netherlands. Like believing in his daughter’s dream of becoming a doctor and moving heaven and earth towards making it happen.