Two Indias

In The White Tiger the narrator differentiates between a Dark India and a Light India.

“Please understand, Your Excellency, that India is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness. The ocean brings light to my country. Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well off. But the river brings darkness to India—the black river (12)”.

I’ve found that recently this theme has been pursued on multiple levels. For example, in this campaign, the famous Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan takes measures to make a distinction between the two. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP-TwHwLc98

Additionally, it seems like there is truly a diversity of income level and life style choices in India. I came to know of the Maharaja Express, which is a luxury train trip that takes travelers across prominent cities in India. The stark contrast between this luxurious vacation package and the poverty of so many in India is just one example of the gap between the rich and the poor.

Maharaja Express: http://www.rirtl.com/

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One thought on “Two Indias

  1. Honestly, this is probably the largest indicator that India has arrived. Like it or not, India is now moving a lot of capital and experiencing huge economic growth. It makes us all smile to look at that number and think that people who were maybe less well off are now better off thanks to an increased economy–it’s a very American idea. However, in the land from which that idea hails, that wealth makes everything better, there’s no proof that it’s true. America’s GDP is immense, so much so that it’s taken a long time for America’s 14.6 T debt to work it’s way up to almost 100% America’s GDP. However, there’s an equally immense gap between the rich and the poor, and the majority of that money is not making the majority of Americans better off.

    So, it’s not surprising to see that, as India grows, their wealth falls in similar terms. Those who are in charge of the sectors that are causing India to grow are holding lots of money, while those who have been working for those sectors, still aren’t. Thus the vacation packages allowing wealthy Indians to ride in a swank train while watching the starving city-goers outside, just like Americans can go to Disney World while people get addicted to drugs, starve, get morbidly obese, and all kinds of other things.

    India has arrived, and you can tell by the prosperity of the ocean against the lack of the river, and I think that’s what Adiga is getting at.

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