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India

INDIA | Tuesday, 15 October 2002 | Views [470]

India’s a hard place to figure out.  It’s so poor here, but everybody I’ve talked to seems happy for the most part.  Driving to the airport this morning at 5am, I saw so many people camped out on the sidewalks.  I’m told that over 700,000 of India’s 1 billion+ population sleeps outside every night.  70% are below the international poverty line of $2 USD per day, and 48% make less than $1 USD per day!  These numbers are so impossibly difficult to fathom coming from a society that makes more than that in 15 minutes. 

People make their homes from anything and everything they find.  I look out the train windows and see homes made of clay walls with a tarp weighted by rocks and wood as the roof.  Some lucky ones may find some scrap tin to use as a roof, or even the ruins of some building that should be condemned.  Communities of families crowd under bridges and overpasses, clothes hanging in the open to dry, kids running naked everywhere, washing clothes, bathing, drinking in the same places as the holy cows wallow. 

And yes, cows are holy in the Hindu religion.  They believe that a different god resides in each part of a cow’s body, therefore it is forbidden to harm one.  They roam wherever they please, even in the city.  They usually congregate around the rivers, but sometimes a small herd will plant itself in someone’s courtyard where there might be an especially tasty patch of grass. 

Tags: india, musings

 

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