Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Great Indian Journey 4



BOMBAY TO BIHAR - A ROAD LESS TAKEN

DAY 4: Delhi Durbar - India's Seat of Power

By Manuwant Choudhary

Driving into New Delhi is more difficult than a camel entering an eye of a needle.
Thousands of trucks try to enter a bottleneck on the outskirts of Gurgaon.
Instantly, you get the answer why India is a mismanaged and poor country.

I wished India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh tried driving into New Delhi. But alas, Prime Minister’s fly.

Except, when they become former PMs again. Like the late former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, who had a farm at Bhondsi, spent hours at traffic jams personally negotiating with truckers to free traffic hold-ups, with his armed security in tow, and then he would finally make it to parliament!

If I was PM I would have first sacked India’s transport minister and then all planners who have planned, built and executed the toll booths near Gurgaon. They have simply not seen how toll booths are built worldwide. Even South Korea has a better motorway!

Gurgaon in Haryana you could say is a satellite town for New Delhi where several multinationals have set shop in modern glass buildings. Its also a shoppers paradise for the people of Delhi, tired of doing the rounds of an old Cannought Place which has mostly suitcase shops. The supermarkets or the airconditioned `Mall’s’ have caught the imagination of a young India, and most just hang around there even if it is to escape Delhi’s heat.

Not dams (as Nehru had said) but these malls are the temples of modern India.

Gurgaon represents `India Shining’.

But at midnight as I entered Gurgaon I was entering a ghost-town. There was no electricity!

Having stayed in New Delhi for a few days I could see the electricity supply was as bad as in Bihar.

Gurgaon is an address for the rich from across India. But many just build fancy homes here and live instead in Canada, the US or Canada, leaving their palaces to their security guards and dogs!

But despite the affluence one only has to observe the road names to see what people here don’t have.
So when my driver Shankar stopped at a road and simply smiled, I wondered why?
The road was named. “Sukh-chaayn Marg.” (Happiness and Satisfaction Road)

And in New Delhi roads are called Satya Marg, Neeti Marg, Ahimsa….etc..everything our politicians are not.

I have never liked New Delhi.

And do not plan to buy a house here. But yes, a house does interest me.

The Prime Minister’s House!

But not even that, I just wanted to drive into Pakistan and maybe Afghanistan.

1 comment:

Barun said...

The toll roads in a way symbolises much of what is wrong in the Indian way. People have spent more time waiting to pay the toll, than driving on the hallowed road!
Exactly the same situation in the new airports. Passengers can barely find a clean place to seat, but the private-public airport is more keen to get rent from shops in the terminal complex.
Who cares for the paying public, they have no where else to go, seems to be prevailing motto.
Barun