Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Journey Across The Sand Dunes of Rajasthan 5

By Manuwant Choudhary

This photo I took at Pushkar could be a scene in the Bollywood film..Ramleela !

Of course, Ramleela was based in Gujarat.

But it portrays the violent India we live intoxicating concoction of  violence dressed in tradition and modernisation (as in a cellphone)...

My nephew who lives in England visited his village in Bihar and he told me that he could not understand why Indian villages have no electricity or toilets but they have five cellphone towers !

30 years ago Rajasthan was more peaceful.

We stayed in a small town called Gangapur in Bhilwara....and in a month the only crime report that appeared in a newspaper was a theft...within a few hours the thief was caught..and the thief was a Bihari !

I'm not a Shiv Sainik.

But now there are high-profile kidnappings in Rajasthan..and crime news is a daily event...even rapes..and the criminals are not just Biharis.

The Hindu right wing Bharatiya Janata Party is in power.

Driving down from Ajmer to Jodhpur you can see just barren land....stony...and treeless.

The highway is wider and in a planned way modern dhabas have come up which is a nice concept.

So its not hard to guess why so many have migrated from Rajasthan...over the years....long before Rajasthan began its journey to industrialise. Now it has a very rich textile industry and stone industry...

I often tell the owner of `Rajasthan' restaurant in Patna that I will open a restaurant in Jaipur  called `Bihar'!

Its the marwaris I am talking our car entered Jodhpur..I realised this region is called Marwar...

The marwaris are India's traditionally trading communities..and it is them who have done remarkably well in post-independent India.

Most left Rajasthan with nothing but a `lota' (a utensil to drink water), today they run small businesses in every nook and corner of India...some like the Birla's are household names..while L.N. Mittal is a global tycoon.

Even now it is economic interests that keep Marwaris glued to where they live...but its never a problem for them....if economic interests demand... they move...

That could be a secret to their success amongst other things like hard work...and the single-minded pursuit of money and profits.

But once rich they also do charity like no other community, they are religious if only it may be to redeem their sins.

But Indians have a lot to learn from the Marwaris.....if India wants to become an economic superpower.

As you enter Jodhpur all you can see is the dome of a palace..its called `Umaid Bhawan'....

It houses a 5 star hotel and a museum and the private residence of the Maharajah of Jodhpur....

Its beautiful and the driveway to the palace is can spot peacocks here and they will even pose for you.

The Maharajah it seems is building apartments below and they look modern and upmarket for NRIs perhaps..but much better  than the ones in our cities....though it may be expensive...But living here you will look like his subject.

I would rather buy an old fort like Mehrangarh !

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