India is a land of contrasts. Many are quite poor.
……”The growth aspect has tended to receive much more attention than the darker side of the Indian story,” Professor Babu Mathew, Country Director of Action Aid India, told CNN, “More and more the poverty goes unnoticed, and there is less and less of a voice for the excluded peoples.”
The breadth of the divide between what Aravind Adiga calls the “India of Light,” and the “India of Darkness,” is both dramatic and shocking.
Since 1991 when “neo-liberal” market reforms were introduced, India’s economy has ballooned. From 1991 to 2004, the world’s largest democracy grew at 6.5 percent annually, a figure which increased to over 9 percent between 2005 and 2007.
The result has been a massive explosion of wealth creation among the middle and upper echelons of Indian society, with Indian billionaires now occupying four of the top eight slots on the annual Forbes rich list.
While growth has benefited one section of society, it has left a vast swathe of the population lagging far behind.
“People in urban areas, the rich, the middle classes, the educated — all of these have benefited from economic growth,” Dr Arun Kumar of Development Alternatives Group, a sustainable development organization based in Delhi, told CNN, “Those who have not benefited are the small farmers, the rural poor, the artisans — for these their situation has worsened.”