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Photo Essay: Mother India Looking Sexy in Poverty Pornography

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India Has Arrived

Following a Beggar in Sarojini Nagar Market (S N), One of Delhi's Busiest Bargain Bazaars

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India is now more than just being the flavor of the season. Superstar columnist Thomas Friedman got the title of his latest bestseller The World is Flat from an Indian CEO – Nandan Nilekani of Infosys. Brangelina chose to shoot their latest filmA Mighty Heart – in Mumbai, the heart of the Indian filmdom. Most of the AIDS drugs for the world’s poor are manufactured by Cipla, a pharmaceutical firm of India. The world no. 1 steel baron, Lakshmi Mittal, holds an Indian passport. The historic Boston hotel, Ritz-Carlton, is all set to be acquired by an Indian hospitality chain – the Taj Hotels. Microsoft’s biggest development center facility outside the U.S. is built in an Indian city – Hyderabad. In 2006, Pepsico appointed its first female CEO – an Indian woman named Indra Nooyi. The jewels worn by top stars in the 2005 Hollywood flick Troy were designed by an Indian jewelry store in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Meanwhile, jobs in US continue to be Bengalurooed by the bustling call centers of India.

Still doubting India’s resurgence? Read on.

Following a Beggar in S N – With Immobile Limbs, He is Moving by Rolling on the Ground

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India has More Billionaires than China

The stock market boom and a red hot real estate market have raised the combined net worth of India’s 40 richest people by 60% in 2006, and helped produce nine more billionaires.

According to the latest Forbes rich list, India has as many as 36 billionaires, which is more than double the 15 China has. The collective net worth of India's 40 richest persons stands at an astounding 170 billion dollars. This is way ahead of the sum total of their Chinese counterpart – 38 billion dollar. The minimum net worth of India's richest is also considerably higher at 790 million dollars, as against 514 million dollars in China.

China is still ahead in superpower appeal but India’s is closing the gap.

Following a Beggar in S N – The Way to Push the Bowl Ahead is with the Head

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Following a Beggar in S N – Busy Shoppers Walking Past the Wretched of the Earth

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Figures Speak for Themselves

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has rated India as the second fastest growing major economy in the world, with a GDP growth rate of 8.9% at the end of the first quarter of 2006–2007. Indian economy happens to be the fourth largest as measured by purchasing power parity, with a gross domestic product of US $3.611 trillion.

Its potency was proved on November 15, 2006, when the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) benchmark Sensex breached a new high of 13,500 for the first time before closing at 13,469.37. Similarly, the National Stock Exchange's (NSE) S&P CNX Nifty jumped further by 10.40 points or 0.27 per cent to close at a new peak of 3,876.30 from the previous close of 3,865.90.

Following a Beggar in S N – Developing Immunity to 'Regular' Sights

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Following a Beggar in S N – Encountering Extreme Poverty is a Part of Daily Life

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India’s Emerging Potential

Following a Beggar in S N – The Beggar Passing by a Fellow Beggar

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Following a Beggar in S N – Don't Judge Harshly, It is Tough to  Constantly Carry a Conscience

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As the fourth-largest economy in the world, India is undoubtedly one of the most preferred destinations for foreign direct investments. Its economy has positioned itself as one of the front-runners of the rapidly growing Asia Pacific Region. The country has a large pool of skilled managerial and technical expertise. The size of the middle-class population at 300 million exceeds the population of both the US and the EU, and represents a powerful consumer market. The country is capturing the imagination.

A Young, Rich India

Following a Beggar in S N – Do Not Worry; People Will Drop Coins; He Will Live

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According to a gushing Forbes columnist, just about everyone in the sunny India looks young. In fact, more than a third of India’s population is under the age of 15, making it among the most youthful nations on the planet and certainly younger on average than China.

Amidst all this hoopla, wages are rising steadily, malls and multiplexes are mushrooming, airline travel is becoming affordable, and salaries youngsters are buying everything from iPods to Palmtops. India Today, the nation’s largest selling weekly, was excited enough to recently feature a cover story titled ‘Wired Generation’.

A Nation Drunk in Success

Following a Beggar in S N – The Art of Ignoring the Unprivileged Fellow Human Beings

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Following a Beggar in S N – The Party Spoiler

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Indian newspapers no longer carry tiresome and repetitive reports on droughts, dying and poverty. Instead the pages are splashed with stories about cricket matches, Bollywood breakups and penthouse classifieds.

Following a Beggar in S N – No Share in the Surrounding Prosperity

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With the economy in boom, Indians are also turning hip. Sex dates are common among the Orkut members. Arranged marriages are evolving to love-cum-arranged marriages. Joint families go to malls for Sunday outings. Gradually, certain parts of the country are looking more and more like a slice of the first world. People no longer need to fly to west. America is being built, silicon chip by silicon chip, in India itself!

Following a Beggar in S N – A Young Girl Points her 'Discovery'

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The Awakening of a Soul

As a countdown to India’s independence from the British, this is what Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister, said in 1947: “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge…At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Yes, Indeed – The Soul of a Nation, Long Suppressed, Finding Its Utterance!

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THE END

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About Mayank Austen Soofi

  • Srinivas, India

    There are so many good things you can see in India. Still foreigners only show these poor people. The photo graph shows a handicapped person and he is begging in the street. He can sit in the platform and beg, but he wants more money, so he is lying in the ground. You can see these kind of people every where. Even in Kosovo, i could see people begging in roads, some country may be strict. Not India. Even if you take them to jail, they will be come back to the same job. Some of them cut their hands, remove their eyes for begging. It is totally mone making. If some one work even in under developed remote country side of India can make atleast $3 per day for sure. We are not that poor as westeners project. I live in Bangkok and people wearing good dress beg here in the hidden corners no one can see, they dont show face and they are youngsters like 15- 20 years old boys, they beg for drugs and beer. Begger’s are every where, people put money becuase according to Hindu tradition it is a good to help others. In my appartment an Australian lives here, i was trying to sell some donation tickets to him for Thai charity, he says he is helping his Thai Girl friend, so he does not want to buy charity tickets, even a food seller in road buys from me after know this is for charity, just $1 ticket rich australian do not buy(may be he saves for his evening Beer !!!), helping own girl friends family is not charity !!!. It is your duty to take care people with you. Bad excuse. So dont blame India for begging. We have so many positive things there. We have more youngsters to work than other countries. Every corner of the world you can find Indian food and Indian people. We have 18 official languages and 21 parties forming government. Our president is a Muslim, Prime Minister is Sikh and Ruling Party Leader is Catholic, Opposition party is Communist. What a democractic country. US has only two options Coke and Pepsi. Thinks positive about India !!!

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    I don’t understand why someone wants the title changed; I can’t see anything offensive so I hope you don’t change it.

  • Clavos

    Does Mother India not safeguard her citzens’ freedom of speech?

    Especially since it appears the author has chosen his words (and his photographs) very carefully to make an ironic point about the distribution of wealth in Mother India?

  • http://null AnArchist

    This is mere attention-seekingArundhati-Royisms – the article is actually a part of the malaise of wilful reportage about India/Third World countries that the author apparently rails against. There’s no difference between this and the Nirad Chaudhuri model.

  • Mayank Austen Soofi

    I will not change the title. A lot of thought had gone to its framing. Besides, anyone who actually cares to read this article can make out my love for my fellow Indians.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    Good for you Mayank. Some people are getting their undies twisted over nothing!

  • Nancy

    Truth should never be made more polite just to avoid offending someone – and this applies to telling or showing the truth/facts anywhere about anybody, be it India, China, or the US. We have much ugliness here in the US, too – primarily & starting with the Bush/Cheney administration in the White House. As with Mr./Ms. Guarav, there are those who, for various reasons, would soften, cover, or explain away that ugliness, but that would be bad as well as unacceptable, because like a disease, or a condition like alcoholism, until the ugliness is recognized and named for what it is & why it is, it has no chance of being addressed.

  • Raymond Ware

    India is indeed a country of many contrasts, if you are looking at something beautiful, your peripheral vision still makes you keenly aware of the poverty surrounding you. Better than worrying about offensive language… are we not offended by the poverty which still exists in this world where there is so much wealth. I would like to know what we can do to address the imbalance.

  • http://prashantmishra1.blogspot.com Prashant Mishra

    Poverty is a big problem in India, and no one can deny that. However, begging in general is a menace. I can understand begging for this paricular person due to his physical condition but there are hundereds of able bodied beggars demanding (not asking) for alms on the traffic signals of Delhi. This is not a problem of poverty, this is a social problem just like dowry, child marriage and castism- having their genesis in the mindsets not the economic conditions.

    Working with PRADAN, one of the best grassroots NGOs in India, I have stayed in villages for 2 years. Farmers and villagers are very proud lot and they find a veriety of ways to earn a livelihood. This would include farming, free labour, migration to other regions for labour, even bonded labour so on and so forth, but never the begging.

    In Delhi itself there are thousands of villagers coming from UP, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, MP and Chattisgarh who are earning their livelihood with honour- as domestic servants, taxi drivers, fruit vendors, sweepers, small shopkeepers, porters, guards and other small enterprises like selling incense sticks, tissues, magazines and flowers on the same traffic signals. I would request Mayank to present these hardworking lot as the representatives of poverty in India, unlike the beggars (who are, as someone pointed earlier, the favorites of the foreigners!).

    A very important point to be kept in mind while judging any issue related with India is that it is comprised over a billion citizens. Even if there is an abberation to the tune of 0.0001 percent, the absoulute number of such cases runs into thousands, if not millions of people.

    In the end, for the sake of comparison, as recent report in US Congress has reported 16% of US Citizens to be living below poverty line. One sees beggars even in US metros like NY, Chicago and San Francisco. The nightmarish memories of New Orleans and Georgia during Hurricane Katrina are still fresh in the minds of viewers all across the globe.

    I hope this blog also would cover the problem of poverty, race based discrimination, drug abuse and the latest events(massacres like the one that took place in Virginia Tech) as well so as to let the Indians know the ‘real’ US!

  • http://NoneurBeeswax Michele

    I thank you for writing this it gave me a good idea about India and my project was tons easyer so thanks and yeah.. that title does seem a little not right for this kind of paper.

  • http://india aparaajitaa

    The author talks about freedom of speech. My dear, if somebody uses words sexy and pornography for your mother and takes shelter under freedom of speech, would you let him go? Do hell with freedom of speech, it is absolutely offensive to use such words for mother India.Hope you change the title before We start using our freedom of speech against you.
    Anyways, the theme of the article is good. But for Indians such words are really offensive. We bow down to mother India.

  • Manju Lal,Prerna Pradhan,Amrita Mitra,

    We totally agree with Srinivas.Poverty is not the only problem inIndia, its a world wide problem.We are from kolkata the city of joy,there is one place in our city called sudder street which is famous for foreigners if you compare them with beggers they are not less then any beggers in India.Infact they are the cause for the spread of drugs in this place which is spoiling our youngesters.

  • Shekhar Bhutkar

    From whatever country you are writing from by way of website that you have subscribed to, please tell me the name of the city that you live in and let me open the socio-cultuaral-economical gaps in your society that you claim to be THRASH free to the world, if you dare. Let me show you beggars and possible versions of them in your city and scoundrels wondering around due to hopelessness that your society allowed them to be, let me show the world.

    I am not against you pointing out and photographing them but you are taking a highly myopic and prejudged westerner’s view on this topic. I am happy that that should pictured profoundly makes a living in this third world country.

  • jayadeepan

    i did not read your article.
    what is the big deal in india a poor man beg and make his living. what should we do put him in a group home.
    i know that group home in america and canada is suffering from funding.
    there is even children eating shit in retaliation of puting him in a tight group home.( i personally witnesed this )

    so hinding does not make you any better.

    common i can come to america and take a picture of few people look like a pig and show this to portray america.

    comon time is not that far and even now you can see obesity is a problem in america too

    on the other hand if you ecconomically collapse do you take care of your disabled person eating shit and smeared with urine ?????????

    go take a picture of some one smeared with shit in a group home.
    you know what they would not let you take becasue it is an offence of persons privacy in america and canada.

    so keep your secret in america truth will come out very fast .

    so dont wory u will have more to take in your back yard too

  • shailender chaudhary

    I DONT’T SEE ANY PONOGRAPHY IN IT. EVEN NO MOTHER INDIA TOO… ITS THE LIVING CREATURES(DOMINATING/UNDERPRIVILEDGED) ON EARTH… YOU CAN FIND THEM ON WHOLE EARTH…THEY HAVE NO COUNTRY,CAST,RELIGION,RACE… BUT ITS OUR DUTY TO PROJECT THE THOUGHTS OF GREAT ONECE …MOTHER INDIA HAS PRODUCED GREAT VIVEKANANDA WHO TOUGHT THE WORLD MEANING OF RELIGION..IT WAS MOTHER INDIA WHERE A WOMEN WITHOUT MARRIAGE BECOME MOTHER FOR WORLD “MOTHER TERESSA”…IT IS GOOD TO SHOW SUCH PICTURES …WHICH CAN MAKE US REALISE THAT WE ARE ALSO PART OF THIS FEELING LESS MOB WHO CAN WEAR,EAT IN FRONT OF SUCH POOR SON OF EARTH…ITS TIME TO UTILISE OUR POWER,THOUGHTS IN POSITIVE DIRECTION AND HELP THE MANKIND… ITS NOT PROBLEM OF MOTHER INDIA THERE ARE MANY MOTHERS IN HIS WORLD WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT THEIR KIDS ONE TIME MEAL, SECURITY, SAFETY, ROOF… COME TOGETHER WHERE EVER YOU ARE AND HELP THE NEEDY…

  • Silver Surfer

    Oh dear, so much (over) sensitivity. The problem is, the truth hurts, and mayank, the author of this piece, is Indian.

    And he’s not afraid to tell the truth.

    Poverty IS a dreadful affliction besetting India. You won’t see the same number of dreadfully poor anywhere on this planet, or as many beggars, as you do in the big cities of India.

    The reason: it’s mainly the result of its caste system, which no matter what anyone tells you, still exists, and the influx of rural poor to the cities where logistically, governments can’t handle that influx nor provide the infrasstructure to deal with it.

    Mayank makes his point nicely. If Indians themselves can’t face up to this problem and pretend it’s not that bad, what hope is there of ever solving it?

    So what is the problem is the problem with this story and these pictures? Too close to home?

    It’s all very well trumpeting on about how many billionaires there are, but it doesn’t mean much when so many millions are living in abject poverty.

  • Gharib

    The story is true whether one tends to believe or not. India is destined to face all this till it keeps feeding guns rather than the man!

  • http://www.pinkwourld.com gopla

    hi how r u would you link to friendship

  • peter costello

    Hi, I am a christian living in australia, if india has 36 billinares and all the other wealthy people, why dont they help those living in poverty?, one day they will have to stand before God and will have to give a reason why they did not help those less fortunate than themselves, remember the story in the bible about lazarus and the rich man.

  • Urja

    i dnt know why people always see india as a backward nation,why dnt we see the brighter side of it. india is a developind country and we the citizens have to make it developed, india is on the path of success but bcoz of some reasons or some people evrythng gets spoilt.lets move forward and lead india.do watever u can for ur country.if evryone in their own way can do sumthng good then jus imagine thousands of people doing it,we can help india reach to the top.
    lets make india’s dream come true.

  • http://lifetimehealthtips.blogspot.com/ Benjamin Robert Johnson

    Thank you for the author’s honesty. It is quite paradoxical to know that there are more billionaires in India compared to China but is swarming with a lot of poor people. A wealthy nation is not measured on the number of billionaires but on how strategically and equitably the people are living. In India, there is a big gap between the rich and the poor. I hope that India would someday solve the problem of equity.

  • kabir

    but why do some people do not give poor people
    this does not means that they rich and they are poor we should share they dont have food
    no school no home no cloths some have there leg twisted some cannot walk some people have half hands

  • ARUP K SINGH

    World is made of Have & Have nots,Westeners blaim why not Rich Indians share their wealth with the Poor Indians ,Rich Indians blaim why not Rich Westeners sharing their wealth with the have not of the third world countries,thus blame game continues.so let us not criticize each other,consider world as a Villeage & work on it to uplift the life standard of the people in any corner of the world because nobody can stop you in doing so.

  • betty andason

    i tink the westerners are just soooooooooooo greeeedy and nothing else