By Justice Markandey Katju-
(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)
One day on a nice summer evening a little girl called Alice was dozing on a green meadow when she saw a white rabbit wearing a blue coat running on his two legs, looking at a watch, and saying, “I am late .”
The rabbit jumped into a hole in the ground, and Alice got up and jumped into the same hole.
She fell and fell until she landed with a loud thump on a huge pile of garbage.
She saw piles of garbage everywhere. Getting up she brushed off the garbage off her clothes and looked around.
She saw on a wall a huge poster on which it was written ” Welcome to India, the country with the fastest growing economy in the world.”
Below the poster were sitting numerous little children wearing dirty clothes and with haggard faces. She went upto them, and they said they were not getting enough to eat Many had bodies which appeared wasted and stunted, obviously suffering from acute malnutrition.
She then walked ahead, and saw a huge gathering being addressed by a politician of India’s ruling party, who said ” India will soon become the third largest economy in the world, overtaking England, Germany, France, and Japan, UP and Maharashtra will cross 500 billion dollars GDP, and in ten years we will have a 20 trillion dollar economy. All of you will soon have good lives ”.
But in the crowd there was a large group of young men and women holding banners in which it was written ” We want jobs ”, and they were shouting ” We have Ph.D., MTech, M.Sc, MBA, and engineering degrees, but are unemployed ”.
Proceeding further, she saw a huge building on whose gate was written, ”All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India’s premier medical facility ”. But when she went inside the gate the scene appeared like a railway station, with thousands of sick people and their attendants thronging the place, no one caring for them. Many said they had been waiting the whole day but no doctor was in attendance.
Alice then saw a huge procession of farmers marching towards the Indian Parliament, some of whom told her that over 400,00 farmers in India had committed suicide due to indebtedness, as farming had become uneconomical for small farmers.
Alice wondered what being the fastest growing economy in the world means when there was so much poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, lack of healthcare and good education for the Indian masses. Who was getting the fruits of this alleged economic growth ( assuming it was actually happening ), a handful of big businessmen and multinational corporations, or the Indian masses?
Proceeding further she saw a demonstration of people who said they were of the minority communities in India, and were protesting against atrocities and discrimination against them.
Ultimately Alice reached a place where a lunch party was being held ( which she later named ‘The Mad Indians Party’ ) in which exquisite dishes of mutton biriyani, fish, chicken and prawns were being served, along with the choicest of wines, gin and beer.
She was invited to join the party, where several persons present spoke about how India was shining today, having even sent a mission to the moon, and will soon become one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
But then Alice related all that she had seen, hungry children, unemployed youth, distressed farmers, the unattended sick, protesting minorities, etc. She said all this tall talk of India being the world’s fastest-growing economy, and that it will soon become the 3rd largest economy in the world, and have a 20 trillion economy in ten years, appeared to be a lot of bull, hot air, empty boast and braggadocio.
At this the persons present were at first stunned as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over them. But then one of them shouted ” Yeh virodhi dal ki hai ”, another shouted ” Yeh aatankvaadi hai ”, and yet another ” Yeh Pakistani jaasoos hai ”, and having said so they started throwing tomatoes and potatoes which were on the table at her, while others started throwing shoes and stones.
Alice ran for her dear life, and ran and ran until she was exhausted and fell on the ground unconscious.
She then woke up and realized she had been dreaming.