What most of the world today perceives through the lens of the Indian and western media about Hindustan (Republic of India) is indeed very disturbing. The west befooled by the Indian opinion-makers, like Fareed Zakaria, refers to India as "the emerging powerhouse of the 21st century." In his recent treatise, The Post American World, Fareed Zakaria (true to his Indian roots) has described the great story of our times as 'Rise of the Rest' - the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Kenya...and we in Pakistan (courtesy some of our own media channels) think that India is the biggest democracy and the star of South Asia. The media of the West and India, which is being referred as Windia, has become the spin-doctor trying to convince the rest of the world that India should be included in countries that can save the world from the current global economic mess and scourge of terrorism. But the million dollar question is, how is it possible for a country to save the world when it has a population of a billion plus of which 400 to 500 million live below poverty line, when it has more than 100 active insurgencies, when its hundreds of thousands die due to pollution and starvation annually, and when it has militarily intervened directly or indirectly in almost every country in its neighbourhood?
Nevertheless, it is important to mention here that there is a huge difference between poverty in an average country like Pakistan and India. India's poor live in subhuman conditions. Whether it is food or basic shelter, the Indian poor don't have that; almost an estimated one million die due to starvation and malnutrition every year. The people in the poor neighbourhoods of Mumbai and Delhi sleep on footpaths. Moreover, there are timings for this facility; you have to share the footpath space as per the prescribed timings. That is the reason why the poor in India live and die on the roads and footpaths; if in doubt, watch Slum Dog Millionaire. In the same vein, there is severe shortage of basic public facilities (toilets).
Furthermore, the Dalits or untouchables in India were and are treated like animals. The Hindu stratification enshrined in The Dharma is turning the poor in India against its own state. Undoubtedly, the world's biggest insurgencies are active in India. Here, I am mainly referring to the Naxal Republic, the three Ks of Khalistan, Kerala and Kashmir, Gurkhaland and the seven sisters adjacent to and including Assam. Other than Kashmir, the most effective insurgency is the Naxalite movement. As per Wikipedia: "Naxalite or Naxalvadis (name from the village of Naxalbari in the Indian State of West Bengal where the movement originated), are a group of far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. In recent years, they have spread into less developed areas of rural central and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
"As of 2009, Naxalites are active across approximately 220 districts in 20 states of India accounting for about 40 percent of India's geographical area, they are especially concentrated in an area known as the 'Red Corridor', where they control 92,000 square kilometres. According to India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, 20,000 armed cadre Naxalites were operating apart from 50,000 regular cadres working in their various mass organisations and millions of sympathisers, and their growing influence prompted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare them as the most serious internal threat to India's national security ".
At the same time, India treats its minorities ruthlessly by violating religious and human rights. Kashmir, Babri Mosque, Golden Temple and burning of churches in Orissa by extremist Hindus are a few examples. The non-Hindus are being forced to accept pagan traditions in the name of their practicality and logic. Mysterious rituals, where people are forced to marry frogs and dogs to remove evil curses, are common. In a number of Indian cities there are thousands of monkeys allowed to freely roam and pollute streets, causing solid waste problems and harm to the citizens, all in the name of divinity of Hanuman. Drinking cow urine was religiously followed in the country side, it is now becoming fashionable in Indian elite and their night clubs, a re birth of novo Morar Ji Desaies in the name of Pavitarta and divinity of the holy cow.
Then again, India has another problem of managing its water resources. Indian rivers are the most acidic rivers in the world. As per Lifestyle india.com: "Water pollution is a serious problem in India as almost 70 percent of surface water resources have serious pollution problem and a growing number of ground water resources are already contaminated by various pollutants. Though River Ganga's water has not polluted totally, its pollution has reached a critical point since its water is not fit for bathing or drinking. Over the years, of the 3000 aqua creatures found in the Ganga, only 205 have survived." Surely, the basic reason is their belief of throwing ashes of the dead in the river Ganges.
The major deception being played in projecting Shining India is through the media - Windia. This media projects India as the 'Golden State' and ultimate redeemer of the world. Channels like Zee, Star Plus, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery and Bollywood project the themes of milk and honey flowing through the Ganges River. Some of our Pakistani channels (with the big slogan of 'live and let live'), are dying to project India as the ultimate success story of South Asia, despite all of what happens in India, 80 percent of the news about India appears to be from Bollywood or Indian Cricket. They need to be more objective on India.
Windia's India is like a city with its walls painted with pictures of heaven, but once you enter its gates you realise that you have entered hell. Three cheers for Incredible India, the boggy of Windia. UMAR WAQAR. Not so 'Shining India', Published: January 5, 2010, The writer is a freelance columnist.