If you would, please allow this story of Mumbai in the monsoons to represent the lot of poor people all over the world.
After reading the story I was shocked. The stark difference in treatment between Mumbai’s rich and poor dismayed me.
We may have the thought that we can’t impact the situation now, but, after the Reval, we will be able to.
The situation the poor face in Mumbai or elsewhere need no longer persist, anywhere on Earth, after abundance begins to flow.
I’m a writer, first and foremost. I can throw out ideas. But to remain useful as a commentator, I need to remain separate and independent from anything that results. So no affiliation with projects or sitting on boards, I’m afraid. Besides, I’ll have reached the limits of my competence to speak, after these few short remarks.
However, I can comment from the most general level.
There’s no need to wait for the Reval to plan how the humanitarian/philanthropic community could redress economic inequality in India or anywhere else. We will have the means then, to be sure, but we still have the brains now.
After the Reval, global inequalities will need to be addressed – calmly, prudently, and in a culture-specific and gender-sensitive manner – and with all reasonable despatch.
But before the Reval, we can still plan, plan, plan. The question to answer is how to redress economic inequality everywhere, in a balanced, well-thought-out, divinely-guided manner – in co-creative partnership with the celestials. How to do that without worsening the lot of those concerned but improving it and re-establishing parity among people around the world?
I discovered recently that, post-Reval, it would cost less than one $50 T Zimbabwean banknote (rumored to be 1:1) to give every citizen of Canada $100,000. Presuming my math is correct, what would it cost to restore economic equality to India?
Not a single thing was dry’: Mumbai’s residents count the cost of floods
The Guardian, Sept. 1, 2017
As rescue workers search for building collapse survivors, homeless people tell of lack of shelter while rain battered the city.
As torrential rain pounded Mumbai this week, Radha Rajput was where she always is: on the pavement between railway tracks and a main road.
The streets of India’s financial capital are her home and have been for the past 50 years. She and her son, his wife and their one-year-old twins have endured the challenges of seasonal rain and scorching summer heat for decades, but this downpour was a fresh nightmare.
“We have been sitting and sleeping on these steps, because they are a bit higher up, for days now,” said Rajput, as her daughter sat behind her picking lice out of her hair. “We can’t cook, there is no clean drinking water. The water was up to our waist. Not a single thing was dry. The rich are OK, but we’re out here with nothing.”
Devastating rainfall across South Asia has led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people and directly affected more than 40 million people in northern India, southern Nepal, northern Bangladesh and southern Pakistan.
About 60% of Mumbai’s 20 million residents live in slums, which gives the city its nickname “Slumbai”. The 2011 Indian census put the number of homeless people in Mumbai at just over 57,000, but local activists say it is more like 150,000-300,000.
As the flood waters began to ebb on Friday, the impact of the disaster on rich and poor people alike was beginning to emerge.
Rescuers worked overnight to pull 12 survivors from the rubble of a building that collapsed on Thursday in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar, killing 34 people.
The 117-year-old, six-storey building had been declared unsafe by the housing regulator in 2011, but many people continued living there. A 20-day-old baby was reported to be among the dead.
Dr Deepak Amarapurkar, 59, a senior gastroenterologist at Bombay hospital, was also among the victims of the extreme weather. He had decided to walk the 10-minute journey through the flooded roads on Tuesday to his home, despite his colleagues advising him to wait until the waters had receded.
On the way, he fell into an open manhole. Onlookers tried to pull him out, but were only able to retrieve his umbrella. Locals said they had removed the manhole lid to help the water level go down. His body later washed up on the shore at Worli, nearly 2.5 miles (4km) away.
With little government help available, some stranded Mumbaiites turned to social media to connect with people willing to put them up for the night.
Mehul Ved, a software professional, created a spreadsheet listing those offering assistance. By Thursday, it contained the names of 6,500 people prepared to help strangers with food, shelter and a change of clothes.
But for those living on the streets, there were no offers of shelter, said Brijesh Arya, the founder of Pehchan, an organisation that supports Mumbai’s homeless families. He said the community kitchens, government help, and shelter provided by churches, temples and some shopkeepers, were reserved for better-off residents.
“The homeless got nothing,” said Arya. “They stayed in the same wet clothes for days. The rains have devastated this vulnerable community. I can’t forget the words of one woman who said to me ‘Just bring me poison will you, I want to die,’ because she couldn’t cope.”
That woman was Savita Kharve, 45, who was born on the streets of Mumbai and lives with her family on the pavement near Mumbai Central railway station. When Arya visited her, he found “horrible” conditions. “No one was eating. The kids are now all sick with runny noses and coughs,” he said.
The Kharves were huddled together under plastic tarpaulin sheets, strengthened with sticks of bamboo, as makeshift protection from the monsoon rain. Gathered around them were survival essentials: a cooking stove, old clothes, second-hand toys and piles of flowers they continued to prepare to sell as soon as the rain subsided.
In a video recorded on Wednesday in the middle of a storm, Kharve told Arya that she and her children had not eaten since the flooding began. With knee-high water, there was nowhere for them to squat and chop vegetables or put down a cooking stove.
Most of the homeless families are daily-wage workers who buy food each day, a task that became impossible during the storm.
“The children went hungry,” said Kharve. “Look around you, there is nothing but water, but who cares about us? Who cares about poor people like me? We are drenched.
“I have no dry clothes. We are just standing here in the rain with nothing,” she said, pointing to her few belongings strewn on the wet and muddy pavement.
Many women and children tried to take refuge under shop awnings or in doorways, but were shooed away. “Where are they supposed to go?” asked Arya. “There are no shelters in the city and there is nowhere for them to escape to.”