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Is India Really Like Slumdog Millionaire

Updated on May 22, 2014

Well, not exactly. Slumdog Millionaire shows a slum and India is a much bigger diversified country. But it is not altogether different either. Despite being the third largest economy, India has some terrible social issues to cope with.

Slumdog Millionaire - Trailer

Indian Girl Begging
Indian Girl Begging | Source

The Everlasting Poverty

Poverty in India isn't unheard of, but we don't know exactly how poor are we. So I gathered some statistics and they are quite revealing. India houses one third of world's poor. Around 470 million people lie below world's poverty line (below USD 1.25 a day), that is 37% of India's population (2012 data). To give you an idea, these stats are 15% and 17% for USA and U.K. respectively. While there are some sub-Saharan countries with worse records, but their development rate is nowhere near India.

India only second to Sub-Saharan Africa
India only second to Sub-Saharan Africa
400 million people below poverty line until 2010
400 million people below poverty line until 2010

Can rich people be blamed for being ignorant

See results

You may ask " why don't you do something" or "how do you live there" but let me tell you, we are blessed with ignorance, got loads and heaps of it. It's woven in our DNA. Right from the childhood we see beggars in the streets, crippled children on traffic signals and blind old men on railway stations, all asking for money. We also see people saying "get the hell out of here" , and that's how we learn.

Garbage filled river flowing across a slum
Garbage filled river flowing across a slum | Source

The BIG Sanitation Problem

The one most talked about. Streets filled with garbage, people urinating in open, very, very, very common. 600 million, 55% of population without access to toilets. Amazed...., there's more, these conditions claim one sixth of the deaths in India. Those are awful stats, to put it mildly.

Now something you won't find anywhere, people defecating in open, mostly near railway tracks (don't get the railway track addiction, strange), and croplands (natural fertilizer, lol). I could have posted images, but won't it be antisocial, why don't you search yourself, must try, it'd be real fun. Remember the autograph scene from the movie..., below is the clip.

Slumdog Millionaire Trailer - Amitabh Bachchan

Traditional Caste System of India
Traditional Caste System of India | Source

Other Social Problems

Some other things, unseen and unheard (though waning quickly).

  • Caste System - the one I hate particularly (got big reasons). It's quite complicated...., people here, are divided into four castes (categories) by surname (so stupid). It's a hierarchy of social rank where lower ranked are least respected. It has almost ended but the reservation system (reserved vacancies for lower caste everywhere, schools, colleges, jobs) which was originally intended to benefit the lower caste is now harming the upper caste (I got stuck with upper caste thing, hence no reservation...).
  • Gender Discrimination- gender bias, discrimination against women has existed for years in India. Despite government's persistent efforts it has not disappeared completely. According to Indian daily 'The Hindu' India is ranked 101 out of 138 countries on gender equality index, that is, very less number of women compared to number of men.

Future Prospects

Grim. Population is to blame, crowded localities imply poor sanitation, cheap labour and unemployment. Surveys predict, by 2030 we would outrun China in population. So we won't be any better in near future for sure. Anyway, globalization is running parallel to poverty, its a win- win situation for both industries and middle to top tier public and we would be good as long as we maintain our ignorant attitude.

© 2014 Vineet

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