Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Other India

There were a few posts on this blog that touched upon the subject of the "the other India"; these are the people who are outside the 250-300 million middle class and affluent. The maid servants and domestic help many employ, street vendors and hawkers, washermen, cobblers, rural agricultural workers, rural artisans etc make up the other half (or actually more than half) of India.

A group of bloggers have got together and started The Other India , a website/blog that seeks to document how the other half of India lives. This is a timely and much needed initiative. Much of the mainstream media focuses on the middle class. Only once in a while, such as during elections, do they try to report on the issues facing the poor and the abjectly poor populations. I believe this is what causes the media debacle such as the one after the last general elections in 2004, when almost none could correctly predict the electoral outcome.

One supreme exception I know of is P.Sainath, the rural affairs editor of The Hindu. He has relentlessly and painstakingly reported on the agricultural crisis facing the Telangana, Vidharbha and Wayanad regions in south and central India. His reports on this can be found at the India Together website. Frontline magazine, another Hindu group publication, is another exception to this and covers a large number of issues facing the "the other half".