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A five star village

October 9, 2010

Every man has a story. Shankar had his own. I had met him somewhere in Udaipur, last year. He told me his story and about his little village that once was in the foothills of Aravallis, a village that now lies buried under the glamorous shadow of Taj Hotel, shadow of the big five stars. This part of his story is sad, so all I could do to make it sound like a good story was to put in some rhythm.

Shankar lived in a village, with his wife and a son. He had a piece of land, he tilled under the sun. Two meals a day and his son went to read. Shankar was happy this alone was his greed. Then came progress, along came a Taj hotel. He was asked to sell his land to avoid any troublel. He protested, said he would not go to city. Money will not, only land will feed us for eternity. He said he would not take money and go to city. Would continue to farm, not part with his dignity. But fate decided otherwise the Taj was very strong. With handful of money he had to leave his only song. 

Now they stay outside, right across the street we live. Blue plastic sheet on head, looking for someone to give. The dignity is all lost and they now carry bricks all day. Children and women too, their hair turned all grey.

“People here don’t look at us but scorn. Why do they scorn? Why do some pity us seeing our clothes so torn. I want to tell them we are comfortable in these clothes. Comfortable with the bamboo sticks and with the ropes. I would not allow my son to steal; how can a farmer’s son ever do that. But what do I do when it’s raining hard all day, when the blue plastic sheet can no longer hold and when my wife has fallen ill? What do I do when I shed off the last rag I am clinging to and start to beg?” 

“Sometimes I am reminded of my land and of my village. The hotel stands where we used to age. Forget about going inside, standing close, they would not even allow us to. What do I do when I become an outcast for all of you.”.

I, the flag bearer of progress then, wanted to tell him that… 20 more hotels we want, for the target growth is 10% remember, and we still do not have many with 7 stars. I wanted to tell him to quickly go under the sack or hide behind the wall, for there is nothing else left to do… But I couldn’t. Even then. May be one of us should.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Achal Kothari permalink
    October 10, 2010 15:18

    I want to know whether Shanker the farmer has left his farm for his own greed and short sightedness carried away by the charm of the city or whether he’d been really forced out of his farm. If the answer is former then he is not different from rest of the people around him, even though they maybe in cars but the internal situation is the same. If he was forcefully driven out then its a shame and pity on most of the people out there. You can go and tell him not to worry about his dignity as all others are already naked. He is just begging, there are people who are stealing, cheating, lying, killing, cursing, their own friends and even members of their family just for some petty gains. So you can tell him, ‘As long as his values are intact no power on this earth, not even god can rob him off his dignity.’

    Like

    • October 10, 2010 23:03

      To answer your ques, he was forced out, against his will, with both force and shower of greed.
      ‘As long as his values are intact no power on this earth, not even God can rob him off his dignity.’ What a wonderful line! I am sure I can tell him that. Thanks

      Like

  2. Rupa permalink
    October 10, 2010 22:41

    Hi Amit, Very nice poem, It moved my heart!

    Like

  3. hridesh permalink
    August 31, 2012 01:14

    bahut accha likha hain dost… tumhare likhne se kaafi logon par asar toh pada hain… aur logon ka pata nahi lekin hum par toh asar hua hain…

    Like

    • August 31, 2012 13:59

      accha hai dost.. kabhi kabhi lagta hai ki humare likhne se khud hum par hi asar nahi hota… 🙂

      Like

  4. Om Prakash permalink
    September 1, 2012 22:57

    One of the helpless situation where people have no choice. Truth of land acquisition in Udaipur has even deeper and dirty stories which very few people know.
    Thanks for the story 🙂

    Like

  5. Bino permalink
    September 11, 2012 16:15

    Very nicely put.

    Like

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