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India's Rising Gap Between The Rich And The Poor

1483 words - 6 pages

One of the main issues India is facing right now is the rising gap between the upper and lower classes. India is not alone in this struggle, however; several other countries are also fighting this same battle. In the past, India has always had its upper/middle classes; however, it has also always housed some of the world’s most poor. Yet today the country is filled with opulent, private gated communities that face the destitute, impoverished slums just across the street. One such gated community in India is called Hamilton Court. So while a child in Hamilton Court could be watching a flat screen television in a large air conditioned apartment, another child in the shantytown just outside the gates may be taking a cold water bucket bath during a long power outage. One Hamilton Court resident described it as “two worlds, just across the street” (Sengupta 2008).The exclusive community of Hamilton Court contains a private school, private health clinic, clubhouse, well-groomed lawns and paths for leisure activities, and also employs numerous security guards, maids, chauffeurs, plumbers, and electricians. It also offers electricity, even during the frequent and long, often twelve hour power outages the rest of the city experiences. While the public water supply may only work for a few hours during the day, someone in Hamilton Court is able to turn on their tap water anytime and receive a strong flow of water. For the prosperous upper class, these gated communities offer “at high prices what the government cannot, at least not to the liking of their residents” (Sengupta 2008). It is a way for citizens to buy an escape from the many hardships that affect much of the country. Additionally, these elite communities reflect the desires of India’s developing affluence, giving them “Western amenities along with Indian indulgences” (Sengupta 2008). One of the residents of Hamilton Court described it as a “kind of self-contained island” (Sengupta 2008).Therefore, the issue at hand right now is that the poor are falling deeper and deeper into poverty, while the rich continue to accumulate more wealth. The presence of the middle class is waning as the difference between the upper and lower classes is growing larger. It is “raising uncomfortable questions for a democratically elected government about whether India can enable all its citizens to scale the golden ladders of the new economy” (Sengupta 2008). This issue is important because as the rich are growing richer, the poor have no opportunity to grow along with them. They are forced deeper into poverty, only to sit back and watch the rich climb higher. As one woman of Hamilton Court prepared lunch in full view of the slum where one of her two maids lives, she said, “Things have gotten better for the lucky class; otherwise, it is still a fight” (Sengupta 2008).More than twenty-five percent of Indians are living below the official poverty line,...

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