Sunday, January 18, 2009

SHAME on Rahuls Poverty tourism

Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Discovery of India’ is following such bizarrely unconventional ways that it is impossible not to subject it to public scrutiny. Last week he thought he needed a phirang co-discoverer and hence took British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to spend a night on a charpoy in the cowshed of a poor dalit widow in a village near Amethi, his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.  

Miliband, 43, slept in Karma Devi’s house, whereas Rahul had a sleepover in the thatched hut of Shiv Kumari, another dalit woman in the neighbourhood. Rahul explained the purpose of this rural rendezvous:

“A lot of people come to India and they have a particular perspective based very much on the big cities. I thought it would be quite interesting for the foreign secretary to come to rural India.”

There was of course the mandatory visit to a milk collection centre, a school, a hospital and a women’s self-help group—all bearing the name of the Gandhi family. But make no mistake, it was India’s poverty on display for the benefit of Britain’s PM-in-waiting, courtesy the Congress party’s PM-in-waiting.

As Miliband himself wrote in his blog while leaving for Amethi:

“800 million Indians live on less than 2 dollars a day, 450 million on less than 1 dollar and I will get a chance to see some of the gap that exists between metropolitan middle class India and the rest.

How is Rahuls Poverty tourism different from this ------> tourism-or-voyeurism-at-its-worst

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