The lifeless bodies of 3 children - Mansi, 8, Paro, 5, and Sukho, 2, were found recently in a shanty in east Delhi’s Mandawali. It wasn't the work of a sadistic killer either - an autopsy found that the cause of death for the siblings was malnutrition and starvation.
The entire situation is one that induces disbelief. It's almost something unheard of - children starving to death in the capital of a country, a capital known as a hub of modernity and progress. And therein lies the problem, right?
Our definition of progress, of modernisation, has no space for humanity. The bullet train is enough to allay our national insecurities.
Our collective idea of progress rests on numbers, on statistics - what kind of returns are we getting on our investments? What are we going to rename our roads to? Whose statue should we build next?
Our view of the country and its people is so out of touch with reality, it's laughable.
At the grassroots level, if children are dying of starvation, that means we have an inherent, extremely deep rooted problem.
But we don't have any space in our 'New India' for the poor, do we? They don't figure in our numbers, in our projections for profit.
"India's GDP has overtaken that of France, yaar."
True, and that's great news.
But India's economic output as a whole can't hide the ugly reality underneath. The disparity of wealth is staggering.
With a population of over 1.3 billion, India’s GDP per capita is $1,964, while France’s per capita is close to $42,568.
As our GDP grows, there's also a sharp incline in our income and wealth inequality. A disproportional incline. But again, that's an uncomfortable fact that most of us don't want to hear.
The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. The conditions of those that need help the most are discarded in favour of projecting the image of a world class city.
But you can't hide the facts.
The father of these 3 dead children, found in a pool of their own vomit, was a rickshaw puller making 50-60 rupees a day. His rickshaw was stolen, and he couldn't even manage that meagre income any more. He had gone to look for other work and hadn't returned. The mother was mentally unstable, leaving the children to fend for themselves.
In such a difficult familial situation, you'd think the state would intervene, provide some sort of assistance. After all, we've got the money, right? Nope. Apathy, that's all these children got.
The gall bladders of the children were filled with bile, their spleen had almost become unremarkable, and there was no trace of food or water in their stomach. Their urinary bladder and rectum were found empty. That's the reality of the situation, and on a wider spectrum, the reality of our country today - empty, devoid of empathy.