Friday, January 06, 2006

Overtaking in India

Can you see the larger motorboat in back overtaking the canoe in front? Both are on their way to evening fishing off the coast of Kerala in south India. This image might be a picture of the whole of India, the new overtaking the old, the larger overtaking the smaller. You can see something similar on the road when a lorry (truck) overtakes a bullock (ox) cart. Do such images tell the story of India?

You can see a thousand examples of such overtaking. Autorickshaws have replaced bicycle rickshaws. Private autos appear increasingly, taking over from the dominant white Ambassador taxis. Digital cameras replace film while India creates its own (and overtakes US?) Silicon Valleys. Travel for a month and notice the national highway system growing, at least four lanes wide. Note the ecology efforts in national and local parks, sometimes overtaking habits of waste or consumption. Watch the (expensive?) high rise apartment blocks overtaking the two story places. Note the Coca Cola and Pepsi bottles overtaking the local productions.

Will the motorboat in fact pass the canoe? One wonders. Is there any road in Chennai without some potholes? On the four lane highways you may find traffic coming at you on your side of the divider. Sit in some of the tea estates and meet people who now work for pay only two days in five. A local government in south India has today set 17 conditions for Coca Cola to operate in its area. Talk with people whose role in life is fixed at birth, a task or job set for generations. Caste, culture and social system have been in place for generations, centuries, thousands of years.

Should the motorboat pass the canoe? Certainly, e.g., one sees good hospitals and medical care, and more could be on the way. Kerala has high literacy rates and much of India aspires to the same. But perhaps the motorboat should not pass the canoe, only travel along side? What happens to the quality of carving, cloth and cooking when the machine overtakes the hand? The restrictions on Coca Cola concern taking over ground water: is water a private commodity or public resource? Family connections, related to caste and culture, give social stability.

And then, if you are a Christian, you wonder: God made his love evident in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What difference does that love make when the motorboat is catching up to the canoe?


  • Hey, I found you in India!!! HA! ANyway, I hope the Lord is blessing your time there. I just wanted to update you and Miriam because you both still hold a special place in my heart that I am now engaged!!! We plan to have the wedding ceremony on September 2, 2006 in Wichita. My fiancee's name is Tara. Hope you might be able to make it. Understand if you can't. God Bless, Tim.

    By Blogger Tim G., at Tue Jan 31, 05:29:00 PM PST  

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