#TheDailyToast: Shakur Basti demolition, the homeless manifesto

Gayatri Jayaraman
Gayatri JayaramanDec 15, 2015 | 10:00

#TheDailyToast: Shakur Basti demolition, the homeless manifesto

The Honourable People of India have been recently been very greatly perturbed by the number of public spaces occupied at the convenience of those who would just sleep and eat and birth and house their offspring in the path of Almighty Progress. To echo several supporters of actor Salman Khan: who asked them to sleep on the pavement anyway? Indeed.

If sleeping wasn't justifiable cause enough for death, putting a tin roof, or heaven forbid, a blanket, over the shivering self is just sheer arrogance that's asking for it, clearly. That you would do so in the path of an oncoming train, or just skirting it, such that festering tracks become your children's toilets and playgrounds, equally, is a sign not of desperation, but of indifference to a society around you whose time has come and that is struggling to cast off these inconveniences slowing it down, such as yourself.

These trains, which you will take to go to your village to cast your vote, must trundle through your home, don't forget, you Impeder of the Republic. And vote you must, by god, if we have to put the train line through you to get that finger home. What more could the honourable Suresh Prabhu, who like Turkey warning Russia several times before being ignored, probably because no one in said basti of illiterates could read Turkish, and sanctioned the use of force anyway, never mind that it might spark off World War III, do?

So many options were open to them: Why did the residents of Shakur Basti not take a note from the good minister's own move from Maharashtra to Delhi where he just called Agrawal Packers and loaded the goods into a truck and have it offloaded by orderlies at the other, more suitable end? Moving is so easy if one has the will, the power of the state, a good packer, disposable income that does not come from day wages and centres you in a location to earn, and somewhere to go to. See them shivering in the cold, bringing a bad name to the country when international photographers come. Dying before, during, after demolition.... Inconvenient to the end whenever they may die, impediments to progress wherever they may live when all we are asking them to do is to stand by the side of the tracks and display some awe when the bullet train they will never sit in, passes.

"There goes progress" we can teach them to point and say, and maybe graffiti it on the strong concrete walls we will build to flank the trundle of society as it passes at great speeds towards even greater heights. Many things are frozen in Delhi right now, fingers and toes, but none so cold as those with frozen hearts.

Last updated: December 15, 2015 | 10:07
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