Thank you a second time, Nish Rao. You really have a grand perspective on the problem: there is a caste system, no matter how you whitewash it or try to hide it. I was really struck by your comment that “American poverty is self-induced.” Indeed. We want, then get, then want more because we are trying to keep up with the Joneses. I still wonder why most here can’t see that (or choose not to).
I enjoyed Delhi quite a lot — spent 5 of my 18 days in India there. It is an amazingly vibrant city, and its contradictions are fascinating: the pollution and the grand open spaces; Connaught Place and Chandni Chowk; the tiny shrines throughout the city and the Akshardham (I could go on)… On my last full day, the uncle of a friend of mine (an older Indian “elite”, a successful businessman and a property owner) took me around Delhi in a hired car. I saw how he treated the driver and the waiter and ticket guy at the Qutb Minar, and others we encountered ‘lower’ than himself. It wasn’t until we got to the Bengali Market, that I felt him soften a bit. Maybe he didn’t need to impress so much in his own element, I’m not sure.
I share your optimism, though on weeks like this last one I’m not clear that the rest of the developed world has fully embraced it.
I’ve written quite a lot on my observations and heartfelt responses to India (start here), and would be glad to hear your opinion (feel free to PM me through my blog), as I do write from a vastly different perspective than you (and for certain, I will look you up next time I am there!).
Have a wonderful week.