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Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Such a sad sad headline. We just have too many people. This kind of population is not a resource but a scary thing. How will we ever provide employment to the teeming millions? Commentators take pride in talking about India's youth. The median age is 24 as compared to late 30s - early 40s in the developed world; 51% of the population is less than 25 years of age. And other such 'good' statistics.

But most of these youngsters are in rural India. What will happen once they see no employment? And what will happen once these millions get older? Can we potentially see social unrest? Of course we see that to an extent in the hinterland - the naxalite movement, the movements by the dispossessed, etc. But can you imagine a social crisis hitting the cities?

One phenomenon I noticed is, coincidentally, again related to trains. The Pole Thieves of Mumbai. They climb up power poles next to local train tracks and try to snatch mobile phones out of the hands of people 'footboarding' the trains. The interesting thing about them is that they dont care if their victim dies due to falling out of the train. Quite a few people have died / gotten seriously injured due to these thieves. Of course such crimes are not widespread - the crime scene being on a railway track running right through a slum probably makes escape much easier. Still, the lackadaisical attitude towards a person's life while stealing a phone costing Rs.5-10,000 might indicate that something is brewing.

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