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Seeing the new India through the eyes of an invisible woman


Not far from the place I once called home stands one of India’s glitziest shopping malls. By day, the massive building dwarfs every structure around it. At night, a dizzying display of lights cruelly exposes the surrounding shops and houses grown green, brown and weary from pollution and rain.

Today, the richest 10% in India controls 80% of the nation's wealth

Today, the richest 10% in India controls 80% of the nation’s wealth

Inside this shining behemoth called Quest, Kolkatans with fat pocketbooks spend their rupees on luxury foreign brands such as Gucci and eat at Michelin-star restaurants.

Outside, life’s cadences remain much the same for people like my friend Amina. She lives in a slum in the shadow of Quest.

She is part of a faceless, often-cited statistic: About 60% of India’s nearly 1.3 billion people live on less than $3.10 a day, the World Bank’s median poverty line.

And 21%, or more than 250 million people, survive on less than $2 a day.

Like other middle-class Indians, I grew up knowing little about poor people’s lives. We moved in separate worlds, which, in my mind, only grew further apart as India lurched ahead as a global economic power. The rich got richer; the poor mostly stayed poor. And the gap widened.  Read More

Related news: Women and representative governance in India.  Read More