Sunday, May 4, 2008

Clash of Two Worlds

India is an interesting place. Everybody I've met has been extremely gracious and polite to me. There are many beautiful historic landmarks and nice modern areas, but this is countered by the almost overwhelming poverty that exists sid by side with the rest. Even in the "modern" areas the caste system seems strong. Every company I visited had servants to see to our every need, but no one else spared them notice. I spent time in several cities: Gurgaon, Delhi, Ludhiana, Bhiwali, Indore, Mumbai, and Rajkot, and everywhere I went I saw families living in abandoned builidings, huts, tents made of sticks and discarded scraps of cloth.

At the same time, on one of our long drives we stopped mid way at the rest area below that had a nice playground, McDonalds, Dominos Pizza, and several Indian restaurants that you wouldn't think out of place anywhere in the US.I also had the opportunity to visit the Qutb Minar. The minaret was built in the 12th century and is almost 300 ft tall. There was also a large mosque on site that is now in ruins. It's pretty impressive to see what people could do without all of the modern engineering help we have.

The tower below was to be twice as tall as the Qutb Minar, but was never finished after the benefactor died.

This (below) is the monument and tomb (just for his ashes) of Mahatma Ghandi. While he is respected in many places around the world, the Indians have almost a religious reverence towards him.The India Gate was built by the British after WWI as a memorial. Although it looks impressive in this picture, it was easily the least impressive of all of the historical buildings I saw.

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