Journal : Jiefang Daily Date : Author : NA Page No. : 4
URL : http://newspaper.jfdaily.com/jfrb/html/2016-03/26/content_182374.htm

 

In New Delhi, the place which truly leaves a mark on you is the majestic and dignified Rashtrapati Bhavan, as well as the stately life found in the areas outside it. Indian society is on its own development trajectory. With a distinct power/authority boundary, social consciousness flourishes .

Constitution “protects” laid back life

Today’s old Delhi is synonymous with crowds and tradition. Only rickshaws and three-wheelers can enter these narrow and dirty streets, many of which have hundreds of years of history. Old houses are on the brink of being destroyed and cable wires lie tangled like spider webs. But people have lived here like this for hundreds of years and no one feels the need to change anything.

It was after India became independent in 1947 that the southwest part of old Delhi was selected  as the area to build the new city- today’s New Delhi. Perhaps it was because land is privately owned and the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the old town  would have been too high

Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Parliament building, as well as the Rajpath Street — where all government department offices are concentrated,  are all in the heart of New Delhi. Rajpath street goes east all the way upto the landmark India Gate. This three kilometre stretch has the most magnificent building complexes in New Delhi and is the pride of the Indian people and a symbol of India’s political center— and every year the National day Parade is held here, much like China’s own Tiananmen Square.

In New Delhi, people look at politics not just with admiration, but it is also view to be dignified and harmonious; display of tolerance is not contradictory.

On both the north and south side of Rajpath there are wide green lawns laden with thick branched trees that provide shade. Gardeners, tourists, students are free to rest under the trees.  Even armed policemen who stand in the same posture for a long time,  often forming groups of various sizes, sitting and chatting under the protection of the shade—don’t you think level of alertness is too relaxed? You only need to take a momentary look at the roof of the government building on the opposite side and you will understand that the figure moving on the roof is a sniper who doesn’t exactly look very friendly.

What left a deep impression on me the most was there was a stray dog languidly strolling in front of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, while the people working there hurriedly took the stairs paying no attention to it. Not too far from this scene was a soldier patrolling back and forth, a gun in his hand. It turned out it was just me who expressed astonishment at the dog there and took a quick photo.

Rashtrapati Bhavan and Rajpath is New Delhi’s skyline. During sunrise and sunset, many people come here to click pictures in the backdrop of these many centuries old buildings. All day long, on both sides of the lawn people come and go but this dignified and dynamic block looks even more alive.

Around five in the afternoon we were strolling in the huge lawn beside us while waiting to enter the building of Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Next to us, an old man who gave the appearance of an intellectual, went straight to lawn, lay down on the grass and fell asleep. Meanwhile, a group of identical looking three wheelers with their pattering of their engine rather audible and a Mercedes Benz were parked next to each other, “embracing life” under the shade of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Meanwhile, an old ice-cream seller was pushing his ice cream cart, leisurely wandering around on either sides of the street—all in all, these scenes gave  an unexpected feeling of harmony. After all, there are no qualms about doing physical labor to earn livelihood and this is the actual state of affairs in life.

This scenario led me to recall a chat on Indian society I had a few months ago with a young Indian guy. He said, as per the Constitution, India is a socialist country.

At that time, I was rather startled. After that I proceeded to look up some more information to confirm this statement: promulgated in 1950 and in effect till date, the Indian Constitution, in its Preamble, declares at the outset that: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist, secular democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens social, economic and political justice; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation”.

The Indian Constitution has been amended 98 times upto 2012 but never the Preamble. For Indians, the meaning of this Preamble seems very simple. The basic concept of socialism is fairness and justice; as long as the government implements this fundamental guarantee, society will operate quite smoothly. So the government should focus on fundamentals and avoid unnecessary tasks.

Official inquiry cannot be sloppy

Before coming to India I had heard countless stories. People said India was dirty, messy, lacked toilets and cows wandered around in the streets. This maybe the scene in suburban areas or countryside but in the old and new parts of Delhi, cows roaming around on the streets is a very rare scene. However, in small towns and cities these type of situation still exists. This is due to the disparity between city and countryside which is also related to the development level of the area. Of course, some people say that the caste system still exists in India which is indeed not a very accurate reflection of Indian society. In big cities like New Delhi, with increasing level of inclusiveness, people’s consciousness about equality is also increasing constantly. Many start ups and science and technology companies have employees from all the castes.

In fact, not just in India, in any country and any society it’s impossible for everyone to be born equal. Every must seek development and progress. In countries with no caste based differentiation, the rigid subconscious standard of hierarchy can be even more dangerous for society. The example of expanding disparity between rich and poor brought about from such thinking can also be found everywhere.

对印度10亿穷人而言,最重要的社会治理就是政府必须维持社会生活的尽量公平。
With regards to India’s one billion poor people, the most important social governance factor is that the government must ensure as much equity as possible in social life.

开车路过一家医院,朋友说这里是印度一所医科大学附属医院,水平较高,政府高官和普通人都来这里看病。不少外地乡下人一大早过来排队,虽然整体上公立医院设施相对较差,但印度实行的是免费医疗。这对穷人而言特别重要。所以和中国一样,人多就需要排号,能拿到号就要提早。有没有“号贩子”?朋友的回答是“NO”:印度人没有这个意识。不仅没有,这里还给穷人提供大米等基本粮食。我们从车窗里会看到医院大门外不少人排队等着发米。看来穷人确实不少。
While driving by a hospital, friends told me that this is a high grade medical university’s hospital. Government officials as well as ordinary people come here to get treated. Many people from rural areas come and line up here from the morning. Although the hospital facilities are relatively mediocre, treatment is free for Indians. This is especially important for poor people. India and China are similar this way; many people need to get a token number and you need to come early to get a token. Is there any practice of “token number selling”? Friends replied: “no”, Indian people are not aware of this. Not only does this practice not exist here but  poor people also get rice and other basic foods. We could see from our car windows that many people had lined up to receive rice. It looked like there were indeed many poor people.

Progress in Indian politics and economic development will go hand in hand to change the condition of poor people in the shortest time possible. I met many government officials  during this visit who displayed ample confidence in India’s development. The bureau chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who came to receive us was busy preparing the answers to the questions he would have to answer in the Parliament the next day. Since these delegates represent people’s interest, they cannot afford to make mistakes. Even our taxi driver happily told us how he went to a MLA’s house to reflect on some of his problems as well as about the time he greeted the President when he had gone to the Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens after they were opened for public. The officials we met from the Ministry of Commerce and industry also appeared unusually confident about India’s ability to attract foreign investment—in 2016, the Indian government even raised the percentage cap of foreign investment in consistently conservative industries like defense to 49%. Massive railways and infrastructure projects are moving forward and projects for advanced new energy vehicles are also coming up in the capital New Delhi to manage the air pollution problem.

I can imagine how this place will look like after a few years. I reckon nothing will change, Rashtrapati Bhavan and the people with the laid back lifestyle  will still be just the same.

 

Original Text

印度:随性背后的秩序

在新德里,印象最深的是总统府办公区的宏伟庄严,以及庄严之外的人性化。印度社会以一种自有的轨迹发展着。权力界限分明,社会意识蓬勃。

宪法“保护”随性生活

老德里如今是拥挤和传统的代名词。不少街路都有几百年的历史,狭窄、脏乱,只能靠人力车和三轮蹦蹦车驶入;老房子低矮破败,电线密如蛛网,但人们就这么住着,几百年来就如此,没人觉得应该改变什么。

或许是因为土地私有制,老城拆迁重建的成本太高。1947年印度独立后,选择在老德里西南地区,建设了新城,这就是今天的新德里。

新德里的核心是总统府和议会以及各个政府部门密集的国王大道。这条大道向东直达印度的标志印度门。这3公里一线是新德里最宏伟的建筑群,它承载着印度人的骄傲,成了有政治属性的标志区,每到国庆都会举办阅兵式,有点类似中国的天安门广场。

在新德里,政治除了有被人敬仰的庄严之外,与温馨、和谐、包容也并不矛盾,反而相伴相生。

国王大道南北两侧有数十米宽的绿地草坪,里面的树木枝干粗大,高冠庇荫,园林工人、游客、学生在树下随意休息、看书,甚至持枪的军警也不必一个姿势伫立良久,三五成群地在树荫下聊天,防晒——你是不是觉得这样的警戒太过松弛?只需抬眼看看对面的政府大楼楼顶,你就会明白,上面身影晃动的狙击手可不是吃素的。

让我印象最深的是一只流浪狗慵懒地趴在总统府的办公大楼前,上班的人们对它熟视无睹,匆忙地爬着楼梯;不远处就是手持机枪的士兵,在来回走动巡逻放哨。只有我对这只狗的存在表示惊讶,对着这场景一顿猛拍。

总统府和国王大道,是新德里的天际线,日出日落之际,很多人会以这座百年建筑为背景来拍风景。两侧草坪上一整天都是人来人往,反而让这块凝重严肃的街区显得更有生机。

下午5时左右,我们等待进入印度贸易和工业部大楼之际,在旁边的巨大草坪上闲逛。我们身旁的一位知识分子模样的老者,干脆躺在草地上睡着了; 一群群类似摩托一样的三轮蹦蹦车突突地在大道上奔驰,有些停在总统府前阴凉地“揽活”;卖冰淇淋的大叔们推着雪糕车在大道两边闲散地转悠……这一切,让人突然觉得挺和谐。靠劳动赚钱毕竟心安理得,这似乎才是生活应有的状态。

这幅场景让我不由得回忆起几个月前,在和一位印度小伙伴聊起了印度社会话题。他说,印度宪法规定是个社会主义国家。

我当时很吃惊,此后查看了各种资料,证实了这个说法——1950年颁布,迄今仍在使用的印度宪法,在序言部分开宗明义就写道:“我们印度人民已庄严决定,将印度建成为主权的社会主义的非宗教性的民主共和国,并确保一切公民:在社会、经济与政治方面享有公正;思想、表达、信念信仰与崇拜的自由;在地位与机会方面的平等; 在人民中间提倡友爱以维护个人尊严和国家的统一和领土完整。”

截至2012年印度宪法已经进行了98次修正,但序言部分一直没有改变。在印度人看来,这条序言的含义很简单。社会主义的本意就应是公平正义,政府只要实现基本保障功能,社会运转就相对良好。所以政府该管的就管,不该做的就不做。

官员受询不敢马虎

来印度前,听了无数的故事,说印度脏乱差,缺少厕所,牛也在大街上到处转悠。这或许是郊区和乡下场景。在德里的新城和老城地区,牛在街上转悠其实不多见了。但是在一些小城镇,类似的景象依然存在。这和城乡差距有关,也与地区发展水平有关。当然有人会说,印度的种姓制度依然存在,这是最不平等的体现。确实如此。但是在新德里等大城市,随着开放程度的普及,民众的平等意识也在不断地增长,不少创业和科技公司的雇员各个种姓都有。

其实,不只是印度,在任何国家、任何社会,人们都不可能是生而平等的,都需要后天的发展与进步。在没有种姓制度的国家,等级制度森严的潜意识规矩更具社会杀伤力;由此带来的贫富差距扩大的例子更是比比皆是。

对印度10亿穷人而言,最重要的社会治理就是政府必须维持社会生活的尽量公平。

开车路过一家医院,朋友说这里是印度一所医科大学附属医院,水平较高,政府高官和普通人都来这里看病。不少外地乡下人一大早过来排队,虽然整体上公立医院设施相对较差,但印度实行的是免费医疗。这对穷人而言特别重要。所以和中国一样,人多就需要排号,能拿到号就要提早。有没有“号贩子”?朋友的回答是“NO”:印度人没有这个意识。不仅没有,这里还给穷人提供大米等基本粮食。我们从车窗里会看到医院大门外不少人排队等着发米。看来穷人确实不少。

为尽快改变穷人多的状况,印度政治进步和经济发展正齐头并进。这次来印度见了不少政府官员,他们对印度发展信心十足。接待我们的外交部司长在忙碌着准备第二天到议会接受议员们质询的问题。议员代表民众利益,官员们不敢马虎。连我们的出租车司机都兴高采烈地讲起,他如何到议员家反映问题,以及在总统府后花园开放时与总统打招呼的场景。而我们拜访的贸易和工业部官员对印度吸引外商投资则显得非常自信——2016年印度政府甚至连一贯保守的国防工业对外资开放的比例都已经提高到了49%;庞大的铁路和基建计划正在推进;首都新德里也正酝酿先进的新能源汽车改造计划,以改变空气污染的现实。

我能想象,几年后这里会变成什么样子。估计不变的,还是总统府和国王大道上的那些随性生活的人们。

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