Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monsoon Summer: Historical Fiction?


Jim Landers of the Dallas Morning News describes the booming middle class in India:
In the decade from 1993 to 2002, the poverty rate among India's 1.1 billion people dropped from 41 percent to 29 percent. Every year, 30 million to 40 million Indians cross into the middle class.
I'm so grateful for news like this, and it makes me wonder if the heartbreaking urban poverty I described in Monsoon Summer still exists. Especially in a city like Pune, an epicenter of the economic boom. I'd love to hear from someone who has visited there recently — are there still beggars on the streets? Children who are going hungry? Girls who have to worry about dowries, caste, and too-early marriages? I hope not. I hope I have to tell my readers that the book simply isn't accurate as a portrayal of urban India today, but paints a picture of how Pune used to be before it changed. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

2 comments:

Pooja said...

I visit Pune regularly, and I don't think the beggars on the streets, the hungry children, etc. are going anywhere soon. (30 million = 3% of the population.)

Your book is a very accurate portrayal which isn't going to change overnight. India has a long way to go; it's still very much a developing country with developement issues.

Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks, Pooja. I hope for the day when such poverty will be history. I can't WAIT until your book Mama's Saris (Little Brown) comes out! And I get to see you at the Kindling Words writer's conference, too. YAY!

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