Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who is the bigger thief?


Who is the bigger thief?

There has been a dramatic Increase in the number of thefts  by servants in north Bangalore. The women who come to work in the homes of the middle class people, steal a range of things from the houses. The things stolen include money, jewels, utensils, clothes, grocery and food  items, implements lying around the house such as scissors and even children’s toys. This is the sad & exasperating tale in the lives of most people who hire servants in north Bangalore. Apart from theft, many do not come on time, absent themselves for days, do slip shod work and demand a wage increase nearly every other month. Many also stop coming without giving any notice !

Recently when the maid stopped coming without informing, my friend immediatly suspected that she must have stolen something valuable from the house. But what  can one search for  when one does not know what is missing?

My friend was cursing the servants and all of their tribe, when her mother interrupted with this story. Two servants who had been working in their house  last year had narrated the events in their lives. Both were wives of farmers, who lived in villages just a few kilometers away(villages such as Rajan Kunte). One servant’s husband had sold his land for 2 lakh rupees in order to get his daughter married and as they no longer had agriculture land, the lady had started coming to work in people’s homes. She said that the man who bought her land had merely promised two lakh rupees but finally did not give the full amount . He also built a fence round the land and refused to let these people in and refused to return their land. He then sold this land to real estate developers for crores of rupees who inturn build apartments and sold the apartments for even higher amounts! The other lady’s husband was given only fifty thousand rupees for his land and then the land was converted into sites and sold for several lakhs of rupees!

The wives of these farmers are now working as servants in homes for one or two thousand rupees now! The farmers had no idea that their agricultural land would be converted into sites for building houses and that the value of their land would be several thousand times greater than what they got. These farmers would have been wallowing in luxury if they had sold their lands at the right price...now they have lost their means of livlihood and sunk in poverty.

So. Who is the bigger set of thieves? The women working as servants and stealing a few items from the houses or the men who robbed their husbands by paying a pittance for their land, which was actually  worth a fortune?

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The conversion of agricultural land into residential sites especially near growing cities like Bangalore is rife with crime, with sad stories such as this. One can go on and on about the various dimensions of evil and disasters happening due to these conversions.

The conversion of agricultural land into residences means less greenery, less food grown, less land for plants, animals, insects, birds, etc. It is leading to an ecological disaster

When agricultural land is lost, then man moves into forest areas to replace the lost land and this leads to decrease in space for wild life i.e. both plants and animals.

The conversion of agricultural land has lead to cutting of several trees and this is a huge  ecological disaster as seen by the erratic and  scanty rainfalls in Bangalore and Tumkur.

The types of crimes, the number of crimes related to this conversion of land  is another huge sociological issue. Murders by family members for this land is one  crime; paying a pittance to illiterate farmers and selling the land for exorbitant amounts is another.  Selling one  lot to two people is another! Threathening farmers who refuse to sell and then buying their land at low prices is another despicible crime I have heard of .Kidnapping young unmarried daughters of the farmer if he refuses to sell his land is another shameful thing I have heard of. There may be other types of crime related to this issue but these are the ones I have heard of.

A friend of mine who works as a teacher  in Nelamangala was reporting the atrocious behaviour of school age kids. She links the lack of discipline &  morals in these kids directly to the poor role models i.e. their parents, who have become  arrogant with the new money they have acquired  by selling their lands.  She was so disgusted by the students behaviours, especially the boys, that she quit her job.  She had to deal with parents who demanded that she pass their wards, who not only demanded that she not punish their son but also made veiled threats. Can you imagine, what the hell  is happening in these small towns? Here, the police are deferent to criminalsespecially the rich ones  as they are the ones who call the shots. Here teachers and school principals fear their students and their parents and don’t dare question them when they do things such as assaulting female students. The use of modern technology(example taking obscene photoes and threathening to circulate them, sending obscene messages on mobiles to females) to harass the female students is another shameful facet of life in small towns. Access to technology is due to access to money and access to money is due to selling their lands. While they have become richer, their morals have taken a nosedive.

The bottomline is that the quality of  life in Bangalore is worsening day by day. Crime is increasing. The increase in population is putting strain on the infrastructure. The politicians are  shameless and corrupt and are  eating away the resources like rodents instead of using them  to develop Bangalore.

 Those, who can get away from Bangalore, should get out.  What I cannot understand is why should one pay so much to live in Bangalore either as a renter or owner when this city has such a poor transport system and roads, no electricity for many hours a day, no  consistent water supply, increasing crime rate, lots of  mosquitoes,  unaffordable schools and now it also has   garbage everywhere !

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