MARK TULLY the highly & rightly respected BBC journalist, who was well-informed about the Indian sub-continent (what a pity there is nobody of his calibre working for them anymore) commented within 'No Full Stops in India' (2000) :
'How do you cope with the poverty?' That must be the question I have been asked most frequently by visitors to India. I often reply, 'I don't have to. The poor do'. Its certainly true. I live a very comfortable life in Delhi, while the taxi-drivers who have lived opposite me for fourteen years have to sleep in their cars... or on a light bedstead.... I have a three-bedroomed flat. The taxi rank is their home. My foreign guests expect the taxi-drivers to take them back to their hotels whatever hour of night it may be. Before leaving, they will check the fare with me to make sure the taxi-drivers don't get a few more rupees than they are due. That's the way my guests usually 'cope with poverty' [Chris Chadwell - and of course any prosperous Indian guests of Tully's would have been driven to his flat, with their driver waiting in their car, until whatever hour that suits them].
The CROCODILE tears that have been shed over India's poor would flood the Ganges, so there's no need for me to add my drop to them. No matter how much it may upset my guests, it's better to be honest and admit that I've learnt to live with India's poverty. The only excuse I can give is that I'm not alone in this: most prosperous Indians - and indeed the prosperous in all parts of the world - have learnt to live with the fact that millions of Indians live below what economists have defined as the poverty line. Millions more don't have adequate housing and sanitation. The fact that we, the fortunate of the world, still live with India's poverty is a scandal. India - which barely rates as a trading nation, which has no oil to export, which has no monopoly of any other essential commodity, which has not adopted a hostile ideology, which can threaten only its smaller neighbours - does not count in the capitals of the West. It ought to count if we really cared about coping with poverty.
Clearly, overall, India's economy has been transformed since Tully's book, with the leaders of the world now respectfully going "cap in hand" to do business there.... It has long been a sleeping giant but as with China, a cost has been (and shall continue) to be paid for the impressive growth rates of recent years to be maintained. I cannot claim to be in the same league as Tully as to my overall grasp of India but I now have a greater level of familiarity with the Western Himalaya, her flora, her environment and sympathy towards her peoples, than anyone alive. Regrettably, it is India's middle-class (for want of a better description) and super-rich who have flourished since 2000.....not her poor. Remember Thatcher's "tickle-down" economics in the UK during the 1980s?
Yes, money and resources have been put into universities and institutes since the 1980s when I first began to visit India but it must be said, they have not always been well-spent in terms of studies of flora in the Himalaya.
I cannot but observe that the CROCODILE tears ALSO apply to the CONSERVATION of plants (both in India and the West). What has been going on is a SCANDAL. Too many mislead the world, claiming certain species are 'Rare and Endangered' or the other favourite, are 'Critically Endangered' (suggesting they are highly likely to become extinct) when they are no such thing, compounded by individuals winning substantial financial awards by falsely claiming to be 'saving' Himalayan plants - when they have actually not helped conserve a SINGLE wild plant! ALL ALONG THE PLANTS, ENVIRONMENT and PEOPLES of the Western Himalaya have been ABANDONED..... What about the plant species which really are RARE - nobody actually knows! The 'surveys' conducted are a JOKE.....
I actually do know what I am talking about,TELL THE TRUTH and genuinely care but the "powers that be", both in the Indian sub-continent and the West IGNORE what I am saying - and what is the worst part, I suspect they know the truth yet play a game..... Judge for yourself from the information I provide on this web-site. Who do you think is the REAL expert and authority? Why Chris Chadwell.....
Perhaps it was all summed up by a relative of mine 250 years ago - JOHN SPENCER (IVER, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, PARISH CLERK 1729-1779)
‘This world’s a citty full of crooked streets,
Death is the market place where all men meets,
If life were merchandise as men could buy,
The Rich would always live, the Poor must die’.
IF you care, like I do, about the Himalaya, its flora, environment and peoples, up in the world's highest mountain range, then please do take an interest in what I am doing, support and encourage my activities. I don't have the resources others do, having always operated off a shoe-string budget, not only on a "not for profit" basis but at a loss!