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The collateral damage of progress

The collateral damage of progress

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Siddhartha Deb reports on the realities behind India's success @ Guernica.The highway out of Hyderabad towards Kothur village was still being worked on, with new overpasses and exits being constructed next to the lanes that were open to traffic. Vijay and I were halfway to our destination when we saw the man appear, standing in the middle of the road and waving us down. We were traveling fast, moving much too quickly to understand immediately what the man’s appearance meant. A few days earlier, on this same road, we had been stopped by two police constables. Assigned to guard duty at another point on the highway and left to fend for their own transportation, all the men had wanted was a lift. But the figure in front of us now was not in uniform, and his objective was far less clear, although I had the impression that he was part of the knotted confusion of people and cars that had sprung up suddenly on the smooth thread of the highway.Vijay brought his tiny car to a halt, and the man loomed up in front of the windscreen, a dark, stocky figure dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. He put his right hand down on the bonnet of our car. In his left hand, he held an automatic pistol, its barrel pointing up at an acute angle. His gaze, as it swept over our faces, was intense, scrutinizing us carefully, meeting our eyes for a few seconds. Then he abruptly lost interest in us and switched his attention to a motorcycle coming up from behind, on our right. He advanced swiftly towards the bike, pointing his pistol at the riders. A policeman in uniform appeared on our left, tapped on our window, and asked us to move on.read more

We have had to quarrel with our time

We have had to quarrel with our time

But bodies don't always hold their secrets in