December 18, 2005
Written by C.N.
The New York Times has an article that describes an increasing common phenomenon in developing Asian countries, in this case India: in the era of globalization and infrastructural improvements, more and more rural villagers are moving to cities and other urban destinations to find a better life for them and their families:
Compared with China, whose rural population is also moving, India’s urbanization has been a saunter, not a sprint – slower, looser and more haphazard. That is partly because some of India’s economic policies have served to constrict its cities’ possibilities. Decisions made during and even after four decades of quasi socialism have crimped the kind of manufacturing that has spurred China’s urban growth.
Good jobs or not, India’s migrants still come. Their presence is creating new challenges: battles for land, competition for jobs, strained resources and religious and political tensions. So diverse is Surat’s population that the municipal corporation now runs schools in eight languages.
And when the migrants return home, they bring new views and aspirations with them. Their perspectives are combining with the improved highways to open up, and out, the closed worlds of India’s villages.
But as history has consistently shown, with urbanization there inevitably follows stratification between the newly rich and the increasingly poor. Is this the inevitable price that countries such as India and China have to pay in order to modernize? I suppose that the odds aren’t great that these industrializing Asian countries can escape having the gap between the rich and the poor widen as they continue toward modernization.
But then again, maybe they’ll surprise us. We’ll just have to check back in about five or ten years to see how they’re doing. . . .
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "India: More Rural Migrating to Cities" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/12/india-more-rural-migrating-to-cities/> ().
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