Monday, May 21, 2007

Street cred

On NDTV today I saw my favourite Indian band, Indian Ocean, speaking for a cause. The cause is of street food in Delhi.

Apparently the powers that be -- which, in Delhi, means the Supreme Court -- have decided that street food -- even the cooked variety -- is Bad and unbefitting of Delhi's desired future image as a Global City. As bassist Rahul Ram asked on TV, have these people actually been to a city like New York? Or, one could add, Paris or London or Rome or Barcelona or San Francisco.

On the other hand, this report suggests that the proposal is of regularisation, not banning (except of unhygienic practices). To the extent that this reduces the regular outbreaks of cholera and gastroenteritis, it may be a good thing -- but ensuring a clean water supply would be a much better thing.

And what about the livelihoods of the affected people? Delhi is already one of the more crime-prone cities in the country; taking away honest jobs hardly seems likely to improve things.

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