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I see what you’re saying, but the two aren’t really comparable. I was born and raised in North America, so I can readily admit we have our own pretty serious problems with disparity of wealth. However, upon going on exchange to India for four months, I can truly say that the two aren’t even approaching the same league. Going to a fancy pants university in India and hanging out with those students certainly helped make this perception all the more palpable.
One thing that really stands out in my mind is the straight up shanty that formed just outside the walls of the university. They were constructing a new building on campus and they were employing migrant labourers to build it. These people came from out of state and set up a little “town” to retire to at night. These people had nothing. A few shitty pieces of corrugated steel roofing barely able to patch together to form a shanty for each family. Nobody even questioned this or contemplated that the administration should maybe only construct buildings if they could afford to pay people to build it.
Other things that stand out were the constant arguing with the taxi drivers to lower their prices. Just absolute genuine outrage at the taxi drivers trying to “rip them off” by charging them 20 cents more. I tried to explain that back home riding in any form of taxi was something of a luxury, that you got used to paying more in order that the person driving you could… you know… afford shoes.
My co students were genuinely lovely people. I enjoyed them and am still friends with many of them. However, they were comfortable with a disparity of wealth that I cannot even imagine as a North American.