Sahista Memon, a homeopathy practitioner in Ahmedabad, says instead of creating walls to hide poor households, governments should ensure that nobody needs to live in slums
I live in the Ellis Bridge area of Ahmedabad and run a homeopathic clinic in the same area. My house is around 10 km away from the airport and even though traffic diversions are there for American President, Donald Trump’s visit, since I don’t have to travel much for work, I am fine.
However, my house helps, driver etc. live near the airport and are finding it difficult to commute easily because of the traffic diversions. Also, it is taking them longer to reach our house for work. They are apprehensive about how it will all turn out on Monday, February 24, the day Trump comes visiting. They have told me, “Ma’am Monday ko subah ghar se bahut jaldi nikalna padega” (We will have to leave home really early on Monday to reach work due to Namaste Trump event).
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Unko takleef me dekh ke mujhe bhi thodi takleef hoti hai. Theleaders don’t know how their itineraries impact the lives and livelihoods of the common man when the whole city is brought to a standstill. In my part of town, which is at the centre of Ahmedabad, there isn’t much buzz regarding Trump’s visit, but on the outskirts which is where his travel route is (from the airport to Motera Stadium), people are quite excited.
I would have been excited if Barack Obama was coming. He is a leader I hugely admire. He was so popular with everyone without even having to try hard. To me Trump seems like a power- lover who is more concerned about his image. Modiji is also trying to show the world India’s new improved image where even the President of the most powerful country in the world feels happy to visit.
The wall built to cover one of the slums falling on Trump’s route isn’t a great idea to be honest. Trump’s proposed wall on the US-Mexico border has shown us, why walls anywhere aren’t a great idea, especially when they are built with the purpose of hiding something uncomfortable or built from a place of fear. If the wall is built to protect the residents of a particular area or country, isn’t it better to take everyone into account and tell them how a new structure is beneficial to them? All stakeholders should be consulted. Everyone’s point of view should be taken into account.
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Moreover, I would like to say such structures should be temporary. If there is a real threat to people, just building a wall won’t work; ‘concrete’ work needs to go like intelligence gathering. If the wall is built to hide slums, shouldn’t we be working on policies that ensure nobody needs to live in slums?
So, no I won’t be going out to watch Trump or see the public’s reaction to him. I will be busy with my work and that is what is required in nation building, an honest day’s work.