Skip to main content

Bhatti Mines is a symbol

Bhatti Mines is a metaphor for the redundancy of ordinary people for both governments and religions.

Bhatti Mines is a village in Delhi. It lies between Mehrauli (where the Qutub Minar is situated) and Faridabad (Haryana’s industrial hub with conspicuous opulence) on the Delhi-Haryana border with reserved forests all around it. All along the road from Mehrauli to Bhatti Mines you will find symbols of affluence: imposing gates that are guarded by security personnel. Some of those gates open to sprawling farms with luxurious farmhouses. A few lead you to spectacular edifices belonging to various religious cults. The last stretch of the road is through a reserved forest and then suddenly it ends in a village that seemingly belongs to another planet. That village is Bhatti Mines.

The name owes itself to the stone quarries that existed in that area for about 25 years: 1965-1990. Red sand, silica and stones for the construction industry in the National Capital Region were mined from there. Some 50,000 people live in that village now. It is more correct to say that it is an agglomerate of many villages. These people or their ancestors were brought there to work in the quarries. Now that the quarries are decommissioned these people are unwanted. Their very citizenship is being questioned.

A few kilometres before you reach Bhatti Mines is the sprawling compound of a religious cult called Radha Soami Satsang Beas [RSSB]. They have an endless stretch of land in that area with huge buildings some of which look resplendent. Some of the buildings are just halls, enormous ones, meant to hold devotees who flock in thousands three or four times a year to listen to the Baba who is a kind of deity for them.

RSSB was in news many times for encroaching on the forest lands. Not one or two acres, but over a hundred. Their greed for land also swallowed a whole residential school which had about 20 acres of land in that area. Sawan Public School, which had a beautiful school building with five hostels and many wings of staff quarters along with well-maintained gardens, is now an arid parking space for the cars belonging to thousands of the Baba’s rich devotees.

A part of Sawan Public School being bulldozed by RSSB [2015]

Organisations like RSSB can encroach on reserved forests with impunity. The poor people of Bhatti Mines face eviction from their little huts. This is India which spends thousands of crores of rupees on advertising slogans about schemes for the welfare and development of its citizens.

Bhatti Mines is just a symbol. You will come across thousands of such places in India where the poor are struggling to survive while all around these poor people rise skyscrapers with 40 or 50 storeys of air-conditioned apartments occupied by affluent people. Poverty and affluence. India can give you pictures that will beat Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings in horrifying illusoriness.

Neither politics nor religion is interested in redrawing the pictures. Politics and religions are ultimately about amassing more and more wealth and power. Both – wealth and power – are now getting accumulated in fewer and fewer hands. Alas!

Oxfam International tells us that the gap between the rich and the poor in India is widening alarmingly. “The richest have cornered a huge part of the wealth created through crony capitalism and inheritance,” says the Oxfam report. The following chart from that report illustrates the situation succinctly and eloquently.

Bhatti Mines is a symbol of the thoroughly skewed development that India is witnessing in the past few years. It is the development of a few at the cost of the many.

One of the roads in Bhatti Mines area - the gate of a farmhouse [2013]

 I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z 

Previous Post: A for Prayagraj

Coming up on Mon: Civilisation is skin-deep


  1. Most of the construction in India have encroachments. The depth of the encroachment is proportional to his/her influence over the society. A commoner will encroach the one or two feet of land in front of his house. A church/political building/private temples will do it deeper. If a single person commits, it is a crime. When a group of people does it, it is an insurgence :)

    1. We are huge hypocrites and even criminals. But we preach big morality and claim ancient civilisation. We must be looking like big jokers to those who watch us from out there somewhere.

  2. Hari Om
    Sadly, India is the prime example of the chasm between rich and poor. These same things happen everywhere to varying degrees, but the fact is money talks and poverty walks... It seems to be impossible to level the societal field. YAM xx
    B=Branches and Berries

    1. We have the resources but lack the will to change the situation.

  3. A sense of hopeless spectatorship engulfs me when I read such reports. Perhaps, it's the lull before the storm. The greed before a revolution....and then the cycle starts all over again.

    1. Some things will change. But essentially capitalism with its intrinsic greed will continue to dominate.

  4. Wherever I've been, the Radha Soami trust actually is spread over vast spaces, some of the most beautiful and otherwise inaccessible ones. Bhatti Mines is new for me. Religion and politics could be good investments. Sorry, correction, are. And here I am, fretting over mutual funds!

    1. Religion and politics bring the highest dividends. RSSB seems to be specialized in land-grabbing.

  5. A mix or religion and politics is a recipe for the disaster. Democracy is that pliable stuff easily moulded into any form and its worth depends on the will of the people who mould it. True history has the power to shame the plunderers and their descendants, who are the land grabbers--including in Kerala -- the reason they corrupt it before introducing to school syllabus.

    1. History is fiction now. Earlier heroes become villains now and vice versa.

  6. This is always the case with Capitalism and somehow we, starting from government to an individual have been in its grip. The divide between the have & have nots is widening day by day . Only time will say for how long will this survive before a revolution by the downtrodden happens.

    1. I'm waiting for that revolution. This has to change. Capitalism may not go. But it can get a heart.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Adventures of Toto as a comic strip

  'The Adventures of Toto' is an amusing story by Ruskin Bond. It is prescribed as a lesson in CBSE's English course for class 9. Maggie asked her students to do a project on some of the lessons and Femi George's work is what I would like to present here. Femi converted the story into a beautiful comic strip. Her work will speak for itself and let me present it below.  Femi George Student of Carmel Public School, Vazhakulam, Kerala Similar post: The Little Girl

The Ugly Duckling

Source: Acting Company A. A. Milne’s one-act play, The Ugly Duckling , acquired a classical status because of the hearty humour used to present a profound theme. The King and the Queen are worried because their daughter Camilla is too ugly to get a suitor. In spite of all the devious strategies employed by the King and his Chancellor, the princess remained unmarried. Camilla was blessed with a unique beauty by her two godmothers but no one could see any beauty in her physical appearance. She has an exquisitely beautiful character. What use is character? The King asks. The play is an answer to that question. Character plays the most crucial role in our moral science books and traditional rhetoric, religious scriptures and homilies. When it comes to practical life, we look for other things such as wealth, social rank, physical looks, and so on. As the King says in this play, “If a girl is beautiful, it is easy to assume that she has, tucked away inside her, an equally beauti

Face of the Faceless

“When you choose to fight for truth and justice, you will have to face serious threats.” Sister Rani Maria, the protagonist of the movie, is counselled by her mother in a letter. Face of the Faceless is a movie that shows how serious those threats are. This movie is a biopic. It shows us the life of a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to serve some Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh [MP] and ended up as a martyr. If it were not a real story, this movie would have been an absolute flop. Since it is the real story of not only a nun but also the impoverished and terribly exploited Adivasis in a particular village of MP, it keeps you engrossed. It is a sad movie, right from the beginning to the end. It is a story of the good versus evil, the powerless versus the powerful, the heroic versus the villainous, the divine versus the diabolic. Having said that, I must hasten to add one conspicuous fact: the movie does not ever present Christianity or its religious practices as the only right way

All the light we cannot see

Book Review Title: All the light we cannot see Author: Anthony Doerr Publisher: Fourth Estate, London, 2014 Pages: 531 What we call light is just a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. Most part of the electromagnetic spectrum remains beyond ordinary human perception. Such is human life too: so many of its shades remain beyond our ordinary perception and understanding. Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the light we cannot see , unravels for us some of the mysterious shades of human life. Marie-Laure LeBlanc leaves Paris with her father Daniel who is entrusted with the task of carrying a rare diamond, Sea of Flames , to safe custody when the second world war breaks out. The National Museum of Natural History, Paris, has made three counterfeit diamonds of the Sea of Flames. Four men are assigned the task of carrying each of these diamonds to four different destinations. None of them knows whether they are carrying the original diamond or the counterfeit. Marie-Laure a

The Little Girl

The Little Girl is a short story by Katherine Mansfield given in the class 9 English course of NCERT. Maggie gave an assignment to her students based on the story and one of her students, Athena Baby Sabu, presented a brilliant job. She converted the story into a delightful comic strip. Mansfield tells the story of Kezia who is the eponymous little girl. Kezia is scared of her father who wields a lot of control on the entire family. She is punished severely for an unwitting mistake which makes her even more scared of her father. Her grandmother is fond of her and is her emotional succour. The grandmother is away from home one day with Kezia's mother who is hospitalised. Kezia gets her usual nightmare and is terrified. There is no one at home to console her except her father from whom she does not expect any consolation. But the father rises to the occasion and lets the little girl sleep beside him that night. She rests her head on her father's chest and can feel his heart