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 
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 
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