Dark skinned workers pulling and pushing to move a heavy cart through the traffic is the way of life in this city. According to the businessmen who work in the financial district of the city of Mumbai, these workers were created for this job. The wealthy arrive at work in their chauffeured limousines or by taxis. With briefcase in hand, they know that just across the street their comfortable, air conditioned office awaits them. High above the city, they seldom notice the beggars and the street vendors from their office windows.
At about noon, a group of people known as the tiffin-wallas begin distributing warm, home cooked meals each prepared by a dutiful suburban wife. There are about 3500 of these deliverymen who handle over 100,000 lunches each day. They manage to get them to the correct person and, always on time. Most of these workers cannot read, instead, symbols are used to specify the destination of each individual lunch canister.
Occasionally the office worker must venture out on the street among those who are at a lower station in life than he. On these short journeys, he is always mindful to do a good deed in order to keep his karma high and, consequently, to ensure the continued good life for himself, his family, and that of his future generations.
Have they been created equal?
The cost of school uniforms is a small price to pay knowing that his children are attending the best of schools and that they will be ready for college. Law, economics, or some other profession will be in the future for his children
For the college students, lunch is hot and ready at noon. Vendors prepare foods that can be consumed quickly during the short break from classes. Making good Chai is an art as well as a required skill for some of the merchants. Sharing in a round of this milky sweet tea is part of the binding social fabric of Mumbai. The drink is popular in all castes, from the high to the low. Street sweepers, locked in the bottom caste of society, also enjoy a Chai break with their friends.
Are these students are these workers created equal?
Home at the end of the day is a time to enjoy family and friends in safe and comfortable surroundings. Guards and high walls provide protection from the other people. It is a relaxing time to watch the latest DVD movie, to have dinner at a restaurant, or to take a swim in the pool. Perhaps taking the children to the beach is on the agenda.
The time at the beach is always fun. The family goes at night when it is cooler and there is less chance of the sun darkening their skin. Few are concerned for the young men propelling the Ferris wheel around and around as it goes faster and faster. Games, food, and time spent with family and friends are especially enjoyable.
They enjoy the status of being created unequal.
The opportunity to participate in the wedding of a nephew is a joyous occasion. Hundreds of guests come to the event. All are dressed in their best. Blessings for the bride and groom are insured with payments to the priest. Prayers to their favorite gods are offered up. Children are learning the proper manners and attire for such occasions. And, as always, there are young ladies at the wedding awaiting the day that her parents will select a life partner that seems best for the family.
Sophistication and elegance is everywhere. There is no thought of those that live on the street near the wedding hall; of those who only occasionally catch a glimpse of the wedding car.
Are the wealthy created equal?
Bollywood is a place where lifes fantasies are played out for the big screen. It is a place of the wealthy and influential. It is a place where more movies are made than in Hollywood. Large billboards advertise the latest creations. People flock to the theaters to enjoy the big screen display. But this is a fantasy, a world that seldom enters the mind of the millions of Mumbai citizens that spend each day just surviving.
What would you do in these situations?
In 1950, the Indian government decreed all of its citizens equal before the law in effect outlawing the caste system. Nevertheless caste has not gone away. Its ugly head is ever present in Indian society.
The caste system is still apparent in the lifestyles of the wealthy and influential. The rich and powerful believe they are of a higher class, of greater worth than those around them. The workers make it possible for them to enjoy the luxuries of life. Whether it is the chauffer who is always ready, the servants who care for them in their homes, or the doorman at the hotel. They expect to be served and pampered by those lower than themselves. It is their birthright. This is the way they were created to live.
How will they SEE themselves as needing to serve rather than being served when they enjoy this lifestyle? Just as the Ferris wheel goes faster and faster, they are caught in a cycle with no thought for those who enable them to enjoy fun activities. To step out of their culture, a change must be made in hearts and minds to look at one another through Gods eyes of love, not as people of high or low caste.
Can you TELL them that Jesus alone brings true happiness? Can you PRAY that they will KNOW and UNDERSTAND the truth and that the truth will set them free? Will you GO and SHOW them the way?
How is God speaking to YOU?
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