29 Mar 2005
Agra to Delhi via Bhiwadi
We were separated into two groups; those willing to visit a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit off the way to Delhi and those wishing to go straight to Delhi. I joined the group that had to visit the said plant at a place called Bhiwadi. This Bhiwadi trip gave us another opportunity to see life in rural India. Most of the houses along the road typically had buffalos and cows on their veranda and extensive fields of wheat behind them. We past through a small town called Sohna (20km to Bhiwadi) that is famous for her (hot) sulphur springs (temp 46-52 degrees centigrade).
On the way, our guide Gopal had this to say on India’s caste system “there were four main castes and many sub-castes and the 4th caste (lowest) has about 36 sub-castes. You are born into a caste and you die in it. Officially the caste system has no place in modern India but it still plays a great role in marriage arrangement esp. among the majority Hindus.” The people considered to be at the bottom of the ladder in India (called untouchables) belong to the 34th to the 36th sub-caste of the 4th caste. These people do the meanest jobs like carrying corpses and carcasses from the street.
At Bhiwadi, we visited the pharmaceutical manufacturing company (Medicamen) and were shown the various manufacturing processes. The company is in partnership with Missionpharma of Denmark and it employs 35 pharmacists and hundreds of other workers.
In a chat with the eldest pharmacist on the plant Mr. S.L. Sobti, he had this to say; “I have retired from the civil service and I thought it will be nice to give a helping hand to this young company”. In an answer to another question on the profession, he said; “Today India graduates about 30,000 pharmacists annually and there are over 20, 000 pharmaceutical manufacturing units in the country”. This statement confirms the position of India as a leading player in the global pharmaceutical industry.
We left Bhiwadi and joined the busy Jaipur-Delhi highway and drove for forty kilometers in hectic traffic to New Delhi. We entered New Delhi through Gurgaon (a town that belongs to the neighbouring Haryana state) that has been absorbed by expanding New Delhi rendering it indistinguishable from India’s capital.
A remarkable observation is that Indians do not have identity cards and their democracy genuinely guarantees individual freedom. Throughout our stay I was not aware of any member of our group that was stopped and questioned by the police or officially treated in such a way that his civil rights were compromised.
Copyrightã2005 by Njei Moses Timah
Njei Moses Timah [e-mail]