The Nobel laureate has penned an opinion piece for The Telegraph (Kolkata) about the benefits of bicycles -- to the cyclists, to the cities, to the environment.
It's great to see him committing some sociology, and even quoting Arundhati Roy:
I suspect that the indifference or even contempt towards cyclists has its roots in the increasing segregation of the well-off from the rest of India.
The prosperous classes have effectively seceded from the masses, as pointed out by Arundhati Roy. They live in their own private bubbles, never encountering public spaces let alone the public.
They go from their home into their car from which they leave their gated compound, only to emerge in an equally private space, whether it is their place of work or their club, a restaurant or a friend’s home. They never encounter the general public except as people to serve them as domestic servants, waiters, shop attendants, etc.
They only observe the streets through the windows of an air-conditioned car, or perhaps from a speeding motorcycle. If advertisements are to be believed, they don’t even look like the masses, but rather like tanned Westerners. They certainly do not bicycle. And given the poor infrastructure and the condition of the streets, who can blame them?
By abandoning the larger society, the well-off in India are impoverishing themselves. They may live in luxurious, well-equipped homes, but their world has shrunk dramatically into a self-made prison.