India’s rich pay to live like peasants

I would never have imagined that the glitz of India would want to leave their mansions and Mercedes to ride in bullock carts, milk cows, feed chickens, bathe in ponds, play traditional village games and fly kites.

Apparently there’s a potential market of 25 million middle class Indians who may be willing to do so. This desire is being catered to by a “native village” built in Hessargatta, just outside Bangalore in southern India, where you pay US$150 a night for the experience to live traditionally like peasants in rural India. Indians who take such trips want to reconnect with their culture and live a life they don’t know of but have heard of from their parents and grandparents.

In most real Indian villages, people live in harsh environments with less than a dollar a day; the irony is that the wealthy are paying a comparatively exorbitant price to get a taste of the “cultural” part of that life.

I’m undecided whether I should be happy that rich Indians — who know not much more than AC cars and shopping malls — want to get grounded and cultured by experiencing the simple life of 750 million poor Indians; or upset because instead of them spending a modest holiday in some real, poor village that will genuinely benefit from their money, they choose to pay a ridiculous price to live in an artificially recreated rural village.