Episode 2 India on Four Wheels


Episode 2

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Transcript


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We're going on an incredible journey.

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'Driving through one of the most crowded and chaotic countries on Earth.'

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This is chaos!

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'Taking two very different cars...'

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No way. How many headlights?

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'..On two very different road trips.'

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What's this? Does the rubbish come free?

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Risking life and limb on some of the most dangerous roads in the world.

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Look at this. Oh, my God! Look, he's on the fast lane.

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It seems like we are properly stuck.

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But this journey has a very serious purpose.

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India's car industry is booming,

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helping power the country's extraordinary economic growth.

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But out in India's heartlands,

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the economic revolution is leaving

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hundreds of millions of people behind.

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Namaste.

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He says his land is here. But I am also here.

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As India embraces a motoring revolution, we'll be asking

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whether this vast nation

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can really turn itself into a global superpower.

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We have been fighting for the last 25 years.

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'And what impact such a transformation could have

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'on India's ancient traditions...

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'and the rest of the world.'

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12 days ago, we set off from Delhi on the journey of a lifetime.

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-It's a beast.

-I don't want to be rude but this car, Anita,

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is vulgar.

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My top of the range Mahindra Bolero

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has taken me into a very modern India.

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All this area around here was fields of wheat, barley and mustard.

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I've seen how the Indian car industry has become

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a barometer of incredible economic growth.

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Quite like one of these at home!

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While my trusty 13-year-old Hindustan Ambassador

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has taken me into a world that the boom has left far behind.

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Oh, man. That is really hard.

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Just over halfway through, we now face the most challenging

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and dangerous stages of our epic journeys.

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Heading for the mega-port of Chennai.

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So, it's day 12.

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'And almost a thousand miles in, I'm about to enter Mumbai,'

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India's biggest city.

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A seething mass of around 20 million people.

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The traffic is pretty horrific in Mumbai this morning,

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and what I've realised is, do not stop for pedestrians.

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Because if you stop for one, a million appear from nowhere.

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This is India's financial hub,

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'home to its stock market, more than 20 billionaires, and of course,

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'the biggest movie industry in the world.

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'I'm going to get myself a tiny taste of the Mumbai high life.'

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He's a genuine Bollywood star.

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'Imran Khan is one of Bollywood's hottest properties.

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'He's already living a movie star lifestyle

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'in his million-pound beach front apartment.'

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Hello, Imran. Anita. How are you?

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As well as starring in action movies like Delhi Belly,

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here in India, Imran's also the face of Coca Cola and Levi's.

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-So this is your baby?

-That's my baby.

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Of course, no film star lifestyle is complete

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without the obligatory trophy car.

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In Imran's case, it's a brand new Porsche.

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This is the first big thing that I ever bought in life.

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I remember being eight or nine years old. We'd have these photographs

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of these exotic foreign cars,

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things that you could never dream of seeing in real life.

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You hear the name Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari.

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-These things were unheard of.

-It's changed totally.

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He's getting kisses blown at him, that's great.

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So the Porsche Cayenne.

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So I needed a car that could carry my staff.

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I have a chauffeur who will drive the car. I've got my valet.

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And pretty often, my hairstylist travels with me.

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-You're 28, and you're living the dream right now.

-Yeah, pretty much.

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It's something that...whoa!

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What happened?

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Some guy rear-ended another.

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-There was a crash?

-Yeah, the guy was trying to pull up alongside.

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-He was probably trying to get a glimpse of you.

-He was.

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-You've just caused an accident!

-It happens.

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'Far from Mumbai, with my co-driver Abhra,

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'I'm taking my stately Ambassador

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'through the countryside of Uttar Pradesh.'

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Out here, there are millions of people

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who've never owned any car, let alone a Porsche.

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But that's beginning to change,

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as car manufacturers eye a potentially vast new market.

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And this is quite an amazing journey, really,

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cos for most of the people that we're going to see,

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this will be the first car their family has ever had.

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I'm joining a convoy of brand new cars,

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all of them made by an Indian manufacturer.

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Maruti Suzuki.

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Maruti is bringing this convoy to a rural car fair,

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specially organised to flog as many of them as possible.

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'Rolling up in my ageing Ambassador

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'seems to have marked me out for special treatment.

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'It might be that they hope I'll loosen my wallet

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'and trade in the Amby for a brand new Maruti Suzuki.'

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Better-off farmers are snapping up these small cars.

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Maruti alone is shifting around 600 every single day.

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How do you think that owning a car is going to change your life?

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With every sale comes a very Indian ceremony,

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as a holy man blesses the cars and all those who sail in them.

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There's no coconut?

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Do you have coconut?

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We're trying to get a coconut.

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A coconut is auspicious, isn't it?

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Yeah. Because they say the water inside the coconut is purest of all.

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The purest water of all.

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All this blessing is especially important,

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as many of the new customers don't actually know how to drive.

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Puneet Kumar has come to collect a car for his father,

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who lives two hours away.

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And I've been invited back to meet the lucky family.

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Just driving off back to their village.

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'So far, my journey through rural India

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'has shown just how desperately poor the countryside remains.

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'But just like the cities, things here are slowly changing.

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'The growing sales of companies such as Maruti Suzuki show

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'that even out here, a new middle class is beginning to emerge.'

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Here it is, home. That's wonderful, thank you.

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Hello, Namaste. It's got that very distinctive new car smell.

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Try the horn. Very important in India.

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HORN BEEPS

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You decided to buy this brand new Suzuki. But for much less money,

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you could have bought a lovely, traditional Indian car like this.

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You're convinced that your Suzuki's better than my Hindustan Ambassador.

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Well, good luck with your Suzuki, and I hope you enjoy it.

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India's vast rural population is a huge potential market,

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bigger than the whole of Europe.

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This is a country on the brink of massive change.

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'But today's experience at the car fair

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'makes me wonder if everyone is quite ready for the modern world.'

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It's such a big deal for those guys, getting their new cars.

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It's symbolic, I suppose, of them improving their lives.

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But it's also worrying when you think that most of them didn't know how to drive,

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and they're going to hop into their cars

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and head out onto the already chaotic Indian roads.

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It makes you realise why the roads are so dangerous here,

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if people can buy a brand-new car without even knowing how to drive.

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Back in Mumbai, my Porsche driving time has come to an end,

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because right in the shadow of the apartments of billionaires

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is one of the biggest slums on the planet.

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Dharavi was made famous in the film Slumdog Millionaire.

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Here, life isn't about car ownership, but survival.

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As the monsoon season approaches,

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the authorities have begun the job of fogging the slum

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with insecticide spray to kill off

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malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

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Places like this seem like visions of hopelessness,

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Dharavi's people locked into a cycle of hunger and disease.

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But even here, there's evidence that right at the bottom,

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India is beginning to lift itself out of centuries of poverty.

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One local businessman, Pushparaj Thiagaraj,

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runs a thriving food factory,

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right in the middle of the slum.

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This is Bombay Mix, as you say.

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I know all about Bombay Mix. It's perfect with a cold glass of beer!

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'From small beginnings,

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'Pushparaj's company now produces more than ten tonnes of snacks a week.'

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How many of these does he produce in a day?

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Around 800 pieces.

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-A day?

-Yeah, a day.

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Looks like quite a skill to have. He's very fast as well.

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-Can I have a go?

-Yeah, you can try.

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OK.

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And press, rotate... good. For the first time, you are good.

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All right!

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PEOPLE CLAP

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I get a round of applause!

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'Even with all this hard work,

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'it's still a struggle to bring in big profits.'

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How much do you sell them for?

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-This 1 kg, we sell at 53 rupees, wholesale price.

-Less than a pound.

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And who do you sell it to?

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This goes to hotels throughout Bombay.

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We give it to wholesalers, and retailers also sell it from us.

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They take it from us and sell it.

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-But you're doing well?

-Yeah, we're doing well. We're growing.

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Indian businesses like this

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operate in the toughest environment you can imagine.

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This is capitalism in the raw,

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a sell-or-die culture.

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What it breeds, through locals like Pushparaj,

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is an incredible spirit of entrepreneurship that makes me feel that India,

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in spite of all its problems,

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really could become an economic superpower.

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Two weeks in,

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and I'm about to reach India's east coast.

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The massive changes in the Indian economy

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are also bringing political upheaval.

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And nowhere is that more evident than my next stop,

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the city of Calcutta, capital of the federal state of West Bengal.

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I'm coming into Kolkata, as they say in Bengali,

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or Calcutta, as it used to be known.

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And this, Abhra, is your home, isn't it?

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Yeah, it is.

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Until 1947, this city was the capital of the British Raj,

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and its colonial past

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is still very much in evidence.

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But it's also the home of our Amby.

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It's the home of Hindustan Motors, that makes the Ambassador.

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Yeah, and even our Amby was born here.

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The Hindustan Ambassador is based on the old British Morris Oxford.

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And they're still making them right here after more than half a century.

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Oh, that's amazing. Look at that car!

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-Jigar, this a lovely car.

-Yeah, this is pride of Calcutta.

-I like it.

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-Can I go for a spin?

-Yeah, please.

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'I was keen to see if there'd been any upgrades

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'since my Amby was made.'

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Oh, it's a different vehicle.

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This is fantastic. It's so smooth.

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You'll find it much more responsive as compared to your older vehicle.

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-So this is the modern Ambassador?

-Yes.

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A car that's over 60 years old, remade for modern India?

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Yeah. All the modern facilities we are offering, the safety, the comfort.

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Look at the legroom, look at the headroom.

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Got a bit of turban space here.

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Even the door pad. We all believe

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that there cannot be any other vehicle which can be better

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to take the kind of abuse which we all go through here.

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-I like it. It's a car designed for abuse.

-Absolutely.

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Salesman Jigar Shah, though, has his work cut out.

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'Nearly three million cars were built in India last year.

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'Only 8000 were Ambassadors.

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'At a less than impressive 0.25% market share,

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'it's a far cry from the days when the Amby really did rule the roads.'

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So Jigar, you can't get away from the fact that the Ambassador is a bit of a relic, isn't it?

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This is a car that was designed 70 years ago.

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We are struggling. I would definitely mention

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that we are struggling to sell more.

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But we're still finding enough takers to make our business run.

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Like the Ambassador, the city of Calcutta seems to have been

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a bit overshadowed in modern India.

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On the other side of the country, the brash giant Mumbai

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seems to be leading the charge.

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But things here could be about to change politically.

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Because I happen to have arrived in Calcutta at a very special time.

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Today is election day.

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HORNS BLARE

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'West Bengal has been ruled for nearly 35 years

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'by the Indian Communist Party.

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'But today, supporters of the main rival Congress Party

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'can smell a long hoped for victory.'

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HE SHOUTS IN BENGALI

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Oh! This is kind of an election, Indian-style.

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The local TV station is buzzing with excitement,

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but just like the rest of this very strange country,

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politics Indian-style are complicated.

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Tell you what, I have no idea what's going on here.

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'To try and make some sense of the turmoil,

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'I've collared local political pundit, Suman Mukherjee.'

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Do you think we're seeing a fundamental change

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-in Indian politics today?

-I don't think so.

-Why not?

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Because, you know, only electorally the left is going,

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but the left changed itself five years ago.

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The left has become right and the right has become...

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And the right has become more left, and this is the price that they are getting for becoming left.

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It sounds like a uniquely Indian situation.

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It's a very Indian situation.

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It's very difficult for an Englishman to comprehend.

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In the countryside outside Calcutta, the electoral battle

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has turned decidedly nasty,

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highlighting some of the problems of India's industrial expansion.

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Five years ago, the Communist Government of West Bengal

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moved thousands of farmers off their land

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to make way for a giant car factory,

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owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata.

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'Some of the farmers, like Mahadev Das, weren't even compensated.'

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Sensing a political coup, the opposition party backed the farmers.

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Tata, not wanting to become the centre of a political tug of war,

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emptied these factories and rebuilt them

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right on the other side of India.

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The land, though, still officially belongs to the car company.

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'So farmers like Mahadev don't have any hope of a new livelihood...'

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So just through here, Mahadev?

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'..or their land.

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'This is the first time in five years that Mahadev has been back where his farm once stood.'

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This man says he has land here.

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That is OK. But Tata has taken the boundary.

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I'm just requesting you, you take the permission.

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I suppose the confusion is that he believes he owns the land,

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and Tata believe that they own the land. It's confusing, isn't it?

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Definitely, the land belongs to Tata.

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Only from his statement, you don't expect that the land is his.

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Yes, he is also man. He is telling the land is his. But I am also here.

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OK, I think we'd better go. Come on. Come on.

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This is a dilemma, not just here in West Bengal but across India,

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because wherever industrialists want to build factories,

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almost inevitably, the land is owned by farmers,

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and these disputes make it difficult

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for people to invest here in India, to develop India.

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'Back in Calcutta, the election results are in.'

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'And as expected, the oddly capitalist-friendly Communist party is out

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'and the newly left-leaning Congress party is in.'

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'It's the first regime change for 35 years

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'and a new governor heads into power.'

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So there she goes - off to the governor's mansion, to be sworn in.

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'But some things never change.'

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'The new Governor is being transported,

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'in time-honoured fashion,

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'in an Ambassador.'

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It has been the wonderful day of our lives.

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We have been fighting for the last 25 years.

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Yes!

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Oh, mate, that's so sticky!

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It's quite nice.

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What is it?

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Wadil abodi!

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It's wadil abodi?

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Wadil abodi!

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'Day 15.'

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'And moving on from Mumbai, this six-lane highway

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'is just the kind of infrastructure this country needs

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'if it's going to sustain its phenomenal economic growth.

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'But as ever, in India, nothing is quite as simple as it seems.'

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If I come across as a little bit stressed, that's because I am.

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Up until now, driving has been chaos, it's been frightening,

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I've had people coming towards me,

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I've had people reversing down the motorway,

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but the speeds haven't been that fast.

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Here, they reach 100 mph.

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This is where, if you've got a fast car, you come to put your foot down.

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And that, to me, is a very scary thought.

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'More than 100,000 people die on India's roads each year.

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'The Mumbai-Puna expressway is one of the most dangerous of all.

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'Just this short stretch claims two lives every single week.

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'And it's soon obvious why.'

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'Indian drivers think nothing of driving on the wrong side of the road, even on a motorway.'

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A car coming towards me!

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It's a dual bloody carriageway! What's wrong with these people?

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I'm in the fast lane of the motorway.

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Motorbike coming towards me. And, look at this!

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Oh, my God! Look, he's in the fast lane! You idiot!

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It's a long time since I've seen any sight of a motorway.

0:24:370:24:41

Across India, less than half

0:24:420:24:44

of the country's two million miles of road are even paved.

0:24:440:24:49

'I can't help feeling that the terrible state

0:24:530:24:56

'of so much of the infrastructure has to be holding up development.'

0:24:560:25:00

'It's certainly holding up my journey.'

0:25:000:25:04

ENGINE REVS

0:25:140:25:19

Guys, can you give it a push? Is that OK?

0:25:200:25:25

It was quite funny at first, but it seems that we are properly stuck.

0:25:300:25:35

'Fortunately, an entire village turns up to give me a helping hand.'

0:25:450:25:51

VILLAGERS CHEER

0:25:540:25:56

Thank you very much, cheers! Namaste, brilliant.

0:25:560:26:01

Woo! We got out in the end.

0:26:010:26:03

'I might have over 1,000 miles still to go,

0:26:090:26:11

'but I'm planning a detour.

0:26:110:26:15

'Heading for the coast, to explore the impact

0:26:150:26:18

'of all these cars on an extraordinary natural wilderness.'

0:26:180:26:22

'Meanwhile, making good time,

0:26:240:26:28

'I'm planning take some time away from the car myself.'

0:26:280:26:31

Leaving my co-driver with the Bolero, I've flown ahead

0:26:330:26:37

to investigate India's traffic problems in city of Bangalore.

0:26:370:26:41

Bangalore is India's answer to California's Silicon Valley,

0:26:440:26:48

and provider of call centres and software-writers to the world.

0:26:480:26:52

This might be India's most modern city,

0:26:540:26:56

but like everywhere else, anarchy seems to rule the roads.

0:26:560:27:00

Here, even the traffic cops take their lives in their hands.

0:27:040:27:07

As Inspector Geetha Kulkarui has found to her cost.

0:27:070:27:11

All the passengers just, they are screaming.

0:27:110:27:15

The bus going on me, I'm experiencing the heat of the bus.

0:27:150:27:19

But I fell unconscious

0:27:190:27:21

and all my staff and the public thought I was dead and gone.

0:27:210:27:24

But then they came and I said, "I want some water".

0:27:240:27:27

Nothing happened to me.

0:27:270:27:28

-Let me get this straight. You were knocked down by a bus.

-Yes.

0:27:280:27:31

You fell under the bus, and the bus went over you

0:27:310:27:34

and you didn't have a scratch on you?

0:27:340:27:36

Nothing! Not even a scratch on me! I could not believe this, actually.

0:27:360:27:39

As we're in India, possibly divine intervention?

0:27:390:27:41

As you said, maybe divine intervention!

0:27:410:27:44

Possibly!

0:27:440:27:45

'After Geetha's little pep talk,

0:27:470:27:50

'it's time for me to head out to one of the city's busiest intersections.'

0:27:500:27:55

They're all coming towards us.

0:27:550:27:56

We are literally taking our life in our own hands.

0:27:560:28:00

Show your hand like this. Stop here, listen.

0:28:040:28:07

Yes, go, and then you have to call them, like this.

0:28:070:28:10

Woo!

0:28:100:28:11

I'm in training, I'm in training.

0:28:150:28:17

Oh, gosh, here they come!

0:28:190:28:20

Come back, you come back. Anita! Come back.

0:28:200:28:24

Apparently, I'm causing more chaos than normal.

0:28:240:28:28

It usually runs very smoothly.

0:28:280:28:31

My presence is causing a bit of a disturbance.

0:28:310:28:33

'Many countries face traffic problems,

0:28:390:28:41

'but what sets India apart seems to be an utter disregard for rules.'

0:28:410:28:46

'And as night falls, that disregard turns to mayhem.'

0:28:480:28:52

Hey, hey, hey!

0:28:540:28:57

Come on, come on.

0:28:570:28:58

Drink-driving is a huge problem in India, and Bangalore is no exception.

0:29:030:29:07

So every Saturday night, their busiest night,

0:29:070:29:10

traffic police set up a checkpoint and randomly breathalyse drivers.

0:29:100:29:14

116.

0:29:210:29:22

The limit is 40 and he's at 116,

0:29:220:29:25

so he's well over the drink-driving limit.

0:29:250:29:27

'Many Indian drivers simply don't believe they need to obey the law.'

0:29:270:29:33

-Blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow...

-OK.

0:29:330:29:37

That's 158.3.

0:29:370:29:39

-So, Sushila, he's over four times your limit...

-Yes.

0:29:390:29:42

Did he say that he's related to somebody important?

0:29:540:29:57

-Yes, he's related to...

-INDISTINCT NAME

0:29:570:30:00

So somebody quite senior in the police

0:30:000:30:02

-is his brother, or brother-in-law?

-Brother-in-law.

0:30:020:30:05

So he was saying, "Let me off because I'm related to somebody important"?

0:30:050:30:09

Not "Let me off", he wanted some kind of favour.

0:30:090:30:12

'These drivers, it seems, will try anything.

0:30:150:30:18

'Even resorting to blatant bribery.'

0:30:180:30:21

These two have been pulled over...

0:30:210:30:23

and the chap in the hooded top, I've just seen him try and give the police officer an envelope.

0:30:230:30:29

Don't know what's in it, but I can suspect

0:30:290:30:33

that it's a little bit of a sweetener to try and get off.

0:30:330:30:37

THEY ARGUE

0:30:370:30:39

I'm incredibly surprised at what I've seen tonight.

0:30:410:30:44

In the last three hours I've seen people try and escape through the checkpoint, bribe the officers,

0:30:440:30:49

plead with the officers...

0:30:490:30:51

and also try and convince them they're not drunk,

0:30:510:30:53

even though they're three to four times over the limit.

0:30:530:30:56

So there's a huge problem of drink driving in India,

0:30:560:30:58

and the police have a very tough challenge ahead of them.

0:30:580:31:02

'One man, though, is on a mission

0:31:060:31:09

'to combat this headlong road-spin of drunkenness and death.'

0:31:090:31:12

ENGINE ROARS AND BRAKES SCREECH

0:31:120:31:15

Hello, Pradeep!

0:31:190:31:20

'Ex-rally champion Pradeep Nair has set up India's first school

0:31:200:31:25

'for advanced drivers.

0:31:250:31:26

'He's offering some of the local speed merchants

0:31:260:31:30

'lessons in how to really handle a car -

0:31:300:31:33

'with the hope of making them a bit more responsible.'

0:31:340:31:37

Should I feel nervous right now?

0:31:370:31:40

No, not at all - completely relax. I'm not really going to go mad.

0:31:400:31:46

Whoo! Oh...!

0:31:460:31:48

'Pradeep believes that, learn to control a car effectively off-road,

0:31:500:31:54

'and you'll be a much safer driver ON it.'

0:31:540:31:57

No, I just... Ha!

0:31:590:32:02

I flew out of my chair!

0:32:020:32:04

Whoo!

0:32:070:32:10

Here's the chief of the village. Hi, chief!

0:32:110:32:14

'Having been shown Pradeep's ropes...

0:32:220:32:25

'it's my turn.'

0:32:250:32:26

Woo-hoo!

0:32:260:32:28

How is this going to help Indian drivers?

0:32:310:32:34

It'll help them with the steering control,

0:32:340:32:37

getting used to sliding the car,

0:32:370:32:41

-recovering from a skid...

-Yeah.

0:32:410:32:43

Aaagh...

0:32:430:32:44

'I'm sure his motives are right,

0:32:480:32:50

'but I've a hunch that teaching Indians to drive like rally champs

0:32:500:32:54

'isn't going to lessen the carnage on the roads.'

0:32:540:32:57

ANITA LAUGHS

0:33:050:33:06

You panicked, see?

0:33:060:33:08

I did panic!

0:33:080:33:09

-OK, reverse.

-Reverse...

0:33:090:33:12

It's stuck.

0:33:140:33:15

'Day 16.

0:33:200:33:22

'Another stretch of highway, and yet another accident.'

0:33:230:33:28

Guys, what happened here?

0:33:280:33:29

Here it comes in. Look at that! What a giant!

0:33:340:33:37

So were just driving along, and found this truck

0:33:370:33:41

which has crashed down into this ditch.

0:33:410:33:44

Apparently, there was a cyclist wobbling along

0:33:440:33:46

and to avoid the cyclist, he had to put the truck in the ditch -

0:33:460:33:50

but fortunately for them, there's a big road building project over here

0:33:500:33:53

and they've got heavy machines to help lift it out.

0:33:530:33:56

Pull up and up!

0:33:580:34:01

Come out, come out!

0:34:010:34:03

There's a bloke underneath.

0:34:030:34:05

And he was proposing to stay under there while they lifted it out!

0:34:050:34:10

It's all very makeshift here.

0:34:100:34:12

That was pretty neat - they got it out in a matter of minutes.

0:34:150:34:19

'Miraculously, this time, no-one is hurt.

0:34:190:34:23

'But with hundreds of miles still to go,

0:34:240:34:27

'it's really starting to get me down.'

0:34:270:34:30

It's really, really exhausting driving in India,

0:34:300:34:33

because people drive like complete idiots.

0:34:330:34:35

And after a while, you just begin to think, this is so reckless

0:34:350:34:40

and careless of other people's wellbeing.

0:34:400:34:43

It just really exhausts you,

0:34:440:34:46

and I'm glad that we've finally arrived at the hotel.

0:34:460:34:49

MARCHING BAND PLAYS "COLONEL BOGEY"

0:34:500:34:55

'The massive increase in car ownership

0:34:580:35:00

'also has huge environmental implications.

0:35:000:35:04

'Not just for India, but for the whole world.

0:35:050:35:09

'Cars are a major contributor to the build-up of greenhouse gases

0:35:090:35:13

'and to global warming.

0:35:130:35:16

'And in the next ten years, it's thought the amount of carbon dioxide

0:35:160:35:19

'from Indian cars will increase five-fold.

0:35:190:35:22

'I'm heading for the Sundarbans, a huge area of mangrove swamps

0:35:240:35:28

'and low-lying islands at the mouth of the river Ganges.

0:35:280:35:32

'It's one of the most important and delicate ecosystems in the world.

0:35:350:35:41

'Where I'm going, there aren't any roads,

0:35:450:35:48

'so for the moment, I'm leaving my trusty Amby behind...

0:35:480:35:52

'..and taking to the water.

0:35:530:35:56

'The Sundarbans are one of the wonders of the natural world,

0:35:590:36:03

'sanctuary to hundreds of species

0:36:030:36:05

'including the endangered Sundarbans tiger.

0:36:050:36:09

'But some of these delicate islands are slowly being washed away.

0:36:100:36:15

'Doctor Pranabes Sanyal has spent his career studying them.'

0:36:170:36:21

Oh, man... Woo-hoo!

0:36:210:36:23

Seriously, Doctor, it's very muddy. Are you going to be OK?

0:36:240:36:28

Oh!

0:36:280:36:30

Doctor, I'm not sure this was such a good idea landing here

0:36:300:36:33

but we do just get a sense of just how muddy this mud is.

0:36:330:36:36

It's muddy, absolutely.

0:36:360:36:37

What effect are these changes in the Sundarbans having on the environment?

0:36:370:36:41

-A lot of areas will come under water.

-So this...

0:36:410:36:43

Already we have measured, where we don't have embankments

0:36:430:36:47

in the sea-facing islands -

0:36:470:36:49

during the period from 1969,

0:36:490:36:53

as on today,

0:36:530:36:54

some 20% of the area of the sea-facing islands,

0:36:540:36:58

they have gone under.

0:36:580:37:00

They've already gone. 20%!

0:37:000:37:02

'Many factors are responsible.

0:37:020:37:05

'Some are natural phenomena,

0:37:050:37:08

'but the fear is that increasing levels of CO2 from fossil fuels

0:37:080:37:12

'will lead to progressively rising sea levels.

0:37:120:37:16

'It could have terrible implications for the Sundarbans,

0:37:160:37:20

'and the unique tigers and other wildlife that inhabit them.'

0:37:200:37:24

It's not just the tigers that are going to suffer

0:37:240:37:27

if the sea level continues to rise.

0:37:270:37:29

Take a look at this.

0:37:290:37:30

There are four million farmers here in the Sundarbans

0:37:300:37:33

and most of their farms are below high tide.

0:37:330:37:36

They're only protected by these mud banks.

0:37:360:37:40

'People living in low-lying areas around the world

0:37:420:37:45

'face increasingly bleak futures.

0:37:450:37:49

'Satish and his wife Janaki

0:37:490:37:51

'have lived and farmed here all their lives.'

0:37:510:37:55

How do you manage to get food? How do you manage to survive?

0:38:090:38:12

-HE TRANSLATES:

-Their farmland is flooded by saltwater

0:38:200:38:24

so they can't have any crops.

0:38:240:38:26

So literally, they're, um, they're starving.

0:38:260:38:29

Oh, I'm sorry...

0:38:530:38:54

'As car ownership grows and India industrialises,

0:39:170:39:21

'billions more tons of carbon will be pumped into the atmosphere.'

0:39:210:39:24

'But hi-tech Bangalore is home to one of the pioneers of greener motoring.'

0:39:290:39:34

I'm swapping India's best-selling SUV

0:39:360:39:38

for India's first and only electric car.

0:39:380:39:42

Both owned by Mahindra.

0:39:420:39:43

Sold in the UK as the G-Wiz, and known here as the Reva.

0:39:430:39:48

And the first thing to notice about it, is that it has no exhaust.

0:39:480:39:52

Which means zero emissions, so incredibly environmentally friendly.

0:39:520:39:55

But how does she take to the roads of India?

0:39:550:39:58

Very quiet, here I go.

0:40:010:40:03

It's pretty much silent,

0:40:060:40:07

which is quite dangerous when people jump out in front of you,

0:40:070:40:10

so the horn is essential on this car.

0:40:100:40:14

The G-Wiz was launched in Britain to what you might call "mixed reviews".

0:40:170:40:21

And, so far, take-up in India hasn't been huge.

0:40:210:40:25

I think it's quite ambitious of Mahindra

0:40:250:40:28

to want to produce 30,000 of these a year,

0:40:280:40:30

as India's yet to sort out its power problems.

0:40:300:40:35

Electricity isn't widely available.

0:40:360:40:39

Every day we've been here, there's been power cuts.

0:40:390:40:43

Single, yes, one-way.

0:40:430:40:46

Right, I'm flooring this baby. I'm going to put her into booster mode.

0:40:460:40:50

Aw, yeah!

0:40:500:40:53

'In theory, electric cars are exactly what India

0:40:530:40:57

and the rest of the world needs.'

0:40:570:41:00

'But, in the helter-skelter consumerism of modern India,

0:41:000:41:03

'it's hard to imagine this car competing with the allure

0:41:030:41:07

'of more conventional petrol vehicles.'

0:41:070:41:10

While I've been exploring the mangrove swamps by boat,

0:41:150:41:19

my Ambassador has been driven on.

0:41:190:41:22

Now, I've flown to the city of Visakhapatnam

0:41:250:41:26

to catch up with it again.

0:41:260:41:30

From here, it's still a massive drive into mountains

0:41:320:41:35

that are inhabited by an ancient and threatened indigenous tribe.

0:41:350:41:42

It'll take me on to some of the most remote roads yet.

0:41:420:41:46

But it seems that, in my absence, the Amby has really suffered.

0:41:470:41:52

What's happened?

0:41:540:41:58

The fuel gauge says it's completely full

0:41:580:41:59

but we have been driving for about two and half hours

0:41:590:42:02

and we've just run out of fuel.

0:42:020:42:07

So, look at the fuel gauge there. If I turn on the...

0:42:070:42:10

ENGINE TURNS OVER

0:42:140:42:15

Can you see that? It goes right up.

0:42:150:42:17

I think that's broken, don't you?

0:42:170:42:19

No, this'll be all right.

0:42:190:42:20

It can't be overfull after two and a half hours.

0:42:200:42:22

And it wasn't. As it turns out, it was empty. Such is life.

0:42:220:42:26

We've got a slight problem.

0:42:280:42:30

Which is, Rupert come here, mate.

0:42:300:42:32

Which is, we haven't got a tow rope.

0:42:320:42:33

So Rupert's managed... The cameraman...

0:42:330:42:35

Safety harness.

0:42:350:42:36

..has used his safety harness which we're going to use to...

0:42:360:42:40

Hopefully, it's going to be strong enough.

0:42:400:42:42

We're trying to find an anchor point for the tow rope that is rust-free.

0:42:420:42:47

They all seem to be pulling off.

0:42:470:42:49

But that's moving it, isn't it?

0:42:490:42:51

Are you sure this is going to be strong enough to hold the car?

0:42:510:42:54

It's not a heavy car, is it?

0:42:540:42:56

Not a heavy car? It's solid, solid steel!

0:42:560:42:59

To be honest, we haven't got much choice.

0:42:590:43:03

We've got four kilometres to do like this.

0:43:030:43:05

And we've got to be really, really careful

0:43:050:43:07

otherwise I'm going to crash into the car in front.

0:43:070:43:10

The handbrake doesn't work either, so...

0:43:100:43:14

Hi guys. It's all on OK. Let's go!

0:43:140:43:16

Go, go!

0:43:160:43:18

So dangerous.

0:43:180:43:23

Four kilometres.

0:43:240:43:26

I am still a long way from my rendezvous with Anita in Chennai.

0:43:350:43:39

Early monsoon rain has grounded the Amby

0:43:390:43:41

and I've still got a tribe to visit.

0:43:410:43:44

But the only way to get where I am going is on foot.

0:43:450:43:49

Up there.

0:43:490:43:51

It's a tough four-hour trek into the sacred lands

0:43:570:44:00

of a tribe called the Dongria Kondh.

0:44:000:44:03

Ancient people who are in the midst of an epic battle with modernity,

0:44:030:44:09

in the shape of a giant aluminium company.

0:44:090:44:12

This is a classic David and Goliath battle.

0:44:160:44:19

An ancient tribe living on a sacred mountain

0:44:190:44:21

up against a giant multinational. Remind you of a movie?

0:44:210:44:25

Boba hoo haa.

0:44:290:44:32

'The Dongria Kondh are subsidence farmers

0:44:320:44:34

'who have lived here for thousands of years.'

0:44:340:44:38

Laddo, yeah? The chief man.

0:44:380:44:40

So Laddo, could we have a little look around your village?

0:44:410:44:45

Would that be OK?

0:44:460:44:47

'It's believed the Dongria are related to Australian aboriginals

0:44:470:44:52

'and they're reckoned to be one of the oldest tribes on Earth.'

0:44:520:44:56

I think these are the private areas where the families hang out.

0:44:570:45:01

DOGS BARKING

0:45:010:45:02

They're a bit surprised to see us.

0:45:020:45:05

'I've been invited to spend the night here.'

0:45:050:45:08

'But, before I settle in,

0:45:080:45:09

'I'm going climb the mountain that's very special for what it contains,

0:45:090:45:14

'and also for what it represents.'

0:45:140:45:19

This is Nyamgiri mountain.

0:45:210:45:23

This is the sacred mountain of the Dongria people.

0:45:230:45:27

But it's also incredibly valuable.

0:45:270:45:29

The rocks we are walking over now are almost solid bauxite and

0:45:290:45:32

there's a really rich bauxite seam running through the entire mountain.

0:45:320:45:39

More than 2 billion worth, apparently.

0:45:390:45:45

The state government has granted rights

0:45:500:45:52

to a huge mining company called Vedanta,

0:45:520:45:56

to mine the bauxite in this mountain to make aluminium,

0:45:560:45:59

a crucial material in modern cars.

0:45:590:46:04

Vedanta has even built a huge refinery, but the Dongria claim

0:46:060:46:10

mining this mountain will destroy their way of life.

0:46:100:46:16

What happened when you said you didn't want their houses,

0:46:290:46:32

didn't want their schools, or their roads?

0:46:320:46:34

That night, back in the village, the Dongria started to worship

0:46:540:46:58

Niyamghiri, the god of the mountain.

0:46:580:47:03

RHYTHMIC DRUMMING

0:47:160:47:18

'As their religious devotions became ever wilder,

0:47:410:47:43

'and with no sense of an end, I decided to slip off to bed.'

0:47:430:47:47

I have to say, if I had not been here with the entire crew,

0:47:470:47:49

I would have found that genuinely frightening and unsettling.

0:47:490:47:53

And it really felt like something ancient.

0:47:570:48:00

An ancient tradition being acted out in front of us.

0:48:010:48:05

I suppose that's why, that's how much there is at stake really.

0:48:070:48:11

One of the oldest tribes on Earth,

0:48:110:48:13

crashing up against modernity in the form of the aluminium industry.

0:48:130:48:19

'Next morning, I headed into the local town to meet with Vedanta,

0:48:330:48:37

'the aluminium company at the heart of this dispute.'

0:48:370:48:40

Vedanta had agreed to speak to us.

0:48:420:48:43

They'd even flown a spokesman here to the town.

0:48:430:48:48

But when they saw us talking to a group of tribal people,

0:48:480:48:50

they decided to pull out. So, no interview.

0:48:500:48:54

But they have invested a huge amount of money here.

0:48:540:48:57

This giant aluminium plant cost a billion dollars.

0:48:570:49:00

They've created one and a half thousand jobs.

0:49:000:49:02

They've built schools, hospitals, these roads.

0:49:020:49:06

And they say that, without the aluminium from the hill,

0:49:060:49:08

the plant just isn't viable.

0:49:080:49:10

Of course, if it closed, that would be the end

0:49:100:49:11

of the biggest employer in this incredibly deprived region.

0:49:110:49:16

India will need to increasingly exploit its natural resources

0:49:230:49:27

to create jobs if it is to lift hundreds of millions of people

0:49:270:49:31

out of poverty.

0:49:310:49:33

But, from the farmers of West Bengal to the indigenous tribes of Orissa,

0:49:330:49:37

I have seen how modernisation can be a very brutal process.

0:49:370:49:42

For some, perhaps, too brutal.

0:49:430:49:46

At last, after three weeks on the road, I'm nearing Chennai.

0:49:590:50:02

This region is known as the Detroit of Asia

0:50:050:50:07

because of its booming car industry.

0:50:070:50:10

And it symbolises not just India's own growth,

0:50:100:50:12

but its position on the world stage.

0:50:120:50:16

Car manufacturers, from Ford to BMW, all have car plants here.

0:50:190:50:23

And many of India's half a million exports leave from Chennai's port.

0:50:230:50:30

The biggest exporter of all is Korean company Hyundai.

0:50:320:50:36

Its plant outside Chennai produces an astonishing 600,000 cars a year.

0:50:360:50:44

The man responsible for hundreds of workers is

0:50:520:50:55

plant manager Thatapillai Sarangarajan.

0:50:550:51:01

All these people who were essentially from a village,

0:51:010:51:09

now their children are going to the best schools in Chennai.

0:51:090:51:11

Go to their house, everyone has air conditioner, washing machine.

0:51:110:51:15

Car, do they have a car?

0:51:150:51:16

Car. Yes, some people, not all people.

0:51:160:51:19

'Workers here earn as much as 30 times what their parents could earn.'

0:51:190:51:25

How long has this gentleman worked here?

0:51:250:51:28

13 years.

0:51:280:51:29

I want to get a sense of how your life has changed.

0:51:290:51:32

Financially, he's better off. Family is stabilised.

0:51:320:51:36

He has got married, got a kid.

0:51:410:51:42

The £500 a month wage makes these workers well-off in India.

0:51:440:51:49

But, by western standards, that makes them cheap.

0:51:510:51:54

Hence the attraction for foreign companies like Hyundai.

0:51:540:51:57

From here, these Hyundai has go all over the world.

0:52:020:52:04

This one is for India.

0:52:040:52:06

This grey number is going to Israel.

0:52:060:52:07

And this one is for the United Kingdom.

0:52:070:52:10

Korean car, made in India, soon to be driven on the streets of the UK.

0:52:100:52:16

'At last, after some 1500 miles,

0:52:260:52:29

'I'm heading towards the beautiful beach front at Chennai.'

0:52:290:52:32

The final leg of the journey. I'm feeling a bit sentimental.

0:52:320:52:37

If that Ambassador has made it all the way around,

0:52:400:52:44

without any problems, I will be very surprised.

0:52:450:52:48

'Monsoons, a dodgy petrol gauge,

0:52:590:53:01

'and a long hike up the mountain to see the Dongria

0:53:010:53:04

'have put me way behind schedule.'

0:53:050:53:08

'I'm still miles from Anita in Chennai,

0:53:100:53:11

and my precious Amby is beginning to complain more and more frequently.'

0:53:110:53:17

'I think it may have had enough.'

0:53:170:53:19

We've got a few new problems with the poor old Ambassador

0:53:190:53:23

which is taking a battering on these roads.

0:53:230:53:26

Abbra, ??? what's wrong?

0:53:260:53:29

It is not locking.

0:53:290:53:29

So, it was swinging open and banging as we were driving along.

0:53:290:53:33

Not only that, Abbra ??? filled the car up this morning.

0:53:330:53:37

And the petrol cap seems to have bounced off.

0:53:370:53:40

So we've fashioned a fuse out of paper

0:53:400:53:42

to keep the petrol from coming out.

0:53:420:53:45

We'll have to sort that out pretty soon.

0:53:470:53:48

Ah, You've got it!

0:53:560:53:58

??? All right, let's go.

0:53:580:54:00

Let's go.

0:54:000:54:01

Whoo!

0:54:040:54:05

Jump in, jump in.

0:54:050:54:09

ENGINE STUTTERS

0:54:090:54:12

ENGINE ROARS

0:54:170:54:22

I've finally made it to the beach at Chennai

0:54:270:54:29

but there's no sign of Justin.

0:54:300:54:33

After three weeks of bouncing around India,

0:54:450:54:47

I'm keen to do just one more thing.

0:54:470:54:50

I think I should smarten myself up before I see Anita.

0:54:510:54:55

Can I have a shave, please?

0:54:560:55:00

On the surface, the India I've witnessed over the last three weeks

0:55:160:55:19

doesn't seem to have changed that much since the days of the Raj.

0:55:190:55:24

Amazingly, half the population, some 600 million people,

0:55:260:55:30

still live off the land.

0:55:300:55:32

The country is still crippled by poor infrastructure

0:55:340:55:38

and a chaotic political system.

0:55:380:55:40

But my journey has shown me that things are beginning to change.

0:55:400:55:45

Look at that, a proper Indian haircut.

0:55:510:55:54

I think Anita's going to be very impressed with me.

0:55:540:55:58

I can't believe you've made it.

0:56:190:56:22

Look at you. Hello.

0:56:220:56:23

Sorry, I'm a bit sweaty.

0:56:230:56:24

You're looking very Indian.

0:56:240:56:25

I had an Indian makeover to see you.

0:56:250:56:27

That hair. It's the oil.

0:56:270:56:28

Coconut oil.

0:56:280:56:29

Beautiful. Welcome to my world.

0:56:290:56:32

This is your world.

0:56:320:56:33

This is what I've been used to.

0:56:330:56:35

I've seen a very different India, I tell you. Really different.

0:56:350:56:38

But we made it. Rough and ready.

0:56:380:56:40

It's done it. I thought you'd turn up with doors hanging off.

0:56:400:56:43

Well, the doors are just about holding on. They're a bit broken.

0:56:430:56:46

It's fine. It's all right.

0:56:460:56:48

It's fine?

0:56:480:56:49

'Justin's poor old Ambassador is looking slightly worse for wear.'

0:56:490:56:53

'As for my Mahindra, it's made it without a hitch.'

0:56:540:56:59

They probably thought you were a Bollywood star.

0:56:590:57:01

Probably. Yeah, I did get a few offers in Bombay. Yeah, right!

0:57:010:57:06

Bollywood stars wouldn't bat an eyelid at this thing.

0:57:060:57:08

They're all too busy driving their Mercs and BMs.

0:57:080:57:10

BMWs is the car that they all want.

0:57:100:57:12

I've seen cycle rickshaws, bullock carts, donkeys.

0:57:130:57:18

I've seen a few of those on the motorway.

0:57:180:57:20

That is just causing catastrophe. And then they can't drive, Justin.

0:57:200:57:24

I know that's a big statement to make about a nation.

0:57:240:57:26

But India's can't drive!

0:57:260:57:31

What I'm going to take away from this trip is that

0:57:330:57:36

this is a really exciting place to be, and it's doing really well.

0:57:360:57:40

But, at the same time, it has serious problems that need to be looked at.

0:57:400:57:44

But it's changing, and there's hope.

0:57:440:57:46

And I'm really hopeful for India

0:57:460:57:48

and I'm very excited about being a British Indian.

0:57:480:57:51

I think I've got the best of both worlds, thank you very much!

0:57:510:57:53

There are just hundreds of millions of people in India

0:57:570:58:01

who basically live in abject poverty.

0:58:010:58:04

The big question is, how are those people going to be fed?

0:58:040:58:07

Also, what happens when they begin to be engaged in the Indian economy?

0:58:070:58:10

Think of the release of potential there'll be.

0:58:100:58:14

Think how this economy could grow if they begin to use their ingenuity

0:58:140:58:17

and skills to manufacture things.

0:58:170:58:20

This could be the biggest economy on Earth.

0:58:200:58:21

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:210:58:23

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:230:58:30

Justin Rowlatt and Anita Rani embark on an epic road trip around India to discover how a booming car industry is helping to fuel the country's massive economic growth.

Nearly two weeks into her journey in an Indian-made Mahindra 4x4, Anita has reached Mumbai, India's financial hub, and home to billionaires and Bollywood stars, as well as one of the world's biggest slums. As she continues on her discovery of modern India, Anita encounters some of the fastest and most dangerous roads in the country, Bangalore's night-life, and a rally champ who is on a personal mission to make India's drivers better and safer.

Meanwhile, Justin is nurturing his rusty Hindustan Ambassador along some far more bumpy roads as he meets rural farmers who are getting their first taste of motoring, sees the potential effects of fossil fuel use on one of the world's most precious and delicate ecosystems, and meets an ancient tribe, locked into a battle with industry over an aluminium-rich, sacred mountain.

The road-weary pair aim to meet up in the mega-port of Chennai to complete their journeys - if the cars make it that far.


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