What are some belief systems, philosophies, and/or ideologies that were mentioned in Behind the Beautiful Forevers?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two of the belief systems, philosophies, or ideologies that are mentioned in Behind the Beautiful Forevers concern wealth inequality (which is a large part of globalization) and resilience in the human condition.

One of the most dominant ideologies mentioned in Boo's work is the presence of wealth inequality.  Annawadi is situated near the airport.  It is a symbol of wealth inequality.  The wealthiest people in the world arrive and depart from the airport.  They do so near the poorest of people in the world. Exploring this philosophy is a significant part of Boo's focus:

What was unfolding in Mumbai was unfolding elsewhere, too. In the age of global market capitalism, hopes and grievances were narrowly conceived, which blunted a sense of common predicament....The gates of the rich, occasionally rattled, remained unbreached. The politicians held forth on the middle class. The poor took down one another, and the world's great, unequal cities soldiered on in relative peace.

One of the most dominant belief systems in the book concerns this wealth inequality, which is a part of globalization. Globalization is the idea that everyone around the world can find economic success. The result, however, has created an inequality of wealth where the very rich live side by side with the very poor.  

The challenge for the poor to try to bridge the economic divide is a part of the characters' lives. Manju's drive for education is for self-improvement and greater opportunity in a globalized world. Abdul struggles in the hopes of economic prosperity, an aspiration in line with globalization. The struggle is real for the book's characters. When Mirchi says, "Everything around us is roses... and we're the [dung] in between," he is articulating how globalization has created a world of hopes that crash into economic reality. Stories of success and failure are the result of this collision. Exploring this belief system is a significant part of Boo's work.

Boo's work focuses on the strength of the human spirit. This is a significant belief system. As the embodiment of poverty, Annawadi overlooks a wealthy world. It is a "a stretch where new India and old India collided and made new India late."  The people who live in Annawadi must wake up each morning with financial struggle and a daily fight for survival.  However, in hearing about their trials, Boo introduces the philosophy that human beings must experience struggle in the hopes of overcoming them.  

There is a spirit of resiliency, of being able to endure, that defines many of the characters in the narrative. In the struggle to survive, Boo affirms that part of what it means to be human is to confront difficulties and find paths to navigate them. The people of Annawadi are condemned to a life that no one should have to live. However, in telling their stories, Boo advocates a philosophy of life that sees endurance and struggle as a necessary part of being in the world. It is a belief system that demands human beings actively confront struggle. In some cases, it is by merely living through it.

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