INDIA: 600 million people without power for 2nd day

Are you ready?  Have you made any preparations for a power outage, short or long term?

People think disasters won’t happen to them… until they do.

From FNC:

Half of India without power after grids fail for second day

NEW DELHI – India’s energy crisis spread over half the country Tuesday when both its eastern and northern electricity grids collapsed, leaving 600 million people without power in one of the world’s biggest-ever blackouts.

The power failure has raised serious concerns about India’s outdated infrastructure and the government’s inability to meet an insatiable appetite for energy as the country aspires to become a regional economic superpower.

The outage in the eastern grid came just a day after India’s northern power grid collapsed for several hours. Indian officials managed to restore power several hours later, but at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday the northern grid collapsed again, said Shailendre Dubey, an official at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp. in India’s largest state. About the same time, the eastern grid failed as well, said S.K. Mohanty, a power official in the eastern state of Orissa. The two grids serve about half India’s population.

Traffic lights went out across New Delhi. The city’s Metro rail system, which serves about 1.8 million people a day, immediately shut down for the second day in a row. Police said they managed to evacuate Delhi’s busy Barakhamba Road station in under half an hour before closing the shutters.

S.K. Jain, 54, said he was on his way to file his income tax return when the Metro closed and now would almost certainly miss the deadline.

The new power failure affected people across 13 states — more than the entire population of the European Union. They raised concerns about India’s outdated infrastructure and its insatiable appetite for energy that the government has been unable to meet.

India’s demand for electricity has soared along with its economy in recent years, but utilities have been unable to meet the growing needs. India’s Central Electricity Authority reported power deficits of more than 8 percent in recent months.

The power deficit was worsened by a weak monsoon that lowered hydroelectric generation and kept temperatures higher, further increasing electricity usage as people seek to cool off.

But any connection to the grid remains a luxury for many. One-third of India’s households do not even have electricity to power a light bulb, according to last year’s census.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    We have had high temperatures in England without air conditioning for most people. I cannot imagine how this feels in India when people are trying to work. God have mercy. Americans are way to complacent about the future. And, China is not involved in energy sources which used to be under agreements between America and China.

  2. Jim says:

    Lack of electricity for two days is hardly India’s problem. Material poverty is hardly India’s problem. Being a “developing nation” is hardly India’s problem. India is starving for the One True God and the One True Faith.

    India has had Catholics continuously for 2000 years now and yet Catholics form less than 2% overall. Of these, in the post 1980s generation I am willing to bet that less than 20% are anything but cultural Catholics. Almost no one after the 1980s has had any form of catechesis other than a mixture of Modernism, Hinduism and “Social Justice” Catholicism, mixed to the extent that most of us do not know what is what. Almost all of these (the post 80s catholics) would say that “Catholicism is just one of the paths to God.”. How do I know? I was one of them.

    Servant of God Fr. John Hardon used to say that the reason why we are still at 2% is because we have not had enough martyrs. How true!

    Please Pray for the people in India.

  3. Jim says:


    ” I am willing to bet that less than 20% are anything but cultural Catholics.”

    should read:

    ” I am willing to bet that more than 20% are anything but cultural Catholics.”

  4. acardnal says:


  5. Johnno says:

    India is rife with corruption at the top and throughout government where much of it is openly paraded. The country has money to solve many of its problems, but instead they fill the coffers of private individuals. It’s a complex and complicated country. There are no easy solutions as one of the largest problems is the mindset of its people. There are amazingly horrible people there but also amazingly good people there… It’s a shame, but the only way to solve India’s problems would be some kind of drastic restructuring which would require a miracle.

  6. Johnno says:


    I can speak form my own experience that the situation of the quality of Catholics in India is far better than you’d imagine. The mass majority are practicing Catholics, which while may not be so thoroughly knowledgeable about theology, adhere to the Church’s teachings. Of course there are the more heretical liberal ones, but they are the minority. The priests and bishops there fight hard and teach the faith strongly and thoroughly have to deal with both anti-proselytizer laws alongside also fighting off the Protestant leeches who like to pick fish from the Peter’s net rather than going out to sea to fish for themselves. There are even a good number of undercover Catholics who secretly follow the faith, but must pretend to remain Hindu or Muslim for obvious reasons to protect themselves, their families and their financial interests, usually all 3 together.

    The country will grow more modernist however because it is the Hindus who do not practice their faith and are becoming more secular from ideologies imported from American and the UK. So inevitably one way or another the Catholics are in for a fight on all fronts. Extremists Hindus on one side, liberal Hindus on the other, Protestants at the back door, Muslims on the other hand, and of course The United States and the U.N. are also a culprits for pushing homosexuality, abortion and contraception policies in India to reduce its population.

    Another issue to a lesser degree is of course, intermarriage… always a bad idea, unless you personally never cared about your faith in the first place…

  7. Jim says:

    I do not speak from “experiencing Indian Catholicism” but rather than from being one. I am an Catholic Indian (in that order). I was born into an Indian Catholic family in India, grew up surrounded by Catholics, went to one of the best “Catholic” schools in India, studied and worked there.

    About 10% of my Catholic school classmates still go to Holy Mass (and almost all of them belong to one of the two Eastern Catholic Rites in India). These are some of the “best” catechised Indian Catholics of the last 30 years. Not a single one of these or anyone in my extended Catholic family believes contraception is a mortal sin. Does that give an idea ?

    Walk into any Catholic book store and take a look at the books you’ll find there. You will almost never see a copy of the Catechism there. But you will find every single “social justice”, “liberation theology”, “Christian Kundalini Yoga”, “Christian Tao” ever written in almost all of them. Does that give an idea ?

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Well, as far as I can tell, there are plenty of martyrs in India. Raped and martyred, burned to death and martyred, beaten to death and martyred… it’s not like there’s a martyr shortage, especially if you’re someone whose family used to count as an Untouchable, and now you dare to convert to Christianity and live like a free human being in a rural area or an area full of fanatical Hindu or other religious types.

    So basically what you’re saying is that there’s not enough urban/suburban rich and middle-class Christian Indians, of families which used to count as high caste, because those are the people you know and they’re not getting slaughtered like the poor folks are.

    Um. Yeah. “Thank God I am not as these publicans are.”

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sorry to get so snappish. I realize that India is big and old, between one area of India and another are countless differences of language and culture, especially since they used to be all different countries and kingdoms. So people are lukewarm in one area, and dying for the faith in another, and seldom the twain shall meet.

    I’m sure all the BS catechizing is very frustrating for you. A lot of this junk happened at a lot of US Catholic schools too, so we sympathize.

  10. fvhale says:

    The number of people affected by the power outage in northern India, est. 620 million, is greater than the entire population of North America (Canada to Panama, and the Carribean). Wow.

  11. Johnno says:


    I too am a born and raised Catholic from India. From Mumbai specifically. Attended St. Stanislaus High School, before immigrating to Canada. I cannot tell you the exact percentage, but perhaps you may be right in that even if it’s a small percentage, out of a big population, there are still a good number of faithful Catholics, far more than can be said for Canada, and the Churches there are very lively, and the majority of priests very good. There is adoration, Eucharistic processions where they are allowed by the government, demonstrations, large gatherings, etc. etc. It is a far cry from the state of Catholicism in the West. Which is not me saying everything is hunky dory and it will never fall to the level of the West, but there is still reason for optimism, something I can’t at all say about Canada or America, and that’s primarily because of the quality of the priests and bishops there. But of course I’m only speaking anecdotally. I suppose I’ve been blessed to have been raised by both sides of a family who are orthodox and pray the rosary practically everyday since childhood. They don’t have all the moral theology down, but are inclined to proper instruction and accepting their faith, even those things deemed difficult.

    As per contraception, as I said, many Catholics may not grasp the full theology, but they are faithful and I find willing to be instructed correctly. For example my parents held some mistaken ideas about contraception and masturbation, apparently because they were informed incorrectly by a priest who did not tell them the proper morality instead leaving it to their ‘consciences’, of course this was from years prior to my even being born, I suspect the same issues that plagued the Church following Vatican II worldwide where widespread confusion resulted. But by and large people do want to be corrected and instructed and a good effort is underway to correct the problems. Apologetics are strongly pushed. The Church there is not out of the woods yet, there are still thorns and tares amongst the wheat.

  12. oakdiocesegirl says:

    And This is the country to which American corporations [cable TV, internet providers, credit cards] outsource their technical advice 800 numbers!
    Like the ads say :”Smart. Really Smart!”[not]
    Not to mention send barges of waste they can’t dispose of any other way.

  13. Jim says:

    I am from Kottayam, Kerala – the traditional Catholic stronghold of the south. About contraception and abortion among Catholics in India, check out the following series of reports done by LifeSite News in 2006, I wish I could say they were wrong, but they aren’t:

    I agree the Church in India is not probably in the woods yet (there is a joke in India that the fact that the Church has not completely disappeared in India is one of the proofs for G_d’s existence :-)), but we are probably just a generation behind the west, before we actually get there. Of course there are really good Catholics, but they are few and far between. In India Sunday Mass attendance is not an indicator of how string the faith is, like it is in the west. Like you said, most people do not know the basics of the faith. How can someone love the faith and stay strong in the faith if they do not know the faith ? Agree, we do not need an STB or an STD to be Catholics, but shouldnt we at least know the very bare minimum as to why we should be Catholic rather than Hindu or Muslim or Jain ? We cannot love what we do not know correct ? All it takes is a modernist atheist or a pentecostal pastor’s lie and entire families fall away.

    There are a lot of people who make it to mass every Sunday but who have no clue that contraception or abortion or any other deviant sexual behavior are mortal sins (thanks a lot to the government’s population control propaganda). Contraception is the only brick that has to fall before everything else is decimated – and that has already happened.

  14. Father I’m surprised and shocked! Usually in TEOTWAWKI or disaster situations, you pitch your favorite monk-made Coffee at us, and it is nowhere to be found! That in itself is a sign of the end of the world O.O

  15. gracie says:

    After losing electricity for 8 days last October I installed a generator hooked up to my natural gas line. I should be fine until the natural gas line gets hijacked. (Just kidding, I hope.)

  16. tioedong says:

    I suspect most middle class folks in India have their own generators, just like we do in the Philippines. And I am taking bets they will find a hacker is behind the problem.

    As for the state of the church in India: I don’t know, but please pray for us in the Philippines, where the president here is being pressured by the US state department to pass an “Reproductive health” bill that is opposed by the bishops (and the Muslims, and some protstants).

    The main problem here is that the church has the old rich families and the poor, so often the bishops echo the elites of Manila. For example, they are pushing “green” ideas, without seeing that industry could provide jobs and GM food could feed the poor…and some stand for photo ops with politicians who gave them money (and who everyone know are corrupt).

    So the middle class go to protestant churches, which are strict at teaching morality and enable them to meet others in the middle class who are fighting to change society from being feudal to modern.

    But we do have adoration here in the provinces, and many families say the rosary together, so there is hope.

  17. SoliDeogloria says:

    In some parts of India, such as Bangalore (which is in the South), power cuts are an almost daily occurrence, so many people have battery backup systems or generators. I wonder whether this is also true in the North and whether some people have alternative power sources so they can have backup power for at least some time. When I was visiting my fiancee in Bangalore in March, we were attending a marriage preparation course and the power went out for several hours. Fortunately there was a generator to at least run the fans. The heat would have been unbearable otherwise. Having experienced that, I cannot imagine what it would be like for people in very warm parts of India who have no power at all to run fans or air conditioning!

    Johnno and Jim: great comments!

    My fiancee is a Mangalorean Catholic. When she was growing up, she received mediocre catechesis, so as a result she was a more lukewarm Catholic. As an adult, she was introduced to the Heralds of the Gospel, a very orthodox Catholic apostolate, who explained the Faith to her much more clearly than she had had it explained to her in the past. Through their help, she became a much stronger Catholic. With groups such as the Heralds, there is hope that at least some people will learn about their Faith and come to love it even more.

  18. NescioQuid says:

    Interesting comments Johnno, Jim. Speaking as someone who went to a Convent boarding school in India for two years when I was very young, I distinctly remember the nuns leaving a strong impression on me. The spiritual temperature was high. Then I returned to the UK (where I was born and mostly raised) and went to a Catholic school run by lay people, and the spiritual temperature was virtually non-existent. So I think it depends on where the Catholic education is received. There are so many Catholic schools in India. Many middle-class Indian parents choose to send their kids to Catholic schools regardless of their own faith simply because these schools have a reputation for high educational standards. What the kids receive there by way of religious instruction, I’m not sure. However I can tell you that I have several friends who are ‘sympathetic’ to (though not persuaded of) Catholicism simply because they went to Catholic schools. Many of my Indian Catholic relatives go to mass on Sunday without fail (which is a plus on the situation in the West), but their ideas on contraception etc are probably not in sync with the Church, and no doubt they think nothing of it.

    Going back to the power issue, India seriously needs to work on renewable energy, harnessing solar and hydro power potential. In much of India, power cuts are a daily phenomenon. Well-t0-do households almost certainly have a back up generator. Hotels always have a back-up generator. In this latest debacle, there were accusations levelled of some Indian states consuming excessive power and stealing from other states. Even within a state, I have seen how power from rural areas can be redirected to urban areas if a VIP or affluent wedding is taking place. The wedding is populated by bulbs galore, and the rural areas are shrouded in darkness while the wedding celebrations take place.

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