Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Proud of what?

This post is in lieu of comments that I intended to pass elsewhere.

When we talk about our country; there are two types of viewpoints that originate.

1. Bash India. Crib and crib
2. Go gaga over what all has been achieved; however irrelevant that might be.

Let me give some examples.

Sunita Williams is an American. She is married to an American. Her father is from India and mother from Slovenia. She is not even an Indian origin; she is just half-Indian origin. We took so much pride in her achievement. How did India contribute to her success? Did India provide her any sort of help to achieve? How was it ever part of her life except for the fact that her dad was from India who migrated to the States long ago. Why do we own and celebrate someone else's achievement as ours?

Lets take Bobby Jindal. He made it very clear that he does not belong to or relate to India in any way. He showed his loyalty to his motherland(USA) when he spoke against outsourcing of jobs. He even mangled his own brother's Indian name during an acceptance speech. But we in this country took pride when he was elected the governor of Louisiana.

What are we proud of? What does Bobby Jindal stand for with respect to India. Our pride is so misplaced.

Now few folks out there are going to call me unpatriotic. But is this patriotism? 

Let me digress from these lines a bit. We as a nation have a funny idea about achievement.  Should we be proud of McDonalds having arrived in India? Is that a sign of progress? If so, is Pakistan a successful nation as well?

We cannot tolerate if someone give us a piece of our own reality. Our traffic? Our roads? Electricity? Public transport? Public rest room facility? Policies? Regulations? Our country still follows reservation based on religion and caste. Have we thought about making reservations for physically challenged? In buildings? On buses? On trains? Do we value life? Have we thought about their inconvenience and made facilities?

These are not material comforts or luxuries; but bare necessities. When would these problems be addressed? India is global, attractive for investments and blah..blah..blah...

An average Indian works hard to earn his living and all he dreams is a good life. How many of us enjoy good life even after doing our duties? A commute to home and office is a struggle; getting a work done from a government office is a struggle.

We take pride in all those hypothetical number of people working in NASA or the number of people working in Microsoft and talk at lengths about the global Indian diaspora. Thats individual success story. What about the country? Do we need to be proud that a branded jeans cost Rs.3000? You can get a stomach filling apple pie for $0.55 in USA, what can you get for a rupee in India? I am not comparing dollar and rupee but just giving an idea of the purchasing power. $0.55 is minuscule if you take an hourly wage of $10 on an average for a maid or housekeeping cleaner.

We are reeling under inflation. How many people here can happily fill their tummy 3 times a day? Go to a Subway and order a Veg sandwich. You have to shell out Rs 80. How many Indians struggle to even earn half of Rs 80 each day.

One can always point out the better infrastructure, better connectivity and better standard of living. One could always say; all is not bad; we have improved. I would say; if not even this; what is the use of being called one of the oldest and greatest civilization of the world?

Nepotism in politics, bribery, corruption, red tape, money laundering, inequality at all levels.....................................I can go on. 

Do you enjoy a decent standard of living?

Is your life valued?

Why do so many people still dream to migrate to the West even when our country is performing good economically?

If someone talks the truth; lets not brand them unpatriotic just because you are a nationalist. Also dont mistake your nationalism for patriotism :-)


  1. a hard hitting, thought provoking and straight from the heart post..I agree with each word and I don't brand you unpatriotic..I feel the same thing..I hate certain things about India - like corruption, politicians, false promises, attitude, discrimination and such.and I love a few things - people, warmth, attitude (yes, there are all kind of people here right?), traditions and cultures. But I believe in calling spade a spade and will continue to do so. you have said it all I would have said too.

    great post!

  2. I got to hand it to you. As usual, super post. I loved the last sentence. Also, lot of people think they are patriots when they are nationalists. If you love your brother (who is in jail for murder) for what he is, it is equivalent to patriotism. If you start fighting with anyone who asks how is your brother, it is equivalent to natonalism.

    Don't want to say anything more. Otherwise, some nationlists will start calling you NRA (Non Residnt American).

  3. hey,

    these points tend to appear in my heart every time someone utters "India is greatest country of all, and we are proud of it."
    but didn't found out the write feelings to pour it down somewhere,

    I thought and thought over again to all those points mentioned above like poverty,public transport,corruption,....and then put a num to them as the only thing I can do is to criticize and blame the system for it.

    its easy to sit back and write all these but what do we all actually do to stop them or even improve them (at the first place)????
    don't get me wrong (I know nothing about you as an your personal life, you might be contributing in some form ) but these are my feelings to every one who criticizes our country or its system.

    as a matter of fact I too belong to same category,but the fact that I am depended shortens my dreams to some extend. (as a student)

    I believe our country is not at greatest(not even close to that) and I am not proud of it. but yes we can make it better. :)

    { chota buh bari baat ,please excuse this fellow if anything extra was spelled out. :) }

  4. Happy Diwali, Insignia, Wish I knew your name.

    Travelling, so shall read the post later.

  5. Neha,

    Thank you. Its nice to know that you agree with me. But let me see what is in store ;-)

  6. SG,

    Thank you. Glad you liked it. Haha super analogy for patriotism and nationalism.

    NRA? Me?? Awww...:-P

  7. B, watch out, you are going to receive truckloads of Hate messages. You have said the things that some of us have been saying here and elsewhere, from a fresh, youthful perspective. The instances of Indian 'patriotism' that you listed can go on and on. The pity is that the so-called 'educated Indians', the so-called 'English -speaking Indians' (you can find many of them in this blogosphere) either are ignorant or like the proverbial milk-drinking cat.

    And when a celebrity or well-known Indian like Arundhati Roy speaks out, these people spew venom. Their reaction is not based on what she says but on what she is. And truth is bitter to taste.

    I am so happy that you took up the cudgels. I only hope that people of your generation and background will wipe the fog of make-belief from their glasses and look truth in the eye, as you have. Kudos, mon ami!

  8. Anurag,

    Thanks for putting your views straight forward.

    I am not blaming anything here. I am just mentioning about how we have misplaced ideas about pride, patriotism and nationalism.

    Do we do anything to bring about change? I cant speak for others.

    But I do my best in every way possible - by not bribing,by paying tax, my following rules and regulations.....

    Why do you think being dependent stops you from doing something for your country? You need not do only monetary help. You can do your bit to the society in lot of ways.
    You are a student, offer free tutions to poor kids, educate people in slums.......

    Thanks again.

  9. chitra,

    Happy Diwali to you too. My name? You will know soon :-)

  10. Such a reaction .............
    quite agree with you.
    The point that why people want to go to west.Even Our country is growing, our economy is boosting. So much opportunities here. One of my college mate who is also working with me once stated that he wants to shift to America after 2years. I had asked why?
    He says Better life.
    I want to write a bigger comment on your post and I think Iill become a blog post.
    But still the point you have raised Why you celebrate success of others who do not belongs to us anymore,Who don't care about Us.
    Whom success doesn't add a single penny in growth of country.
    And no one interested in it. Our corrupt politician enjoying it and we are just following them.
    Keep Writing, will read More

  11. Bala,

    :-) Ha ha. There rings the bell. I am waiting for some hate mails now.

    What peeves me further is when we celebrate few 'stupid' success so shamelessly.

    Why dont we realize a real success and a real progress is when people are happy; when people enjoy living?

    These were just a gist, as you mentioned; we can go on and on.

    And when someone speaks the truth; just call them unpatriotic.

    I truly believe that we are success as a country only when each and every citizen here has a decent standard of living.

  12. Vijay,

    Welcome to B Log. Thanks for your views.
    True; I have so many friends who are in US; not for the money or for the brand America.
    But for the simple fact that they are able to enjoy better standard of living and they are made to feel worthy.

    You are welcome to write as big a comment as you want :-) The space is all yours.

    We take a false sense of pride and bask in the glory of other's success. Such a shame!

    Thanks again, keep visiting.

  13. Really true, the latest example being the common wealth games.At one point we were so shameful for the corruption and the foreign media bashing of the entire thing and the next moment when when they games were over we went all gaga over it.

  14. Applause! Applause!! A thought-provoking post!! It's time to accept things and remove the glasses of hypocrisy!

  15. neha,

    Oh yeah the CWG!! Thats was India's drama for the world to see. And once it was over; everyone took pride! They forgot the scams and the shames.

  16. Shilpa,

    Thank you. Glad you agree with me. We need to look the facts.

  17. excellent article
    i agree with you
    now one Indian origin lady is elected as governor in USA and here Indian media is happy for that.
    Happy Diwali

  18. that reminds of the mail you too must have received giving the % of indians wrking in NASA, % of indian doctors in US ... the comparison is always with US ... hard hitting post... well penned

  19. Love the post. You hit many points that are so very true.
    As someone said earlier, you MIGHT get some “hate” mail but you will not get any “DENY” mail.
    People may “hate” what you said, but no one will DENY the facts you stated…especially about the lack of bare necessities (electricity, roads, traffic, water, etc).

    Oh by the way, I never knew that India was proud of my accomplishments.
    Now I’ll have to reconsider my stance on outsourcing jobs.
    In addition to that, I think that I’ll start using the name given to me at birth.
    The only problem is that I don’t know how to pronounce my legal name.

    Piyush Subhas Chandra Amrit Jindal…aka BOBBY
    In 6 years, just call me Mr. Vice-President.

  20. uve done it just too well..
    we are not developed..leave alone developing...even yesterday OBAMA"s visit created much flak. The CWG scam is buried without a trace now..when we actually had our own people waiting to spoil the success of the games..
    our country need terrible whip lash on thier back's..may be that would be of some help..

    oh yeah,inia deepaavali nalvaazthukkal...:)

  21. Rajlakshmi,

    Oh yeah I received that mail the very first time when I was in my 10th grade - thats 11 years ago :-P

    Thank you.

  22. Mr Future Vice-President a.k.a Bobby Jindal,

    I am honored to have received your comments on my blog page.

    We in India are so proud of your achievements. We really are!

    Our media gives you so much importance and coverage; probably more than your home USA.

    You should visit India; your people and your long lost brothers and sisters.

    All the very best Mr.vice-President to-be.

  23. Madhu,

    Thanks. Yeah well said. Nt our country; but its our people who need whiplashes for sure!

    Ungalukkum iniya deepavalai nalvazthukkal. :-)

  24. Anonymous,

    Thank you. Yeah I guess my post came at the right time. Our media has forgotten 12 other Indian-origins who lost there,
    But they will celebrate Nikki Haley as someone who walked through the slums of Dharavi and worked among us!

    Happy Diwali to you too. Wish I could call you by a name instead of Anonymous :-)

  25. They even put Sunita williams and Kalpana Chawla as Indian woman astronauts in the GK books. I hope the schools were better informed on nationalities.

    As for 1$ apple pie, don't know whether it really fills.... Some Indian states give a kg of rice at Rs 2/- through PDS. And we can get a shirt at Rs 45/- here but not anywhere else in the world. It just depends on what yardstick we use to measure.

  26. Holy Lama,

    Oh really! Thats news. Sad that we are misleading the future generations as well.

    The $0.55 apple pie fills you. It fills me certainly. As I mentioned; I am not comparing dollar and rupee here but just the purchasing power. Do you know that there are stores called as "One dollar store". You can get possibly everything for $1 - shirts, trousers, pillows, name it and they are there.

    Now again; what do we get for 1 Re in India?

  27. No one in their right mind would write a hate message because what you've stated are just plain truths. Loving one's country is one thing and being proud of it is another. We as a nation are fickle - minded. We take cricket very seriously, take great pride in what US says about us and forget things very easily. I don't think a common man has got anything to be proud of. There's so much more to do that we should shun petty issues and focus on real work. Also I believe everyone is capable of doing their bit if they are so passionate about our country. We only complain and expect others to do things for us. We must change our attitude first and not misplace meaningless nationalism and hollow patriotism as you rightly pointed out.

    PS: excuse my long comment. Was away for a long time so trying to make up with more words :)

  28. You said it! We had discusions on similar issues many times.If you want to see roads to hell,come to Kerala.Every year hundreds die falling in to the portholes in the roads here.But we have the satellite research centre here,at Trivandrum and they are planning a mission to Moon again,decades after others have done it.There is no money to make roads, electricity comes and goes as and when it chooses.Yesterday I went to the air port to receive a relative and I was ashamed at the plight of the foreign tourists who landed.No where else in world will you see such a dirty air port.It took almost three hours for him to come out after landing.I can go on and on.
    The only thing which has no value here is human life.There are contract killers here who take lives for as low as ten thousand rupees.
    Even today I read of the achivement of some "Indians" in the US.As you said,it is meaningless.They dont care about India,and we dont need them back as well.
    We have this tendency to brag. When we had nothing to offer to the world,we bragged that we are the people who taught value of zero to the world!

  29. ajay,

    Thanks. Well said. We celebrate silly things and forget serious things that needs to be fixed.
    I so agree with you :-)

  30. dr.anthony,

    Exactly!! Thats the point. Cater to common man needs and then think about the moon and the stars!
    Value for life? Human or animals? A big NO.

    Killed after a bus ran over, murder, death because of falling into an open many...

    Its a mistake to even call them "Indians". All they have is a part Indian name. Now they change that as well.
    I loved your last statement. We bragged we taught the value of "zero" to the world!!

    Hahahaha thats so sarcastic!

  31. Wow! Very well said!

    I don’t know if we can blame the media for all this – ‘cause the media only turns out what we people want to see/ hear, and the media just wants to stay in business!

    I once remember having read in the newspaper about an Indian origin guy who was inducted into the US army and was being deputed to Iraq! The column didn’t stop at just that – it spoke about his bravery and all that crap!

    And staying with patriotism – you’re considered unpatriotic if you are not a fan of the Indian cricket team too!

  32. another post about the famous slave mentality..nice read

  33. Does the one dollar store have fresh merchandise or used ones? I f fresh, I must say, I'm impressed.:)

  34. Very very true. People like hiding behind pretensions.

  35. Nice article. But I can't stop thinking what are you DOING to fix Our traffic? Our roads? Electricity? Public transport? Public rest room facility? Policies? Regulations?


  36. Insignia,

    You are very patriotic and it is good to be patriotic. Looking inwards and trying to analyze the issues is good.

    Your post has valid points.

    Agreed on all points.

    Problem starts when people compare India with other countries and I think that is NOT FAIR...I may also have done though

  37. Even I don't get the point. Why should Sunita Williams occupy the front page of our newspapers? And this thing is even regional. Our Malayalam dailies here, go wild with joy when Robin Uthappa (half-malayalee) hits a century.

    And about the state of affairs in our country, a lot has been done and a lot is yet to be done. We should not be proud of our pitfalls but at the same time we must also appreciate our achievements.

  38. Ashwin,

    Thank you. Nope the media has some ethical responsibility which they dont follow obviously due to the rat race.
    Anything for TRP. Yeah, hahaha I dare not talk anything about Indian cricket team, they will kick me out of India :-P

  39. Makk,

    As I mentioned few comments elsewhere prompted me to write this

  40. Holy Lama,

    Fresh? If you meant are they unused? Yes they are. But there are other criteria as to how they can actually sell for $1.
    If you would want to know how; just google online and you would find the answer. :-)

  41. Aditya,

    :-) Yeah and they like it that way.

  42. TD,

    Welcome to B Log. Thanks.

    I am a responsible person and if I have written about it, I am definitely aware of whats happening around me.
    I also know how I could help and have been doing my bit.

    But I cannot do anything as an individual. Would you mind joining me please?

    :-) Thanks

  43. A,

    Thanks. I understand what you are referring to when you mention about comparing.

    I am not comparing; this is an answer to a series of comments that were passed elsewhere as I mentioned in the first line itself.

    I hate comparison; to prove let me point you to one of my posts that I wrote long time ago.

  44. Destiny's child,

    Yeah taking false pride :-) Thats what is not right.
    We should definitely celebrate out achievements but not sit back relaxed thinking we have achieved a lot.

  45. Insignia, Thank you. :)
    I firmly believe in saying-

    "Your goodness should have an edge- else it's nothing". So could you tell me what exactly you suppose to do?

  46. TD,

    I believe you are a responsible person who would know your duties and responsibilities towards our country. I dont think I have to teach you what it is. Perform that; its sufficient.

    If you do not know; I am sorry. Then I suggest you to read our Constitution.

  47. My friend be alert and beware. You may be ambushed or even pounced upon direct.

    I applaud your idea of bringing this topic out again. Discussions have happened before and the "PATRIOTIC" Indians have been very angered at the insolent comments such as you made. How dare !!
    Sunita Williams may not even have heard about India. Ha .
    However the latest figures released by the UNDIP tells that sub Saharan Africa is better placed in human development index than many parts of Bihar and Orissa.So let us move on .

  48. anil,

    :-) Yup!! I expected that as well.

    Exactly! I read some related reports as well. Parts of sub saharan africa has better development index! Anyway lets move on :-)

  49. TD,

    Typical of what? Have you read my earlier posts? How much do you know me that you can come to a conclusion about me?

  50. TD, a first timer on someone's blog and you get judgmental too? hmmm, that's pretty surprising! oh you needed spoon fed information of our moral duties you ain't aware of? that's why you calling her response "typical"?

    next time, please see the kind of person the blogger is and then enter into an argument with him/her! you cannot pass such a statement about anybody on his/her space. at least respect that the blogger is the owner here :)

  51. Insignia,
    When I asked you- "So could you tell me what exactly you suppose to do?", I really assumed you're doing (or at least planning to do) something really worth. And that was response to your "But I cannot do anything as an individual. Would you mind joining me please?".
    And I seriously thought of contributing my part, in any way possible from my end.
    I'm still at loss to understand to what made you to take umbrage at my words. Instead of some specific answer, I got a suggestion to read constitution, which made me to think that perhaps running into circular arguments is typical of us Indians.

    It's funny, actually. I haven't read all of your posts. I just took your one line seriously.

    Neha, I don't pass statements about any individual. It doesn't matter who "owns" blog- me or someone else. I just speak what I see as truth.

    If you people still think I'm here for circular arguments that yield no meaningful result, I rest my case.


  52. oh ok, then I misunderstood that "typical" was for Insignia and you just spoke the truth..about who/what exactly if I may ask :)

    I do not see a typical Indian mentality in her post or her views at all..she suggested you to do something which is pretty basic..everywhere and every time "out of box" or "different thinking" does not work! first we need to start with basics. most of the people do not even know what our fundamental rights and duties are. first we need to learn them and follow of the things will be in india, we will have to follow the "typical indian" rules :)

  53. Mr.TD,

    Your very first comment was umbrageous. Your "But I can't stop thinking what are you DOING to fix Our traffic? Our roads? Electricity? Public transport? Public rest room facility? Policies? Regulations?" seemed to be a mockery. Let me point out that you probably are visiting this space for the first time. You do not know me as a blogger, or as a person but ended up judging me on your very first visit here.

    I do my bit for my country, I contribute for the betterment of our roads, our traffic, our public transport in my own way possible. I am not a person to flaunt what I do. I dont definitely have to tell YOU what I am doing(or at least planning to do) something really worth.

    Circular arguments typical of us Indians? Aah boy! Ok let me clear it off right away. I am not running any NGO or some mass 'fix India' movement. As a dutiful citizen, I am doing my bit by not jaywalking, not jumping signals, not littering in public places, not jostling and pushing around, by turning off electricity when not needed, by taking that small step to turn off that overflowing public tap, by paying my tax, by offering free tuition to neighboring kids, by volunteering .......these simple and basic things would help have a giant leap forward.

    So sir, now you know what you are supposed to do.

    No offense :-) Thanks so much for offering to help. I really appreciate your concern for a better India.

  54. Happy Diwali.



  55. Happy Diwali to you as well. Have a prosperous year ahead.


  56. In addition to the list of things you mentioned a dutiful citizen can do, i want to add one, especially for men. Please do not urinate in public.

  57. ohh miss insignia...wat!!! for me d word origianl is doomed to b widin quotes as "original" evry litte topic dat i had in mind 2 write abt ...u hav alrdy inked...but srsly ...anoder piece abt which i must say...too true

  58. Rupam,

    I am glad :) What I say however similar the thoughts could be; the way its going to be presented would definitely be unique. You need to start jotting them down :)

  59. 10 on 10 Insignia! You just echoed most of our thoughts!


  60. :-) Thanks Shalini. I am glad you think the same.


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!