Wednesday, July 25, 2012

India - A Paradox

It is not that I don't have anything to write. But these are days when you start to write two lines and then you think you are giving too much of importance to a thing and erase it off.

I was contemplating for few days on writing about the two episodes of Oprah's Next Chapter. This is a 2 part episode that was telecast last week on TLC. Well, my first reaction was "Another American stereotyping India" I don't mean to be harsh; in fact I thought Oprah was an intelligent lady. Sad! 


She visited a 10x10 feet house in a slum and asked insensitive questions to the kids. "Dont you feel cramped?" She visited a filthy rich house and was offered Indian thali and exclaimed "You STILL eat with your hand!" And more insanity as this. 

Anyway, I don't intend to write on it and start off a flurry of views which I think I already can guess. But her conclusive statement was "India is a paradox"  Quite a true statement I must say after all those nonsensical tryst. So is India a paradox? We are a land of billion plus people from all walks of life. Few countries would hold as much promise as India holds for its people. At the same time, few would face the enormous challenges as India's. 

The country was/is seen as a cushion to deteriorating to world economy along with China. We know the state of it internally, price raise, inflation, red tapes, corruption....At one side we show a glamorous India Shining whereas the other side we have the ever gloomy problems. Can this economic growth keep up with the ever growing demands?

Paradox it is in many other ways. We are confused whether to embrace and be proud of our culture or to ape the West. Thinking about it; I don't think we have any other geography of people who have been as contradictory as us. Some one would not like a political party biased on religion but wont allow his own child an inter-religion marriage. You can preach as long as you don't have to participate in washing off the dirt. It is that way at all levels from individual to the nation.

 It is chaotic and yet in harmony. It's a mess and yet its a smooth sail. How long?

27 comments:

  1. Welcome to the land of heterogeneous aberrations:)

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  2. It happens only in India.. :D

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  4. Whoever Oprah is,or anybody in US is,the fact is even the intellectuals from that part of the world are partly clipped and isolated.Blame the way they operate.Blame the political parties that operate and educate the mass.They won't agree.But Can this very same detail the way an average American see the world ? Do more than 5 % of this so called "world power" has traveled outside the country ? What is the percentage of higher education ? What about rational thinking ? You know Insi,once while I was talking with a teacher in US,he suddenly asked me "You are from South India ? Where is that ? And how can you speak in English ?" Six years ago one youngster told me the reason why he didn't go to university.When he had to select between cooking and gas with education,he dropped later.
    Insi,a country which is in direct and indirect war every year after it's independence - talking about human rights,self imposing as the guardian of world peace-Is this paradox or what ?
    Cheers to whatever you have come up with.
    The paradox that we are,we know better.Yes we do.And as a country only we can understand it the way it is.That's the truth and irony.

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    1. Melange,

      Like your comments. Yes, thats one thing I fail to understand. Big boss and protector of the world while there is problem in their own backyard. Paradox it is!

      Talking about the level of ignorance :) You said it better

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  5. I loved the first two statement of yours. Its exactly how most of us feel I guess..

    Accidentally I watched the episodes.And thank god for that. First question what was in my mind was , why did she choose to visit only north.(is it the time factor )She would have not had many experiences to take from south as both North and South means the same to me, but yet this question is still in my head.

    And yeah, as you said rightly ..." It is chaotic and yet in harmony. It's a mess and yet its a smooth sail. How long? "

    The answer would be Infinite !!

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    1. Yeah and its amazing to see how we are in harmony though we hang by a thread. Oprah! no comments

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  6. We have come thus far, I am sure we'll manage it till the end of the world. :)

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    1. :) We will sure. We have been defying all odds and will continue to do so

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  7. India is the best place and I will do anything to live there , god willing one day I will be back home.

    I would not worry much about what others think of the nation as long as we indians dont behave with the nation like others do..

    oprah I will say WHO OPRAH.. just because she has made some money she talks that way.


    average americans have not even gone out of their own country , I have met people and heard stories that they have never even SAT on a plane, they dont even have a passport .. SO what they say of my country I dont give a damn, americans have this habit of saying a lot about every country and they are in a mess themselves.. and i can go on and on and onnnnnnnnnnnn.. Americans have this penchant of interferring in everyone business , Can they please first see what state the ACtual americans , the ones who were their before the white man took over .. the red indians as they are called , what is the state they are in ... maybe OPRAH shud do something for them the rightful owners of the land called america.. before coming to india ...

    (sorry did i say too much.. )
    Bikram's

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    1. I wonder how soon you can pack your bags and relocate back Bikram :)

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    2. One day hopefully and god willing. although its not going to be soon

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  8. The question 'how long?' will really run in an infinite loop. People have been adjusted to live in the same way. They throw tantrums on others and do nothing. If self consciousness of people here is a bit enhanced, then, no one can stop us becoming the next super power of the world. Nice post Insignia :)

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    1. True that. Its sad, we need to stop being proud about "we can go on like this forever" and do something about it

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  10. B,firstly, I endorse the views of Melange.

    As matters stand,indeed India is a paradox and dichotomy of strangeness.The other day in the course of a meeting in Delhi my hostess observed that God(s) must be of Indian origin else how can one explain away life here.

    As for Ms Winfrey, we gave too much credence to her naivete observations and comments of this paradox country.Her knowledge of what India is pretty little.Flying in first class to be holed up in a Heritage five star hotel in Mumbai and venturing out once or twice in a limo to visit a derelict dwelling in a slum or affluent socialites in Malabar Hill does not give one a iota of insight into how life works in this country where dichotomy perhaps pervades.
    Remember she hails from a country where a majority believe that beyond the US shores the world ends literally.
    Whether the paradox that this country is will last is a question that will have to confront portentous answers. Because when sixty percent and more of the population is in their youth, aspirations will run high. What can happen socially when dreams die young is awfully bad.

    And B, as for we basking in the richness of the culture and heritage we have,it is rather timid and we better confront where we have firmed our feet now than stake claim on the magnificence that was the making of the generations that have passed.

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    1. I nod at your every word Anil. Lets not even talk about Oprah and her clan. What saddens me is that we still are happy with the way things are here. As you said, we better pull up our socks

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  11. Too much importance is given to the lady by the name of Oprah.

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  12. And that's awfully best - India! We are so different from every other country / people / cultures. Our traditions and customs are so rich, that people are actually following them - unknowingingly! I see european girls/women wearing bangle, nosestud, bindi, even toe rings! And there are exclusive fashion houses that run saree trials! Leave away the corruption, bribe..it is happening in every other country - but silently. In India, it makes the news. There are problems in everything we do, but yet, we live, enjoy every moment!
    Every "Phorener" will stereotype India. They generalise Indians! We are not bothered! We are what we are, and we will be happy come what may!

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    1. :-) Agreed, but it is up to us to preserve it and make the life here better

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  13. What you have said is absolut truth.
    It is people who make a country.Unfortunatly,we the people have lost our focus.This is so obvious and no political party has allowed it to go by without extracting maximum juice.Unless we take action,however,limited it may be,no great change will come.
    Yes,I am a firm believer in astrology.They say(WAY ACK IN 2010)2012 will see a major change in india and a new set of people will emerge to govern this country.
    Developments of last one year or so,do indicate shape of future

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    1. Hopefully sir, anything for seeing better things here

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  14. Yes its a paradox by nature and I believe it can go on for ever and ever.

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