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To Sameer

Try as I might, I can't fault everything Indian! India's greatest unbecoming will be its chauvinistic citizens.
Watching Hindi movies is a luxury I've long renunciated.HOwever, there have indeed been a few jewels from Bollywood's stable of crap.
BTW, nationality is a trivial political identity whose importance has been blown way out of proportion. It's yet another of our belittling institutions that inhibit our ability to think borderless, big and benign. It's a crazed obsession most of us entertain ourselves with.


Anonymous said…
I agree with you when you say that the importance of nationality has been overemphasised. But I don't think its 'belittling' in any way nor does it 'inhibit our ability to think borderless, big and benign'.
I think it has a hand in determining the way we think, act & respond to situations. You have always had a high opinion of America and its way of doing things. Would America have existed today had they not thought of themselves as having a political and cultural identity distinct from England and the rest of the countries that its citizens came from? They prided themselves on being 'American' regardless of their predecessors' origins and THAT was what they fought for and got ultimately.
So did we Indians. The people who fought for our independence thought that our own political and national identity was something worth giving up their lives for. Gandhi didnt get the Nobel for nothing. And a Nobel is something YOU will definitely respect since its not Indian.
Its because we are Indian that we feel good about the fact that Indian companies are doing well globally, that people like Sania, Karthikeyan and Rathore are earning laurels for the homeland. I dont know about you, but I do. A lot of people have died on the battlefields so that people like you and me could continue calling ourselves Indian. I know we have our shortcomings but warts and all it IS our country after all. Go anywhere in the world and people will identify you by the country you come from.
As for 'thinking big and benign' chew on this...the largest steel making co in the world is owned by an Indian who is the 3rd richest person in the world today (incidentally even after living abroad for the past 2 decades he doesnt think its belittling to retain his Indian passport and identity). And before you get back at me & say that he acheived it only when he went abroad, here's some more....Tata Steel is the world's cheapest steel producer, Reliance Petrochem owns the world's largest refinery....I could go on but the point I want to make is you can be Indian & still think big and world class. India is just starting out Deep. Give it some time. A day will come sooner than you think when even you will feel proud of your country. Call me an optimist but that's the way I think.....Vivek.
Anonymous said…
“Happy the man and happy he alone…”

A beautiful aphorism evangelizing Horace’s Carpe Diem philosophy, ironically, emanating from the mind of one of the most miserable creature I know of: - YOU.

Complaining, criticizing, whining, grumbling and quibbling these are the only worthwhile activities you have ever indulged yourself in. In these three years since we first met, I have known you to do little else besides this. I could see the troubled soul that you were and tried my best to mend your ways. Unfortunately for both us, I failed to reform you. No more am I going strive to change you or your line of thought. This comment is aimed solely to condemn your mindset.

As a proselyte to Ranchi and eastern India in general, it was expected of me to be critical of Ranchi especially since I hail from Mumbai. I was incited more than once to do so. But, never did I once utter a word of disrespect towards Ranchi or its residents. This was not because I was afraid of being reprimanded by people around me, but because I felt no reason to do so. I never saw Ranchi or Ranchiites to be any less than Mumbai or Mumbaiites or for that matter any other city or its residents. I always treated Ranchi just like I have always treated Mumbai. This does not mean that I never complained about anything while I was in Ranchi but so also have I complained about some or the other shortcoming of Mumbai. I am not saying all this to brandish how good a person I am, but to state an analogy a little while later. Espousal of Ranchi in this way does not undermine my love for Mumbai.

When I met you, a resident of eastern India, a person well familiar with the lack of economic development of this region, a person who was for a short while a resident of Pune, I found a person who was in constant adoration of Pune (and sometimes Mumbai) and at the same time in perennial castigation of Ranchi primarily due to the poverty, lack of education and economic development of Ranchi. As much as I liked you for praising Pune (my native place), I was appalled by your dislike for Ranchi. This is the same city that holds our college. This is the same college to which we all owe our jobs. Today, we hold our heads high as we have gained respect in the society. Imagine where you would have been had there been no Ranchi and no BIT. A frivolous degree in Physics albeit from a good college would have at most helped you in acquiring a job of a watchman guarding some high-rise in your beloved city of Pune. BIT may not be the best educational institute in the world, but it is the only one that admitted you and me. So what if Ranchi does not have the most picturesque locales, wide roads, posh high-rises, the hottest cars and the coolest bikes you were so familiar with in Pune? So what if the girls in Ranchi do not wear the trendiest of outfits the girls in Pune wear? So what if not many of your friends are as eloquent at English as you are? A few years ago, Pune was not very different from today’s Ranchi. It is just a matter of time before Ranchi becomes the Pune of the East.

The relationship that exists between Pune and Ranchi is the same that exists between America and India. I do not have anything against your beloved America. I agree with you when you say that the importance of nationality is blown out of proportion and that we should tend to think big, benign and borderless. But, in your case, you are just using these words to rationalize your love for America. America being a wealthy, powerful country with all the riches, comfort and happiness, a poor Indian can only dream of, has definitely caught you in awe the same way Pune had a few years ago. The talk of espousal of liberty, equality and fraternity (the principles on which America is based) does not hold any water in your case.

Even in this case, where you are smitten by America, which is perfectly understandable, why should you be critical of India? I accept that as of today, India is not as rich and powerful as your America is. It is just a matter of time before it acquires its former glory.
India is no different from what America was a few years ago. This is the same motherland that has given birth to you. It is ridden with many problems but we are rapidly working towards eliminating these and securing a bright future for our nation. Would you be critical of your mother who has given birth to you purely because she is not as rich and educated as some other lady who is willing to adopt you?

You say India’s biggest problem is the chauvinistic citizens that reside in this country. Do you mean we should not feel proud of our motherland? Do you feel your beloved America is not ridden with this problem? If you feel America too is ridden with this problem then why refer only to India as having this problem. Why did you not state this problem as generic to all nations?

I feel proud of my country India no matter how poor, despondent its condition may today be. I do not hate other nations for the way they are or consider my country to be inferior or superior compared to any of them. I love those countries as well. I may someday leave my country for better prospects in other countries. But, I will always remain an Indian at heart and will someday return to the land of my birth. Now that I feel is a much better policy than yours.
saurabh said…
One reason why nationalism has maintained its appeal over the centuries might be that belonging to a culturally, economically or politically strong nation makes one feel better regardless of one's own contribution to this strength.
Anonymous said…
Way to go Sam. You hit the nail on the head. Deep, I hope you get the point.....about the nationality issue and about how much spare time we have at work........Vivek
Anonymous said…
Anon: BOW-WOW to you and your USA.

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