Are We Indians Any Better Now?

mpindan21

The past is immutable. However bitter, painful and shameful there is absolutely nothing one could do to change what has been. The past is immutable.

Today I had come across a recollection of the past of my nation. The recollection itself was done with a rare empathy and honesty, however brief its coverage.

But pain does not need acres of text to manifest itself. A splinter of memory can lodge itself in the crevices of our self and torment more than any physical act can ever hope to achieve.

A proud cluster of nations, united by a common heritage and spirituality, wanting for nothing, was ruled for 300years by the British and almost double that by the previous Muslim invaders.

Whatever revisionist versions of history is thrust upon us, the truth remains that we were ruled under a foreign yoke for almost a 1000years.

The nation was bled dry. They arrived for our wealth and left us destitute, an under-developed nation reeling in poverty and ignorance, devoid of self-confidence.

A nation of Sages, Rishis, Warriors and Artisans was reduced to this sniveling, groveling mass of spine-less ignoramuses of now.

I have no bitterness towards the actions of these foreign races but reserve my utter disrespect and hatred for my own countrymen who were willing to sabotage the future of this country for their selfish motives.

There are quite few descendents of these leaches still sucking this nation dry.

So you see, I was forced to introspect.

Now to you dear reader, are we any better now?

Meaningless Patriotism

The $10 laptop went the meme in the blogging circuits.

This was ostensibly in response to the $100 laptop of the OLPC project.

Hopes of doing a ‘Nano’ must have risen up in the minds of readers. But the cost suggested was so ridiculously low that it was difficult not to be skeptic about the whole affair.

And then came the update from here. The whole thing was a sham. No laptop but a storage device. And why a government should muck about with a storage device is something I don’t have a clue about! Perhaps some cheap publicity to satisfy the whim of some politician or bureaucrat somewhere.

Even assuming India could build such a device, say after 5-10 years, given the natural reduction of cost of materials etc., imagine the opportunity cost of missing out on so many years. Time in which kids could have had access to more information, picked up crucial computing skills and armed themselves with useful knowledge.

Just so we get this straight.

I am patriotic. Very proud to be an Indian, proud of its heritage, culture and spirituality. And firmly believe that India is yet to give her best.

But that best will not emerge by methods such as these.

Innovation is not building something cheaper. Of course it takes some creativity to do things cheaper. But it is ultimately an act of copying, a semi-intelligent copying. Nothing more.

Original ideas, ideas that define a race and culture and act as the seeds of lasting prosperity do not issue from mimicking.

India might have discovered the idea of Zero, might have had astronomers who peered further than most into the dark spaces of our Universe, might have sent its heart out in a hundred waves of spiritual impulses.

But all this counts for nothing in my book.

The field is material and not some abstract world of the spirit. The field of battle is here. There are no longer the impediments of lack of opportunity, or tools, or the colonial restrictions of the past.

We restrict our own capabilities by aping. Our pride is a false one when all we can muster up is to gather the scraps of a reflected glory.

The next time someone says the youngest kid to do a Microsoft certification is from India, or India will launch the $10 laptop, I suggest we, the blogger community at least, refrain from talking it up or feeling proud about it.

It is a time for shame when a many thousand year old culture has only its infantile babblings to be proud about.

Vande Mataram.

We don’t need you Mr.Terrorist – An Open Letter

To Mr.Terrorist

You have kindly consented to spread our lands with the terror and blood and followed up your willingness with action. No doubt immense co-ordination, effort and dark expertise has been expended in this matter and the fruits are apparent for all to see. However I wish to point out that all this effort is not necessary and I shall provide the necessary information to make my point.

India, my vast country, is populated with very small men

All of her heritage, culture and ancient spirit has been reduced to a footnote in history text books. We have enough malice and violence in us to inflict untold harm on ourselves

Take, for example, our response to the hordes of invaders who plundered our land

We have adopted their language, ‘culture’ and even their religion. We stood by, meek like sheep, while all of what we were was being ripped apart. Perhaps it is the pent up rage that makes us throw stones at any damn thing when there is a general strike? Or burn buses, uproot railway tracks? Am sure that injustice is not forgotten, hence our present reaction. Don’t you think this behavior is consistent with the goals that you and your leaders have set for yourself?

Or consider our comrades who look to the east

While the sun of their aspirations rises in fully deserving glory, completely shedding the ideological sheaths of its past, our comrades still worship the image of their deity as it was before. National pride, security, the continued livelihood of our people are of no concern. As long as they can spout the virtues of poverty and open their large magnanimous hearts for the protection of the poor then all is fine.

Or take our practice of subsidies, reservations etc.

By artificially propping up a segment of people they ensure that the very same people are robbed blind of their skills and initiative in the long run. By taking a legitimate means to alleviate social imbalances we have turned it into a means of gathering votes. If there are no poor then how the hell would the politicians display their compassion? Don’t you think this retrograde mindset would keep us materially poor for a long long time, and ensure there is sufficient bitterness for an uprising. Which by the way would be completely impotent to solve the social imbalance problem anyway. Do you still want to add to this list of woes?

Or take our caste and creed system

Which by the way is wildly different than what its creators conceived it to be. We still have this evil prevalent in our towns and villages. The crude accident of birth renders a set of people wise, another set courageous and willing to stand up for the weak and oppressed, yet another set of people sharp with money and the rest mere serfs. I heard you there..it is a load of shit and utter bollocks.

Biology determines some of our traits, you say, and the rest is environment, opportunity and the inborn tendency of the individual. And I agree with you. But reality is that we still have people who proudly display their caste on the back of their cars and suffix it still on the names of their offspring.

We as a race, it seems, have so little self-respect that we need to depend on social systems of religion, caste, creed etc to give us a sense of identity.

Mind you each of these is by the accident of birth and has got nothing to do with what the individual accomplished in this lifetime.

Little matter all this. We still are proud to defend our temples from the serfs who want to pray inside, what deviant attitudes!! Am sure your rage will be better used elsewhere, we have our people to rage on your behalf.

And of course our behenjis, banerjees and lalilthas are capable enough to bleed the nation dry by either taking what is there or preventing the growth of anything.

If all these are preoccupied then our language bigots always rise up to the occasion. And don’t discount our regional chauvinists!

Or those who seek to convert the spirit of this nation towards an alien system of thought and living that has its roots in the remote tribes of the middle-east region?!

Who lure the soul with material rewards, as an advance to the later rewards in heaven? Or even those who take offence at art? Or those who seek to attack an idea by going after the most external edifices, like churches?

This, of course, is only a brief list of items and we have a ton of these weirdos and have not need of you anymore.

Our deviance and capability for self-harm far exceeds your limited imagination and malice. Please leave us alone and in due time we shall have destroyed ourselves.

Regards

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India’s National Anthem Rings Out From Kenya and USA’s From France!

The thing that hooked me in was the Indian National anthem being sung by Kenyans.

Or the French singing the anthem of the Americans.

Pangea, is the name of the project that aims to use film to promote unity. A powerful concept that rides upon the ubiquity of the internet and the visual media.

I should say my national anthem gives me goose pimples, even when sung by a different race/culture/people.

Beneath all the variations of skin, language, cultures and every other distinctness that makes us look upon another as different, there is an unity that binds us all. A variety of means exist to see this unity. Music, painting, poetry, the world of ideas and now increasingly, for the last 60-70 years, the world of films.

Watch it. In 3-4 minutes a considerable amount of prejudice can be washed away.

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Dramatic contrasts in India, raises more questions at HBR

Marshall Goldsmith at HBR wonders about the contrasts in India. To quote-

“In the cities, I saw a longing for extreme opulence — countless ads with rich people living lavish lives — next to the reality of extreme poverty — countless shanties with poor people living harsh lives.”

To be honest, as an Indian, I have become almost numb to the contrasts. What appears as shocking dichotomy is to me a fact of life, these are the environments I grew up in.

Marshall asks a bunch of questions and I take a crack at them below.

What is being gained in the “new” India? What is being lost?
The new India gains self-awareness – Of her strengths, of the fact that she has a voice of her own, that she can dream and deliver on it, that its okay to bully once in a while, that she has to work out her place in the world and her purpose.

The new India has lost, or is in the process of fast losing, her ability to introspect. Her wisdom is a myth, her spirituality consumed by the canker of materialism. Faith is held up by tradition and an intuitive perception as the thing worthy of possession, attempting to withstand the assault of rushing reality and retreating farther into the recesses and having little to no influence on how this life is lived.

How can today’s Indian professionals achieve the material success of the West without losing the wisdom of the East?
Well, how can you lose what you don’t possess?! To be honest, the vast majority of Indians don’t know their own mythology, their scriptures and their past. What is taken for knowledge is only superficial opinions gathered from the mass medium.

I see this as a phase where all that is dead and not reasoned is washed away in the waters of progress and this is not necessarily a bad thing. And ages of poverty has created a perverted need for riches. India wants to splurge now. Given an option between iPhone and Buddha’s Nirvana, it is very clear what the majority would ask for.

So how does India not lose her wisdom. First she re-acquaints herself with the past, its scriptures and law of life. Not by donning the robe of a monk or chanting mantras at a temple doorstep. But by staying in the battlefield of material life. By innovating, by creating and sharing wealth, by not mimicking the voices of the west, by finding the heart of her own self and purpose.

What is your experience of professionals from the West? What can you learn from them?
The ability to focus. To dedicate ones life to any pursuit that captures their fancy. To value labour above and beyond any notional values attached due to legacy or other superficial reasons. To practise dedication to the lord of wealth with such intensity that the East often gapes in wonder!