Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shining India?

I'm beginning to wonder if the Indians are going way over their heads these days. I'm all for friendship, but it peeves me now to see them blowing their own trumpet, endlessly and shamelessly. For the last few years, our ears have gone dry, listening to shouts of "Shining India", despite the separatist elements, the massacres, the Mumbai slums...

Now, there's more. A few examples:

Mr. Chakravarty of the Hindustan Times (Waiting for Obama's Call) was going bonkers over an anticipated call to his PM from U.S. President-elect Obama. And what annoyance that he called Mr. Zardari and a few other leaders before he ever got through to Manmohan Singh. Bummer! He missed an important rite of passage by not calling India first. India is shining.

The Hindustan Times again, and this time, its Mr. Thappar (Obama or 'Oh bummer'?), crying fowl over Obama's expected foreign policy on Kashmir, because it seems more in line with Pakistan's demand for an intervention. But of course, if they can't let in international observers easily, how could they allow mediation. India can go it alone, because India is shining.

Now for Mr. Bachchan and his blog. On the day when the media around the world was going ecstatic over a black man in the white house, our superstar did the research and managed to make it all about India, going on to quote a not-so-ecstatic response: "So, we can be partially progressive while still following and passing regressive policies. Segregation of color in America is not abolished! India is a far fairer democracy! Here even the so called untouchables have representation. They are considered; one of them may well be Prime Minister one day ! The US still isn’t the land of the free after all…".

Then there is mention of that evening in 1969, when the first man landed on the moon. And today, so has India's spacecraft, lodging its tricolor on the moon. Instantly, he is corrected.

No sir, don't get carried away! India is shining, but its spacecraft hasn't yet landed on the moon (it was, in fact, the Moon Investigation Probe), nor is there a flag as yet.

Having the chance to take pride in one's country is something very special. But trying to rub it in harder than it warrants, takes away any shine that might have been.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://tazeen-tazeen.blogspot.com/2008/11/impunity-to-hope.html

Anonymous said...

Saadia aapki baaton se jalan ki boo aa rahin. Tell me, on what indicator Pakistan is better than India? You cannot even produce needles on your own(you depend on china for everything).Some of India's problems are persistent but compared to Pak and its other neighbors, India is truly shining. Pakistan cannot feed its own population. Making nukes was your top priority. You could have feed your population instead of making nukes or amassing weapons. I am not anti-Pakistan(I defend it many times), but seeing the attitude of Pakistanis(have met them personally),I am a bit put off. Most pakis are 'himaqati'(grandiose and self boasting).Allah hafiz. Allah aapko aqal de.

Saadia said...

It would've been nice if you could've submitted your disagreement in a more educated manner. I think I was not able to properly convey the message to you.

There were no comparative analyses between India and Pakistan, if you look clearly. Rather, I was commenting on the issue of blowing one's trumpet, a bit too much (and to drive my point home, I cited a few examples. Absurd behaviour, don't you think!). That is all.

And you didn't have to respond anonymously! You shouldn't have anything to hide...

Lotus Reads said...

Irritating though it may be, I think India has earned its right to blow its own trumpet. For a third world country to become an economic power is no easy feat and I think it's OK for the Indians to revel in this for a while....infact, we should celebrate with them!

Saadia said...

There is so much I love about India; it has done well for itself, and we will agree, so has China. There is cause for celebration. But there is also a fine line between that and showing-off. I personally believe that there is nobility in humbleness.

Hazel Dream said...

oops something is burning ..
by the way miss ,let people celebrate there achievements and accomplishment your "bit too much" is your perspective ..
you are forcing and blowing your Perspective on "Happy Indians"

Hazel Dream said...

well Indians are argumentative , they live in dreams and ideas , thats why we are democracy surrounded by failed democratic societies and autocratic China.

so all the incidents that you mentions above are views of few individuals not of a nation and its people . so if you make a statement about a nation of more then 100 billions by quoting 3 or 4 individuals , then I think you are talking about autocratic country (you know which one ).
I question your intention

Saadia said...

Haha, no, I'm not forcing anything on anybody. Just voicing my opinions. You are welcome to disagree.

By the way, just a few moments back, my husband and I were discussing a possible trip to India, to enjoy and be happy, and to meet happy Indian fellas. And if we do, we'll come in peace. You can rest assured.

Saadia said...

I'm sorry, I can't quote a billion Indians. But if you're suggesting that most Indians prefer humility to boastfulness, then I will take your word for it. I have no reason to disagree. But just so we are clear, my comments were based on the representatives of India: a very reputable daily, and an actor who is the face of India to the world.

Hazel Dream said...

Dear Sadia
I am sorry, reputed daily is managed and owned by a business family and represent just one perspective among million other perspective .
Thats democracy and freedom of expression .

and the actor is one individual and not the face of India .

Saadia said...

Hazel Dream, you're killing your own case. If you want people to lend you an ear and to listen to your arguments about a nation of more than a 100 billion, then you must also accept when they listen to three or four individuals, which is more than just one (in this case, you). Anyway, what's with the hostility and where is MY freedom of expression! I don't see Indians as competition. I see them as friends. Hopefully, someday, you'll feel the same way about us. Peace!

Hazel Dream said...

Sadia,

People Choose their representative for some purpose ( to run politics of a country ) but these people , in any way , dont represent the nature of a nation .they come and go .

Secondly why force your point of view on us indians ? we never said that these individual represent us . its you who choose them , (its your selective perception, you see what you want to see)

Freedom of expression is about expressing your opinion based on facts , other wise it becomes abuse of that freedom.

and remember every idea and expression of opinion in a society shall undergo constructive criticism , this is how idea and society grow and mature . so you express your opinion and I have right to criticise it . ( this is freedom of expression)

Well I ma glad that you see Indians as friend , but you need to express the same way . your word betray your feeling here .

Saadia said...

If I express my views against mullah-ism in Pakistan, am I suddenly betraying my feelings for my country? I don't mind constructive criticism, but don't blame me of forcing or thrusting my views on people.

Hazel Dream said...

When you make a statement about a group of people by reading the opinions of one or two individuals then it tells more about you and your perception and nothing about that group of people.

Shall we take that Sherry Rahman or Mr 10% , represent all Pakistani??

Saadia said...

There was no intent to generalize. Thank you for your feedback.

anil said...

Couldn’t agree more with you this post , being an India , I also feel very irritating when ever media portrays our nation as superpower...

We are still developing country but definably India has come long way in last 5 yrs and next coming 10yrs are very crucial


so this Indian shining is only media thing , we common Indian are more nearer to reality and also last 5yrs is changing attitude of whole nations to be more completive on worlds state be in every field.

You also mentioned abt moon probe .we are proud of it but in mind knows that this feat achieved
With help a lot of western university and goverment..So a lot need to done on that front

While writing this , I remember my Chinese friend’s answer to question of being China as next superpower...he said his nations people doesn’t want superpower status and they want progressive and prospers country only

Saadia said...

Anil, thank you. That was my point all along. There is so much strength and humility and humbleness.

Unfortunately, since this criticism came from a Pakistani, it was interpreted as jealousy. Had it come from an Indian, it would've met with a different response. Or had I criticised something about Pakistan, it again would have been acceptable (agreement or no agreement).

Vikram said...

Saadia, I think you have fallen into the same trap a lot of westerners fall into. Trying to gauge the pulse of India by reading its English language media (most of which is only Indian in name), one look at this graph will tell you exactly how much these people are in tune with the real India.

Actually for an outsider the best tool to understand the Indian masses are the elections, especially those for the Union Government. And the last time around, the party shouting India Shining lost. Badly.

72 % of Indians live in villages. And life there is quite difficult but also beautiful in its own way. I dont think the last few years of growth have done much for rural India, in fact it looks like it may have even harmed that part of the country.

Saadia said...

Thank you, Vikram, for pointing that out. Shining India is a myth then, by those standards - if you look at growth figures of rural areas and the slums of cities like Mumbai. This is not to take anything away from India's achievements.

Vikram said...

Just a little note, like you said rural India hasnt grown a lot economically but the slums of large Indian cities are a slightly more complex proposition. I read a paper by a group of Bangladeshi researchers about how slum dwellers in Mumbai had mobilized to get basic civic amenities in the 90s. And based on some personal conversations, I do know that the purchasing powers of many slum dwellers has increased significantly. I'll do a post on this soon.

Thanks.