While I have for a very long time encountered guys downright hostile about India, Social Media seems to have accelerated that process somewhat. Twitter seems to host a lot of guys who seem to see nothing positive about India. Of course there is a huge gulf between thsoe who are pro-congress and those against. For the former, everything is a positive and for the later, nothing is. But as they say “The Truth Lies Somewhere in the Middle” which I believe applies equally well for India as well.
History they say is a wonderful teacher. Too bad we don’t listen to it. We take bits and pieces of it that suits our agenda while ignoring the rest. Many for instance seem to suggest that India is what it is (a failure) because of our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru was said to be romantically linked to Edwina Mountbatten.
While that information has been in public domain for long, what is interesting is that it now seems to be bigger than his other mistakes including but not limited to his views on Socialism vs Capitalism.
But what interests me more is that, while there are a lot of guys who dislike India for what it is, it has not stopped them from taking advantage, be it the cheap cost of living (by their standards) or the good cheap schooling that is available. In fact, recently one acquaintance of mine went on to suggest that he shall send his son to study outside once he finished his college. While I wondered why then and why not now, I dare not ask him at what to me seemed like pure hypocrisy.
But the key question we should ask ourselves is, Are all things bad here and All things good outside? Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? Is there a future for the country despite its failings or are we already doomed?
As the saying goes, The grass is always greener on the other side. We presume to know the positives of other countries while ignoring their failings. We compare their Institutions to ours without thinking for a moment as to how they came out to that level. Comparing Harvard to any Institution in India makes little sense since just like Rome wasn’t build in a day, neither did Harvard. Harvard for instance is the oldest running University with Billions in endowments. Indian Institutions on the other hand aren’t even half that old and many have issues in even running them due to paucity of funds, let alone have funds to invest in other asset classes.
That said, like a lot I do believe that we could have achieved a lot more than what we have, but what we have is what who we are and we have to make do with that. Yes, many of our politicians are nothing less than scoundrels, but a search on Google would show that not many citizens are proud of their politicians, no matter how good we feel about the country from the outside.
India is a country like no other. You can travel a 1000 kilometers in United States and find little difference in terms of either culture or language or customs, in India travelling just a 100 kilometres (especially in South) can show the huge change. I was born and have lived my entire life in the state of Karnataka. While Karnataka has a Official Language of Kannada which is the dominant language used through the state, there is great deal of difference in usage of words and syntax across the region.
Before the British colonized India, India as a entity was never there. While great kings like Ashoka, Akbar and Chandragupta Maurya at different times had control of nearly the whole of India, not many were able to conquer kingdoms south of the Vindhya’s. And of course, Assam and the North East never came under any king of Delhi except for a very brief period when India was ruled by Aurangzeb.
Its this history and the wide difference that made Winston Churchill say “India is just a geographical entity. It is no more a country than the equator”. It was matter of great doubt as to whether India will remain a single geographical entity for even 10 years after Independence or would it disintegrate into small provinces like it was before the coming of the British.
We believe that our politicians are the worst creatures in the world while first world politicians are like a baby who would not know what bribes mean. But is that really so? Are we ourselves squeaky clean to be able to point fingers at others? In Tirupati temple, the ability to pay directly corresponds to the amount of time you have to wait in a Queue. More the payment (with a official receipt to boot), lesser the waiting time. And we never complain as to why temple needs to distinguish between those with the ability to pay and those without.
There is a saying in the Indian scriptures which says ‘Yatha Raja Tatha Praja”. We seem to have used it to conveniently hide the fact that we ourselves aren’t angels either. While its true that there is a lot of corruption at the top, it does not codone the small corrupt acts we act upon. Its time I believe we should hold ourselves to account for our Omission and Commissions. After all, its only from the bottom feeder that even the big whale survives. Take that out and the top have nothing to feed upon.
I believe that there is a lot of things for which we should be proud. But most of us seem more interested in pointing and re-pointing to our weakness than our strengths, focus of on our failures than our successes and overall become pessimistic instead of being objective and hence optimistic. When a person is facing bad times, we say “Bad times don’t last forever”. Why should not we accept that things can and will change here too?