5 thoughts on “Proud to be Indian?

  1. amigo,

    I’m sad that your patriotism has begin to base itself ‘somewhat’ on facts. Facts, even those about our own fatherland are not more than a piece of trivia. If you start associating patriotism with facts, we will end up having crazy conclusions like –

    1) A Greek ought to be more patriotic than a Mexican.
    2) A Brit ought to respect his history more than a Singaporean becoz Britain has a more glorious history.
    3) An American is entitled to love his country more than anyone else does becoz America is at the forefront of every human accomplishment.

    If we continue this way, we are sure to transform ourselves into Nazis o the 21st century, following Hitler’s/Bush’s doctrine of Social Darwinism. Fortunately, human existance on a social plan has more to it than ‘competition and survival of the fittest’. In this respect, although human species is just another animal species, we cannot equate countries/populations/cultures with animal species that adapt/compete to survive.

    Patriotism itself is dubious in the first place. I anyday prefer universal brotherhood to patriotism. But I’ve reiterated in my previous writings, with substantiation, that universal brotherhood doesn’t belong in this planet. So I’d accept patriotism to a certain degree in a sense that it is a sentiment that unifies communities of people living in a geography. Even if present, patriotism ought to be only about you, your culture and your fatherland and not how successful/glorious your fatherland actually is. As patriotic people we need to celebrate the success/glory/tradition of our land. But the lack of a glorious past or present should never make us less patriotic. In fact the lack of a glorious present is all the more an incentive to fall in love with the future of your fatherland.

    Coming to outsourcing….the phenomenon of outsourcing is nothing but a partial correction of anomaly in the currency markets. Let me explain. The conversion rate of a US dollar is 1$=45 rupees. On the contrary in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity), one dollar can only buy as much as 10 rupees do. This anomaly has an interesting corollary. With a dollar, you can buy 4.5 times more stuff in India as you can in the US, on a average. So, with the kind of money you spend on one worker in the US, you can hire 4.5 workers in India and afford them the same lifestyle. In addition since India is a country beset by poverty, unemployment etc. Indian populace is prone to be more desperate for jobs. As a capitalist, you can cash in on this desperation and hire more than 4.5 people with the same money.

    All said and done, a question strikes us pretty straight in the face. Can you expect your work to get done anywhere on the planet….Doesn’t it demand specific skills? It does. People in a third world country need not be skilled and are not likely to be skilled if a market for their skill doesn’t exist beforehand. But the economics suggests that the demand side of the skills is booming. When demand is booming, supply can’t be too far behind. Those on the supply side (NIIT, RVCE, BMSCE, Aptech) will begin to see business sense in developing the skillsets of their local populations. Their money may come from people who seek to acquire skills or from people who seek to employ these skilled people or from both. Desperation again comes in handy in making people willing to learn and work for less. So, as an employer, you can afford to pay less and spend the savings and traning people. Watch the movie ‘How Green was my Valley’ to figure how the more desperate man outsmarts the less desperate one in the job market. But that doesn’t mean we all need to be on dire straits to be more employable!

    Finally, there is this English thing. We know English, and pretty decently, simply becoz the British ruled us and not becoz of any great intellectual quality in us. The MExicans know Spanish as we as we know English. Should give kudos to the MExican colonial past then? If not, why should we pat ourselves on the back for the same wrong reasons? If anything, we need to be ashamed of the history behind our knowledge of English, if not the knowledge itself. English has just come in handier for us than Spanish for MExicans coz the Anglo Saxon world (US, UK, Australia, Canada….) is a disproportionately huge player in world economics.

    Let’s no be too proud that we are the numero uno destination for outsourcing all white collared work. If we have to be proud, let us be proud of things we did on our own, not those that happened by chance. Let us be proud of our one of its kind freedom movement, let us be proud of our muticulturalism, let us be proud of men like Amartya Sen and CV Raman. I pray that let us not drag down our pride to the plane of a white collared IT/BPO slave.

  2. aye loper nan magane…I am really surprised you thought that I endorsed the entier posting on the link. You ought to know me better than that.

    My only point of pride there was that we have someone like Abdul Kalam as President. The fact that he knows about Peter Shor’s quantum factorization. That really really surprised the hell out of me. Yeah yeah, his being the principal scientific advisor to the prime minister and all that in the past. Still….

    Now, whether it really makes any difference that we have a scientist as our president and not some lawyer, and not some erstwhile extortionist, and not some literature scholar….I really dont know whether it makes a difference. What does stand out is that at some level, a scientist can appreciate political science….grapple with the various parameters that define politics, and if thick skinned and charming enough, fare better than most of the other populist politicians who have dominated the political scene for a long time. So, my thoughts were on those lines, and not the outsourcing, or the English-speaking, or the patriotism line….

    As for patriotism in itself, I still am not convinced of this community being defined by geography, this whole National Boundary thing is a farce. They do not separate out community based georgraphical regions….they just draw lines. Punjab should have been one. The oriental peoples of the northeast should have been with some other country up there. Sourthern part of the US should have been with Mexico and various other such anomalies are abound in the world today. They are not anomalies in the true sense because a single line in two dimensions cannot capture communities in the people-space. So, I will just let it go now, and we can take this up over a smoothie in Java City.

  3. >>>>> .grapple with the various parameters that define politics, and if thick skinned and charming enough, fare better than most of the other populist politicians who have dominated the political scene for a long time >>>>

    Unfortunately A President has no “political” role in the Indian set up of governance. He is a mere spectator, so the point of faring better than the other politicians doesnt arise atall…..

    I am definitely not against the likes of Kalam to be our president but if it would be of greater significance if we can see such minds making laws of the country !

  4. I think patriotism and feeling proud about ‘facts’ are two different things. Patriortism is when u put your country in front of you. Patriortism is when one leaves a plush job in an mnc to join a low paying job in ISRO, DRDO, HAL or any other ‘indian’ organisation, because it is an indian organisation. Patriortism is when one chooses to do research in his own country so that his country benefits from the research, and not because of lack of oppurtunity to do the same in a developed country. Ofcourse there are so many other examples for patriortism but in my view, Patriortism is when one chooses to give ‘back’ to his country, despite the costs invovled.

    Coming to the point of feeling proud, such a feeling comes due to belongingness. People generally feel proud about the great things that ‘belong’ to them or because they ‘belong’ to a great entity. And what makes an entity ‘great’? The facts or trivia about the entity.

  5. Great article…

    But I support anti-intellectualism in

    I go for experience/heuristics in politics …yes, i actually support the babus and netas to oxford / cornell grads who have a vision to make india a better place….becuase these guys are more practical despite all their weaknesses…

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