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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Why Are Ordinary Indians So Silent?

Barkha elaborate it:For the world at large, Infosys is the 21st century index of India, more recognisable today to the global citizen than even the national flag. Heads of State make a ritual stop at the Bangalore campus to gawk in surprised admiration; international columnists obsessively recite its virtues to argue that the world is flat; and the rest of us feel pretty darned proud that software has finally dislodged the snake charmer as the abiding cliché of the Orient. No matter what you think of him otherwise, there are no two ways about it — Narayana Murthy is inextricably linked to the modern Indian’s sense of self.

So also is Sachin Tendulkar. Every time he goes out to bat, he carries with him the dreams of a billion people. Like many sporting legends, he is an iconic symbol of our subliminal nationalism. When he plays dismally — as he did in this World Cup — we feel we have the right to be outraged, because in some strange, sentimental way, we believe he belongs to all of us. He is the common property of an entire nation — one of the few strands that ties and holds together a country otherwise splintered by caste, class and cash.

Isn’t it strange then that it is these two men who have been put through the most banal and petty patriotism test? Surely our nationalism is not so fragile that we now need affirmation and apologies from two people who have done us proud as a country, on more occasions than we can even remember?

Though the global village is apparently the new, trendy residence of choice for the liberal lobby, like most of you, I’m no internationalist. I feel unabashedly Indian, and this means that not just do I jump to my feet and sing along with the national anthem, it also makes me inexplicably sentimental, proud and teary-eyed. But equally, I will not support a police enforcement of patriotism, such as in Maharashtra, where it is now required by law to play the anthem before any film is screened. Nor do I accept that there is one standardised rulebook on the do’s and don’ts of nationalism that every citizen is obliged to obey.

So, if Narayana Murthy chose to play an instrumental version of the national anthem when President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam came visiting, my question is, so what? Does it make him any less Indian? Next time we want to boast about India’s software giants to our friends from foreign lands, will we stop wearing Infosys as one of our badges of honour?

Posted by Ajay :: 12:45 PM :: 0 comments

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