Saturday, March 29, 2008

"We are like that only"

This telling article by Dipankar Gupta in Times of India reminded me of another article by another Gupta - Swapan Das Gupta sometime back.
The Ugly Indian - one of the most striking commentary on today's India. I still remember the cover of that India Today edition where this article appeared. A well educated regular Indian peeing away himself to glory in broad day light at a public park out in open. His kid is watching this as his father sets a glorious example of civic sense.

Although what bothers me about Dipankar Gupta's article is he equates everything India to Hindu. Hindu=India and vice versa. Which may not necessarily be true.

Coming back to Swapan's "The Ugly Indian" article, one thing striking about that is, how SDG alludes to the hypocrisy existing in Indian society. Like how Indians are so obsessed with keeping their own houses clean (they even sprinkle ganga jal in their houses to purify) and how they don't care a squat about throwing garbage out of windows. (So many art movies i watched have the protagonist throw cigarette buds right outside the window)

Another great example SDG gives is of Shabana Azmi. Here's how in his typical style he rips apart one of the limousine socialists of our era-

.... There is a distasteful quid pro quo in the system that makes an enlightened soul like Shabana Azmi jump the queue, secure the most privileged of government accommodation in Lutyens' Delhi and, at the same time, campaign for the preservation of laws that distorted the housing market in the first place. She epitomizes the cosiness of the Indian status quo, an arrangement that leaves no one entirely dissatisfied -- not even those out of power -- and in the end lead to nowhere.

Bottom line is , you don't have to be a rich nation to be a clean nation. India is ranked even below some of the African and poor Latin American nations. Today Mumbai and Delhi rank in the top 25 of world's dirtiest cities. Kills me when i see Mumbai on that list. It used to be my favorite cities not too long ago; one reason being major part of Mumbai had an amazing civic sense.

If we can pick up the MTV culture, the slang, the accent and other superficial stuff from West, can't we pick up one good thing from there? Beats me.

1 comment:

Rathchakra said...

So true, the social cleanliness is a habit only a miniscule of the population has. However, I have noticed that the same people who would trash a regular run down cinema hall will not do the same to a swanky multiplex of an a/c shopping mall. So is it that we Indians trash trashy places and try not to trash cleaner places? Another example is the Delhi metro. Just an observation I made in my 2 months last year.