Sunday, 4 September 2011


India is 141st in the world in Human Development Index; it is 135th most dangerous nation out of 153; Mumbai is 116th in world big cities in livability. However, whenever we have to compare ourselves we don't stop at any other nation but compare ourselves straight with America. It is not just with the media or the intelligentia. You go to the remotest village in the country and the commonest of the men would tell you, "Yahan jo ho raha hai vo umreeka main nahin hota. Traffic bade niyam se chalta hai vahan." (What happens here does not happen in America. Traffic has to follow certain rules there)

If you now ask this person when did he last go to America; the chances are that he has never been there. Ask him next if he has any friends or relatives there? Once again you are likely to draw a blank. It is just that he imagines everything will be well in the "best country in the world - America".

I am reminded of this yokel who returned to his village after extensive "world tour". He was showing off about how he spent a week in umreeka, a week in London, a week in Germany, a week in Hongkong, a week in Paris and so on. The others just stared at him until one of them who had studied in primary school commented, "Bahut achhe. Aapka geography ka knowledge to bahut improve ho gaya hoga." (Very good; your knowledge of geoagraphy must have improved a lot). The yokel's immediate response was, "Ek hafta vahan bhi rahe" (Stayed for one week there (in geography) too).

The armed forces, politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists, actors, actresses and other film people, music people, scientists, teachers and academicians; virtually each and everyone has America as an ideal. We denigrate America in public life; in and out of parliament. However, whenever a neta has an illness the first country that he/she runs to for treatment is America.

We fondly draw comparisons between the US and India; how we are natural allies: world's largest democracy hobnobbing with the most functional one. "And by the way, theirs is as messy politics as ours", we say proudly.

In public life we take a person or institution to task for sharing any secrets with America. But, as in the case of David Coleman Headley's case, we privately share secrets and hope like hell it won't be public because of such nuisances as Wikileaks (who have even given names of politicians belonging to both ruling party and opposition having large accounts in Swiss and German banks; but that is another story).

One country that we want America to sort out for us is our half-brother Pakistan. We imagine they have the power as they did during Kargil War. Once again, we do not want America to intervene. However, we expect it to sort out nuisances around us without intervening.

The only thing that we don't want America to sort out is the mess that we have made of our own country: in corruption, governance, city planning, traffic (that kills more people in a year than most wars around the world), intelligence, human rights, police reforms etc because these would be interfering inthe "internal matters" of the country. That America gives support to Su Kyi in Myanmar, and dissidents in China, is lauded by us. But, we are a democracy; we have every right to quell dissidence by invoking "supremacy of parliament." Obama ji, please keep clear of our domestic matters. These are the only things that give us a sense of power.

Our NRIs in America have a similar love-hate relationship towards US of A. Whilst in America, they extol the goodness of Indian way of life; however, should they decide to take a trip (the annual one to meet relatives) to India, they show off how backward India and Indians are to America and Americans.

The relationship, then, trudges along like this; blowing hot in private, blowing cold in public. Irrespective of what they do in AfPak region; when an American in authoritative position, during visit to our great nation, dances with the village women in Rajasthan, close to Delhi, all is forgiven and forgotten.

"Yeh dosti hum nahin chhodenge....."


  1. America and what their government does is totally different from the's the Indian Americans (some) who find India more backward than the Americans themselves...:)

    let America be and focus on our problems :)

    nice post

  2. LOL - ek hafta geography mein - wah :)

    nice writing. liked the point about cleaning our own mess


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