November 25, 2009

Yeh Dil Hai Hindustani

I was having a very interesting conversation at home couple of weeks ago... The context was when Nandan Nilekani was asked if people can choose the 16 digit unique number and have fancy numbers, like they do for their cars and phones:-). Some wanted a preference as they didn't want unlucky numbers and some wanted fancy numbers to flash around... Whatever the reason, this really fascinates me and also disturbs me, if you can understand what I mean:-). We, Indians are a peculiar lot, we always want to get around things and have our way and beat the system. However, Mr. Nilekani put a brave face and refused and said it would be computer generated and nobody will the option of choosing their numbers... It would be interesting to see if he is really able to implement that:-)

As Indians, we always have had a culture of inequality, be it in the bygone era of untouchability and brahminism to the feudal system of Kings and their opulent Palaces to a later mindset of colonial rule, where Indians played second fiddle to the British, to the present day scenario where the political class and rich businessmen are treated differently from the rest. And very surprisingly, and unconsciously, there seems to be an almost acceptance to this fate!

This might strike a foreigner as very odd as I don't think in any country there can be such prevalence of discrimination and VIP culture as there is, here. Be it at the airport, roads, courts, cricket, jobs, admissions to schools /colleges, anything and everything, the influential can always have their way and the rest, >90% have reconciled to this truth or destiny?

Its no surprise that often foreigners are able to notice this within their first week of stay in India. It must be a shock for Greg Chappell to coach Team India where we have players who are so big that they will not show up for training with the rest of the 'boys'. Our Indian psyche is indeed very different and will probably make a good study for psychologists:-). Any takers?

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