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Foreign hand and your permanent age April 8, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in humor, ideas, india, life, reminisces-1990s.
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Funny but evocative sentence today :

MY three-dimensional husband, Scott, became a Flat Daddy this spring, when his frequent absences (he is an active-duty Navy pilot preparing for deployment) made me worry that our two young children were forgetting him.

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What timing for the latest article from Shekhar Gupta ! Only the day before I was engaged in a debate with my colleague Sanjika about how there was a time when everything in India was being blamed on the “foreign hand” – a non-Adam-Smith kinda invisible hand. That hand was always the cause of our problems, it was never something about ourselves, whether as individuals or as a society. Now Gupta writes :

So if, on the one hand, the Congress thinks the Muslims hate it because its prime minister loves the Americans, and the Marxists, who hate both, think their Muslims are conspiring with the same Americans to thwart their new global revolution, you can put it down to one more inevitable contradiction between the leader of this coalition and its biggest ally.

Or, on the other hand, you can figure it for what it is, a very Indian trait, typical of our lazy, self-indulgent, smug hypocrisy, which stretches from our fascination for everything foreign, from brands to money and education for our children, to our perpetual suspicion of everything foreign and, therefore, our perpetual search for the foreign scapegoat. Every time you see this hypocrisy, it reminds you of Jairam Ramesh’s unforgettable line on how we Indians love to hate to love to hate America: Yankee go home, but take me with you.

THE corporate world and financial markets are also not immune to this virus. Every time the Sensex goes up 600 points, it is because the world is finally coming to its senses and acknowledging the Indian growth story. But the moment it falls, it underlines the perils of allowing the unbridled entry of global predators, the greedy, immoral, slash-and-burn-and-grab-your-money-and-run FIIs and, worst of all, hedge funds.

This again reminds me of how when we talk of the British colonial take-over in the 1700s, we never talk about how we as a some loose geo-political entity( well, not quite a nation but anyway ) only aided the takeover, rather than put up a united resistance. Even given that colonialism cannot be justified on these or any other grounds, in the end it was about fighting a war in order to win. Yet, no part of the blame is laid on the strategic myopia and the greed of the rulers of that era. It is on this grounds that an article I read a few years ago ( that I now cant find nor remember the author ) talked about how the idea of celebrating India’s independence in addition to honoring the efforts of the dead and living freedom fighters, also includes a part that shamefully accepts that we were incompetent enough to get into that situation in the first place.

Article link here.

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By the way, whats your permanent age ?

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