Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blood on the ballot

I was being interviewed by the BBC (Mihir Bose) this afternoon. It was one of 'those' interviews. The Empire taking a look at restless natives as they get ready to go to the polls. Mihir was in full flow. He is articulate and good at what he does - but even a senior journo like him, has to follow a script. So, the questions asked were direct and obvious, snide and supercilious. No issues. Journos have a job to do. But India getting trashed is not a story I care to be a party to. Never mind what I may say and feel privately. But why let the world hear the worst about us, when there is a more positive story to tell?? There is much to be proud of? I concentrated on talking about India's many achievements, since I was pretty sure the others interviewed had happily confirmed the worst theories about the country. I bristled at the 'dirty Indians' question the most. I think th French, for example ,are much dirtier - they rarely bathe! Or brush their teeth. Even the poorest of the poor in our villages use neem sticks (far more hygienic than toothbrushes) to clean their teeth. And bathe daily by the roadside or the village well. If ablutions are performed in public it is only because there are no toilets provided by the government. Why blame them??
Mihir is an excellent sports journalist, and his focus will be on the IPL matches starting over the weekend. All the glam owners are with their teams in South Africa. Srk has more or less eaten his words vis-a- vis Gavaskar, and declared Sunny as his 'idol'. That spat is effectively over. Nafisa Ali has 'forgiven' the sexist remarks made by some BSP goon, and ended the controversy by saying he is like her 'CHHOTA BHAI'. Hello???
One more political murder, this time a shooting incident, after yesterday's hanging. Arnab Goswami looked mighty agitated as he went into overdrive with the 'Blood on the ballot' theme. Stick around. This is just the beginning. Aagey aagey dekho.... hota hai kya!


ranjith said...

aur hoga kya?? koi bhi politican win hoga aur public lose hojayenge..

person 1: "I'm going to vote X"
person 2: "X is idiot dude"
person 1: "Better idiot than the Y you're supporting"

Well, in this case I feel people of Andhra Pradesh's got a Z, an alternative, called LOK SATTA party.

Dunno how it is at other places..

Roshni said...

Yes shobhaa jee this is exactly what I feared and commented on your last blog.Was disappointed with PM's comments of independents being spoilers!

VaiVa said...

The true spirit of 'Superstar India' Jai Ho!

shanky said...

i think......we should choose ryt party not person....>[:)]

Rahul Viswanath said...

Hmmmmmmmmm ...... Miles to go before we sleep !!!

Aagey aagey dekho.... kya nahi hota hai .......

Shachi said...

My friends here in US are also gearing up for IPL....they are setting up the Fantasy IPL league and although I am not part of it, it's fun to observe the activities :) And it will also be fun to listen to the heated debates on the teams/players once it all begins!

Anil Kumar said...

Bloody hell. I guess Kolkata knight rider owner and coach are reading shobha de blog and the comments.

SRK, the bollywood joker has apologised to Gavaskar. That's a good sign because he is team owner and not a cricket expert.

John Buchanan has come out to criticize Gavaskar...although mildly. That's the correct approach. A great coach against a legendary opening batsmen.

Gajendra said...

yeah....if not for the incompetent indian rulers at the time, our rich country wouldn't have submitted itself to the cruel colonialism, it would have retained its identity in a much bigger way than it is today. Just imagine all of us in our traditional indian attire for example.....haha...what a sight..!!!

introspection said...

First things first. I am very glad about what you said to BBC in your interview. Yes, we are far better (general hygiene) even in rural India than the French, the Americans, the world. Period. And India has far more achievements AND achievers than the world knows about. There are so many around that do their bit and live as average human beings. Take all our chalta phirta techies for instance - some of them are a genius lot.
Yes, this is just the beginning..!!

aagey aagey wohii hoga jo manzoor -e khuda hoga..!!
Har shaakh pe ulloo baithaa hai, iss gulshan ka ab kyaa hoga....?

Gulshan mein elections hongey..!!
cheers..!! Great post this one Shobhaa.

Rajesh said...

I agree with you Shobhaa... the international media is looking to put down India, anyways Indian media is no good, they are even worse they are openly supporting a particular party.... feel disgusted about the media. There is not even one English news channel that is atleast 10% neutral...

kala said...

I know what they mean by dirty. 1.We generally dont use deodarants. 2.We dont have that groomed look. 3.Well, most of us are ugly and shapeless. 4.Our toilet manners are pathetic.5.We are loud and we try to jump queues.6.We casually use balconies or patios for drying clothes.7.We stare.8.Finally, we are not finished products. We are raw. This I have to say observing Indians abroad. And Indians who reside in India take everything for granted and their behaviour is not very pleasing to say the least.
Of course there are exceptions and that number is growing thanks to education and exposure.

Sakshi said...

Good to know that you didn't rubbish India. I don't understand why people do it at all...we don;t stand to gain anything by calling ourselves corrupt and dirty. (And hello, we aren't that. I bathed daily even in the chilling delhi winters...for the first time :P)

It's nice to know there are people like you who put up a united front in front of the world, no matter how much we differ within. It's important. We can't possibly gain anything by letting the world think low of us.

And it's different from hiding our shortcomings. It's just...telling them what they need to know and hiding what they don't have the mental and cultural resources to comprehend.

Good one! Proud of you. :)

kala said...

Forgot to mention about the red spit found everywhere. Paan!

Rajlakshmi said...

No nation is perfect... we have lotzzz of positiveness with us ... why not promote that and in the meanwhile try to eradicate the negativeness... for 1 single reason - negativeness, thrashing & insulting news are HOT news... while good news is boring....

Anonymous said...

(That spat is effectively over)
Sure ?

kala said...

Only when we can face our defects, we can progress. It is better that we criticise ourselves and correct ourselves than expose fully to others. Positives are taken for granted. But not negatives. We lack civic sense, social responsibility and whenever things go wrong we blame the government. If the handwriting is legible and clean, the student will get better marks. If the handwriting is illegible, even if the answer is correct, the student may lose marks. If we ask somebody not to spit, not to cross the road when vehicles are plying, not to talk while watching a movie, not to dump garbage on the roadside and such things, we usually get angry responses. Loudspeakers are on full blast, diwali is celebrated throughout the night, Azaans wake up sleeping people, bandhs are called at will making taxis and autos disappear for the harried travellers. We do not know what awaits us tomorrow.

Mayank said...

Hi De,
why our media gone so biased if they will do like this then God knows what will happen,Not even a single channel is doing there job for what they are suppossed to do,
Today is the first time i have heard such words from our respected priminister and i will say thats very bad of him , i pray to god that some change took place,i have an idea if Both BJP and Congress Joined hands then all Regional Parties will have no meaning and all the devlopment will be fullfilled if our politician really want to do thegood for the nation,TRUTH we all know,
Jai Hind


Anonymous said...

The elctions are getting bloodier, murkier and merrier. And sadly so. Electronic channels should take credit of making mockery of serious issues. we don't expect much from our politicos'. Mam' with your wide audience and readership u should take lead in creating a contest - the best incident(cheapest incident would sound cheap) that made up (!) Election 2009' - my first take Sanjay Dutt claim that he was tortured under TADA for being son of muslim mother. And loook at me who thought that NARGIS was a beautiful INDIAN lady?

Anil Kumar said...

Kala is ABSOLUTELY right. The things which Kala has mentioned are a REALITY in this country and DO NOT EXIST in many parts of western world.

By staying in denial mode does not help any country.

Pakistan was in denial for last 25 years that terrorists do not exist in Pakistan. Now it is bearing the fruits and being hit at home by it's home grown terrorists.

There are some countries like England which has it's own filth and can be compared to refined form of India.

You can find lots of dirty people in England who probably don't take bath but get away from it because of cold weather and no dust in the air.

Eglish people use foul language all the times..including ladies. But they have a limited vocabulary when it comes to using foul language. People in India have done Phd in that topic. You can find teenagers drunk on the streets on Friday and Saturday night. English beggers ask you for money...but since english beggers are of refined form, they will come up with some excuse like "Could you please give me 50 pence as I have to take a bus ticket etc. kids as young as 10 year old can be seen smoking in the parks ...I have the previlage to watch an 8 year old girl helping her 5 yr old sister/friend to smoke ciggrette in Yorkshire. You can find broken beer bottle glasses on the street everywhere as everyone above 12 year old drinks in that country..including mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers. People eat worst kind of sandwich for few pence but can't stay away from drinking. People taking their dogs out and when it eases out, leave the filth on the roads and parks, Many people are rude and still living in past glory ....The list goes on and on...The benefit program of English Government helps almost 10-15 million people as of today. People not in jobs or ill get some 250-300 punds a month when they are not in job and get other benefits like medical, housing also. This program is available as long as one is alive.

If these people are not helped by government programmes then the POORS OF ENGLAND WILL LOOK SAME AS POORS IN INDIA. That's where OUR DEMOCRACY differs from DEMOCRACIES of western world. In India POORS can't earn enough even after working full day while people who don't sweat at all in england have a better living standards for decades with government help.

An englishmen was candid enough to tell me that before England took control of India, the English man didn't even know about the concept of bathing. In fact they learn it from India that one should take bath every day.

By contrast the Americans and canadians in general are well behaved, no filth on the streets, drink sensibily, polite and many of them down to earth. One reason for that is that the law is brutal in that country. One in 30 person has gone to jail...whether it's felony charge or a traffic ticket violation. There is no VISIBLE bribery even at police levels. Just remember that jails in USA are more crude because of people from all races in it with BLACKS in majority. It's a white man's worst nightmere to be in jail because of culture of gay and LONG JAIL punishments for some of the minor crimes.

Just to give you an example to understand the level of punishment in USA. In California if you do a petty crime 3 times...For example if you steal a jeans from a shop, slapped an individual or something similar 3 times. The moment you are convicted 3rd time for a petty crime you get a jail term for 26 years...yes TWENTY SIX years.

The American government is WORST in many respects as it tries to poke it's nose everywhere with complete disregard of regional sentiments BUT have some of the nicest people on the planet. When I say that, I mean even a company boss treats an ordinary worker with lots of respect. And the culture is primarily of working hard and is not dependent on government aid like England.

Coming back to India, there are two type of people who are in denial mode. First group is people in middle class who have not experienced foreign countries up close and have India's image based on our news media. It's a narrow picture of India. A one or two week visit doesn't give that insight. You experience a country, it's people, it's system only when you live there at least for a few months.

The other group of people are our elite class including Shobha De, celeberities etc. These people frequently meet foreigners in some capacity. These people are related to politics, cinema, sports, journalism etc . These group of people don't want to talk about ugly side of India. If this group of people, start exposing the real Indian filth with their western counterparts then it won't be comfortable for them when negotiating business or their personal desire to feel good.

There is 3rd group. The REAL LOSERS are people who have been trapped in these DIRTY INDIAN SECRETS for centuries. This third group of people are poor masses and many of them experience it on daily basis and for them it's not a matter of pride or to hide.

The fact of the matter is that there are lots of GOOD things about India and there are some darkest things in India.

Mihir Bose doesn't need to be told as he himself emigrated from India back in the 1960's and knows more about it and a master in his profession.

Our TV MEDIA deservers BHARAT RATAN who only highlight the "Nanga Nacho aur Mast Raho" culture of western world and projects youngsters to misbehave in public. But if the TV programmes start educating people on good manners, how to behave in public, make education compulsory and make efforts to start teaching the rights of individual and many other good things of western world then we don't need to HIDE or DENY many of these.

There are miles to go before India can stand up with it's head held high.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

So what exactly did Mihir bose say? Did he really ask why India/ans were dirty? Interesting if that is really what he asked... in terms of physical filth, or was it a rhetorical question open to interpretation? Interesting because he should have the answers to that and be able to articulate them himself. Why did he think you would be answerable to that allegation?

I am not sure I would even start the debate about which culture is dirtier than another. Each culture is a different animal and each one stinks differently depending in which mud they wallow in... some physical, some moral, some venal. The french stink and we do too and so does everyone I know.

In apologising to Gavaskar SRK did what a good businessman should. Lose a battle now and then to gain in the future.

Nafisa and her patronsising chota bhai remarks make me wonder if she really even understands the real problems that the average woman in her constituency faces.

athi said...

Hmm.. Was a little disappointed with Nafisa's stance.

But then I have zero expectations with most people involved with politics ,in India or otherwise. So doesn't really hurt :)

Sidhusaaheb said...

The worst about India is there for the world to see. Your acknowledgement of it or otherwise would not change the facts.

In my opinion, it would only reduce your credibility with respect to being truthful.

Why criticise the Big B when he chooses to be in denial mode about the portrayal of India's poverty on film, BTW, when you seem to share his outlook, at least in principle?

Say whatever you want to say about all that is there to be proud about, but why shy away from acknowledging all that is wrong with the country?

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