Friday, May 16, 2008

We’re like that only.

Sue in Glasgow in the recently roughed over England has this comment to make: “I'm married to a non-Brit and after 10 years here he still looks on in amusement when he spots a voluntarily orderly queue.” [Italics mine.] I have a strong feeling she is married to an immigrant from the Indian sub-continent. In our interaction with the British rulers for nearly a century (1858 -1947), we made their language, their political philosophy, their administrative style, their second most popular sport and their near pathological compulsion to gamble our own but certainly not their voluntarily orderly queue habit, their sense of humour, their love for animals. Of late, Indians have been relieving the British of a lot of “White Man’s Burden” – Jaguar, British Steel and Celebrity Big Brother to cite just three examples. Rudyard Kipling’s poem was addressed to American Imperialism, you’ll recall. Indians have by now made their presence felt there too. In spite of all this success, India is not shining. India is no Super Star. Certainly not with all those farmer suicides, the neo-Naxals gaining a foothold and spreading their influence, the gap between the haves and have-nots widening. Not even in the wildest narcissistic “Mein Hoon 60+ Mother India, yaney ki asli Bharatmata in a frilly pink taffeta dress” dream, no matter who dreams it and packages it for the cocktail circuit, domestic as well as NRI. Enough already?