Friday, January 10, 2003

Pseudo Indians

Back in India our office had a car driver. His name was Shafi and he was a very honest person and would do his work with utmost sincerity. Never did he complain one bit about anything. But there was only one fault that I hated about him; his ardent support for Pakistan. Be it cricket or any other sports he would openly (yes, openly) support Pakistan. I asked him once why he did that - for which he had no ready answer. I asked him if we Hindu's or for that matter Indians had in anyway hurt his feelings or made him feel unwanted. His answer was negative. Try as I may to get to the bottom of it, I couldn't. Even today I don't have an answer for his behavior. Someone in the movie Kaante says there are two things that Indian's can't stomach: India losing cricket on the field and someone saying nasty things about his country. The latter applies a lot to me.

We should be patriots. Regardless of which religion or creed or caste or whatever it may be, the first thing that a person should imbibe within himself is a sense of respect and love towards the land that has given him his daily salt. Until such time a person develops Deshabhiman, Bhashabhiman or Gnyanabhiman the rest of his possessions are worth mere sand. My Indian friends here have great respect for UK. That is because they were born and brought up here and I admire their loyalty to the adopted country. Now why am I saying all this? What provoked me to say all this? It's an article that I read yesterday in Dawn (Pakistan's National Newspaper). It's my habit to read it everyday just to be in the know what goes on across the borders. Let me share some of the excerpts of that article.

"Question: Why does India's, and perhaps the world's, premier umpire, Venkatraghavan, chew gum like an adolescent? Sometimes the gob on one side becomes so prominent that he looks as if he has put a whole packet of that mindless narcotic in his mouth. He also seems to chew either angrily or hungrily, implying that he is either being eaten by a secret sorrow, or there were not enough vegetables available for breakfast. Both theories have their merits..... On the other hand, hunger works equally well as a reason. Where in South Africa is he going to find idlis for breakfast? ....Whoever created this miserably useless bit of rubber obviously took inspiration from the cow. Chewing cud is not the most inspirational thing you can do while judging the fate of nations in front of millions of television viewers. .........It is possible that he will be the only Indian visible on the television screen in the second half of the Cup, after the Great Indian Team has returned after being defeated by Zimbabwe. He cannot let the side, and the country, down. He can have all the paan he wants when back home."

"Question: Here is one I think I do have an answer to. Why do so many applicants for jobs, when wanting to describe their marital status, call it instead their martial status? Is dyslexia a natural trait of Indian English? Or is this some deep sign of Indian wisdom that hints at the truth by the elliptical process of insinuation? Marriage is so often a martial art. The better explanation is that English is at last becoming a democratic language.......Till the sixties there was open conflict between English and Hindi for the status of link language, or the national language if you like.....As English seeped down, its grammar took a hammering. Which is preferable? Growth or grammar? English is safe in India because of bad English."

These are just the beginning and ending snippets of the entire article. The author has a go at Indian cricket, BJP, Congress, VHP and all the lot. You can read it here. Who wrote it? Our own MJ Akbar - editor of the Asian Age. And this is not the first time he has written such articles about India and Indians in Dawn. I wonder what stops Akbar from migrating to Pakistan. If ever I meet him I will vent out some choicest vocabulary to this two faced rascal.


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