Tuesday, February 5, 2013

India 2013

I relished this tongue in cheek essay by Suhel Seth in The Telegraph of January 06. I think it captures the prevailing mood of urban, well-off, in-your-face India perfectly.

My friend Suhel, however, betrays his all-too-Indian failing of hypocrisy by signing off with the line ‘Suhel is poor’. No man who lives in metro India, is associated with the ad industry at a fairly high level, speaks English like his mother tongue, is at home on the internet and often appears on television is ‘poor’. That is a pose in rather poor taste, besides being hackneyed. Reminds me of a certain billionaire from the south who has always claimed to be ‘middle class’. Well, I am middle class myself, and I know and admit the difference. I am not poor: I guess I am better off than at least 90 per cent of the population. And I count my blessings every day.


Shubho said...

The essay by Suhel Seth is fantastic Sir. Let us wait and see how many of those people read for whom this essay is meant, and how many get the message behind it!

Shilpi said...

It is a good piece and written 6 years ago. But that poor joke of his made the rest of his sharp piece fall a little flat. I wish he'd taken a jab at himself saying, "...although Suhel Seth is hardly poor - since he can be reached at this email id... and is with the media..." - that would have been amusing and honest.

And there was, I'm sure, a horrible typo in the 'media' section.

I used to wonder about and even yell a bit at grad students here who used to talk about the poor lives they lead. I don't know whether the President of the school and the football coach believe they are "middle class". One makes close to half a million and one makes more, as far as I remember and after throwing a bit of a fit. I know a few professors who make much less (50,000) but don't call themselves poor and people making more and yet complaining that they don't have enough....

Abhishek Anand said...

Respected Sir,

The essay gives exactly the piece of advice that most 'successful' people in India want the young ones to follow. We don't exactly care about India's future, we only care about our future(definitely, we are digging our own graves by ignoring the interests of our country). I once had an argument with a classmate over this issue-'Whether we should care about ourselves only and be satisfied with our government or care about our country's overall interest.' He told me, in a voice confident as well as proud-"I am happy with the government, as I have all the necessities available in my house. You must think about yourself in order to be happy. When you go to a service center(probably, for cars), they ask you this question-'How were you treated?' a not 'how everybody was treated.' If you are very unhappy with the things going around, go and knock the judiciary's doors." He, in fact, is one of the more talented boys in school and has won noteworthy prices(none related to academics). Additionally, he is up-to-date with many political activities going around in the country. He even said once,"In a country like India, you will have to think about marks. Brazilian Universities have few students when you compare it with India. To survive in our environment, marks are most important."
No wonder, Mr. Seth wishes us an unworthy 2013. In a country where money matters most(money here simply means modest and earned without hard work, perseverance and patience, otherwise great money can also benefit the country), where is the scope for any sharp rise in the Human Development Index chart(we rank 134 as of 2011)? We seriously need to change our attitudes.
Beyond doubt, sir, Mr. Seth in not financially poor. However, when your country is speeding down the track of decline, you can't be rich either. One thing that the books I have read(not too many) taught me is that I can't be rich if my country is poor. In that sense, I shall always remain poor.

Yours faithfully,
Abhishek Anand