Friday, 5 June 2009

Things that peeve me about you

There are certain things about you, my fellow citizen, that peeves me to no end. Unfortunately, lately, I have been more than once inclined to say it on your face and occassionally did too.
So let me put it all down for you..

1. The Brown man's burden
Stop bowing down to everything that is foreign. Stop licking every foreign ass that you come across. Why is it that we fail to recognise a talent unless it comes with a "foreign-approved" or "foreign-return" label on it.

2. The Proud traveller
Stop obsessing and gloating over business trips overseas. You were working there, were you not, and as a cheaper alternative to the indigenous labour if I'm not mistaken. Basically it does not mean shit to me. How many marks you have on your passport does not necessarily make me look at you with respect. Oh, so you went to the fancy getaway on your day off..wow, am thrilled.

3. The Non-Indian
So you think you are a nationalist, eh? The way I see it, you are still too caught up in your own regional vibes to be national. You huddle together in regional groups, speak your own language without being considerate to others, demand your kind of food be available in every nook of the country . You demand that others follow your customs and idiosyncrasies when in your region. You believe that your regional identity is the epitome of everything that is Indian.

4. The Victim
You are responsible for your choices and everything that happens as a consequence of that. Take responsibility for it. Grow up. Unless you are a true victim ( rape, war, abuse), stop posing as one over trivial matters.

5. The Denouncer
This is the best of the lot. You, the denouncer, will disagree against all prevailing logic that the above truly exist.

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Epilogue:
It is easy to just find problems, the difficult part is to propose solutions. I have had several discussions on this topic with various friends, some amicable, some heated. After much debate, I have come to believe that perhaps the only way we can sow the seeds of true national pride in our generations is by implementing a brief period of compulsory conscription.
Please be warned though, national pride involves being comfortable and proud of the fact of who you are, it is not "national" to deride/reject other cultures, that is jingoism.


21 comments:

  1. That's most of humanity that you've clubbed into 5 nice slots, with room for overlapping of course.

    Why conscription though?

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  2. So far the armed forces have been remarkably free of regional tendencies.
    I do agree it is rather an extreme step, yet something must be done to ensure that we carve out a national identity...an identity that precludes our regional ones.

    Of course I am open to lesser extreme suggestions which are equally effective.

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  3. Maybe I missed the point entirely but why or how exactly is conscription going to help carve out a national identity? I think national pride exists already it's just that it may need some polishing.

    And what you've pointed out in your 5 slots is not something brought on by lack of national pride, it's the economic divide that creates a sense of pride (or not, as the case maybe).

    A degree from a foreign university even if it's a fictitious one is revered and an Indian degree holds less value comparatively (on pure face value basis)not because we don't take pride in an Indian education, it's just that the foreign degree is indicative of our economic status and in a developing country that's what makes all the difference. Put all these small-minded individuals together and boom, you have a society a country even!

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  4. In my opinion, our sense of national pride is eclipsed by a sense of regional pride. This manifests itself in divisive groups in colleges[north/south groups], and is even capitalised by politicians of some states to their personal benefit. Hindi speakers being bashed in Assam, the whole marathi manus episode, if we really take national pride into consideration, how does this happen?
    If we are really proud of our nation, how come to most of us, Independence Day is just another holiday ? I am not talking at an institutional level, but at a common man-like-you-and-me level. Contrast our 15th August celebrations or the lack of it, to the 4th of July in US or Bastille Day in France. Of course, celebration does not necessarily foster national pride, yet it allows a certain importance to the day from a national rather than regional perspective. All other festivities that we experience are region, ethnicity, location specific.

    As for my support of conscription. I have so far never heard or seen, such regional factionalism in the armed forces, hence my belief. But of course, I may not be completely aware if there exists hidden undercurrents of regionalism in these forces too, being an outsider.

    I agree completely, that the 5 are not brought about by a lack of national pride, in fact the lack of national pride is one of the five. As an effect thus it effectively eliminates its chances of being a cause.

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  5. Divisive groups exist everywhere, that can't be taken as an indicator of the lack of national pride! And regionalism, casteism (i don't understand how that hell that still works!) what have you is what you make of it. In voter bank politics it plays a decisive role and it's VBP that dictates behavior outside of the situation as well, at least to a large extent.

    Also in the US and France, the language acts as a cohesive factor. That I'm sure contributes to this whole sense of national pride. (I'll have to come back to your post after some thinking.)

    Put people to the test and everybody stands together. That doesn't mean one takes the country to war every time the national pride dips (or so to speak!).Speaking on a personal level, if India did something other than breeding children like mosquitoes, incubating corruption and those firebrands who make me shudder with fear I know I'd be far more proud and less fearful of returning to the country.

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  6. Brilliant ! My comments to each:

    1. We are idiots.

    2. We are idiots and we prove it every now and then.

    3. We are idiots and we prove it every now and then and to add a flavour to it, we are parochial.

    4. Now, this one is for pure sympathy garnering.

    5. Denouncers are the best breed n the world. They make you feel that everything in the world is nice !
    Why denounce the denouncers ?!! :D

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  7. Kill 'em all. Go Narco! Go Abhishek!

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  8. @ narcotic
    I was merely suggesting conscription, not necessarily a war. This whole business of taking a country to war kind of reminds me of Wag the Dog..he he.

    @spiderman
    glad that we agree.

    @sirop
    he he...i am afraid if we try to eliminate these 5 types, we'd be left with very little people...

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  9. And THAT would be awesome! No crowds also! Yayy!

    BTW, the word verification word is ombol! Hahahahahaha...! You are bong no? Hope so, or it won't be funny!

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  10. oh...i am bong all right. Which other race is subjected to the curse of the topor other than us ?

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  11. I wasn't suggesting war either but it's in times like that that one sees national pride at its peak. I'm still trying to figure out conscription can work. Has it met any success in Iran?

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  12. Yes, you are very true that nationalism is at its peak in times of war. Perhaps having a common enemy allows us to overlook petty divisions within ourselves. However, the question that bothers me is why do we need an enemy in the first place, to be friends with each other? Is it because the state itself is an abstraction that is difficult to grasp, given our obvious ethno-cultural differences ? If that is so, then is it not better to forge a national identity pre-emptively, rather than wait for a crisis to force us into it?

    I do not know about Iran. When I say conscription, what I have in mind is the model followed in Germany or Taiwan.

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  13. @snake

    Interesting thread, this has turned out to be... I've reserved comment so far only because we've had this discussion several times before...

    What I've failed to understand is your vehement distaste for the 'national identity' only coming to the fore during crises... I've always thought it was simply a matter of priority potentials, nein?

    We have difference of opinions, arguments and fights even, within our family... I rarely know what goes on in their daily lives, being half a country away in any case... It takes a bit of a crisis, though, to make me drop everything and head back home to stand by them, though, innit? And stand by I do, as do you, when it comes right down to it... Priority potentials, like I said...

    I don't see this as a disturbing fact... In fact its heartening to see people unite, despite their obvious differences and despite the tenuousness of the concept of 'The Indian Identity', in the face of common adversity... It shows me that such a thing does indeed exist!

    Also, perhaps, its a little too far fetched to assume that the army does not reflect the same regional biases as the rest of the country... The army in peacetime certainly does... On the front, though, its a question of priority potential all over again...

    Or do you disagree? Hmmmm?

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  14. The distaste is not so much for the foreground presence of identity during crisis, rather it is directed more towards the appalling lack of it in times of peace .

    Case in point, a very interesting and relevant thread of articles started by HT on reverse racism practised by Indian nationals against Indian nationals..you know the articles, yeah?

    As for the army, well I am not sure, being limited, as I mentioned earlier by the fact of being an outsider.

    But in my limited exposure to the armed forces,in Fort William or MHOW for instance, I've never seen them gather in scattered groups based on ethnicity even in peacetime. They do gather in scattered groups based on units though.

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  15. @snake

    even a white supremacist can be a devout nationalist... don't confuse racism with non-nationalism, or vice versa...

    i can be american and hate blacks
    i can be indian and hate muslims

    each of us, we're a bundle of contradictions rolled up tight into one little body...

    connecting with a national identity doesn't prevent us from falling into the same prejudicial traps, nor does it necessarily helps us climb out of them...

    celebrating 4th of july with the rest of the country doesn't stop me from putting on the funny conical hat and mask... c'est la vie

    racism and regionalism occurs in many forms... some overt, some subtle... you dont have to stand around in little regional groups (in MHOW or fort william) to be racist... :)

    i'll leave you on this note- you wouldn't want to walk around with an erection all the time, would you? as long as you can get it up when you need to you should be good... there's so much else to do in life, otherwise... :-P

    PS. no literal rebuttals, please!

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  16. ah my friend, missing the point here, are we not?

    You can be Indian and hate Indians, but what you can be or should be is an entirely different issue.

    What matters is what exists, as it is, of today and that is a very stark regionalism which at times overrules the minimal courtesies expected from one national to the other. I am not saying that a strong national identity will guarantee a regionality less nation.

    The question is not whether a national identity will save us from all ills that plague the society, the question is, is it not more desirable?

    On racism and nationality, if you closely examine the nature of racism, it is very unusual that a nationalist racist believes his race to be superior than the endogenous races yet inferior to the exogenous ones.
    A white supremacist american may have racial prejudices against other coloured americans, yet never would he look upto a german as his superior. Yet here we discriminate against our own ethnic groups, but suck up to other perceived "superior" races. That is what smeeks of a lack of nationalism.

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  17. ...minimal courtesies expected from one national to the other...
    how about one person to another... one human to another? as long as we're thinking wishfully, about things as they should be... why not do away with the silly lines... Hmmm?

    The question is not whether a national identity will save us from all ills that plague the society, the question is, is it not more desirable?
    Certainly not! How about a world identity? A people identity?

    A white supremacist american may have racial prejudices against other coloured americans, yet never would he look upto a german as his superior.
    Really? And you are so sure because?

    Nope. I am not convinced, Snakey. Wasn't the other day, and amn't today. Yes there's a lot of merit in what you say, but all of it taken together it just doesn't stick! Too much tenuousness, if I may say so...

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  18. So what do you propose..we continue the way we are?

    Happily together like a dysfunctional family?

    It is through denial that we continue to overlook our problems. Such denial will continue to break up the country into further minuscule states, such denial will legitimise the alienation felt by the ethnic diasporas.

    Unfortunately, the fruits of the Divide and Rule policy have not only scarred our national perception, I see that it has also blinded us to the divisions that stare us in the face.

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  19. Ha. An excellent categorisation. If I may add just one more - label them whichever way you wish.

    Weeniepricks who live off this country for 20-odd years, and then suddenly scoot off for distant shores because they feel this country has too many problems for their tender hearts, souls, and bodies to deal with.

    Fuck you weeniepricks. Stop calling it racism. You deserve to get your arses whupped.

    Right, rant time over. Dude, drop me a line if you're in Delhi sometime. Lots of Dream Theater et al to be enjoyed over beer.

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  20. Oh, I would love to catch up with you. But it will have to wait a while, I am leaving town for an odd 45 days on Tuesday. We'll have to do it when I return, yes?

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  21. My opinion on the 5 points-

    1. Utter lack of self respect to indulge is ass licking.

    2. Utter lack of self respect AND deprived of all grey matter if you expect your ass to be licked because of the stamps on your passport. One person I know, a very revered lawyer, proudly proclaimed that he received a "one year, multiple entry visa to Japan". There were quite a few who applauded that.

    3. Our regionalism overshadows our nationalism in our country. But does it change when you are abroad, in a foreign country? I have seen in changing there. More of nationalism and a little less of regionalism.

    4. Heh. Self pity. Wallowing is despair for all the choices that YOU made out of YOUR FREE WILL. Find a spoon full of water to drown your tiny self.

    5. Always. The idiot. Has to open the mouth. Has to disagree.

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