Do Indians Suffer From Identity Crisis?
The other day, I heard a gentleman announcing to the world - how the quality of Thums Up has improved manyfold after it was taken over by Coca-Cola. If insiders of Coca-Cola are to be believed, then Coke perhaps has not done anything to Thums Up's image, quality, and taste in any way, positive or negative after taking over. The only thing they have done is to put the by line "A Coca-Cola company" in white letters at the base of each bottle that goes out to market. Now if the quality (rather taste) really improves for that single white line imprinted at the bottom of the bottle, then the gentleman is perfectly correct in his announcement. If not then it's a sorry part that we are still carrying the notion of being compared, stamped, shadowed more worse even to be discarded or copied against a brand, name, place, individuals of non-Indian fame to prove ourselves worth acceptable even in our own eyes, let alone others. What the gentleman is suffering from is what I call Identity crisis.
Not to blame the gentleman, we are actually are brought-up this way only. Somewhere our fathers and fore-fathers are equal contributors to this identity crisis at large. Sometime ago my father told me a story that happened when he was a kid. Somewhere the confusion with the identity and inferiority complex was quite evident at that time also. Being from a village, education was definitely not on the priority list in those days for the people. For a particular community gracing the village known as "Gwala (doing business of milk)", the word education was as dangerous as playing with a King Cobra. Due to their nature of so called business coupled with the serious lack of basic etiquette of living, the community more often than not ended up in one fight or the other. At times the fights were so vibrant that the timely intervention of the not so friendly police department was called for.
In one such incident the police inspector started his investigation (On how and why ChampakLal ended up with a bleeding nose and half a dozen broken bones), by quizzing individuals, who claimed to be at the site of the crime. Being acquainted with the gentlemen at hand and their well to do education level, the Inspector decided to start with a person who held the highest degree (Standard 7th dropout: which also took him 15 years of hard work to achieve) among the Gwala brethren. A sea of confusion was awaiting the Gwalas, when the guy known as 'Nakhia' (his nick name), said his name was 'Laxmidhar'. The confusion has two parts. First - Who the hell is this Laxmidhar and Second - how Nakhia suddenly become one Laxmidhar? One patron among the confused lot (who happens to be the second highest degree holder after Nakhia) came forward to clear the air of confusion. He confirmed to the rest that Nakhia is still Nakhia, but when it comes to talking with a Police Inspector, 'Dhar' is just the way to go or rather the way to end your name with. You know style quotient and a symbol of being at par. Now what followed should go into the history books as the classic case of identity crisis. All Dhars starting with Sudhirdhar, Mahendradhar, Janardhandhar, Batuklaldhar, came and graced the stage. The frustrated Inspector has no option left but to entertain his Lathi vigorously on the respective backs of all the Dhars to get the real names out.
We Indians are not only masters in copy-catting but also a grossly confused bunch. We not only confuse ourselves but also somehow manage to confuse all who gets associated with us (directly or indirectly). Of late the famous Chinese whisper is giving sleepless nights to our Prime Minister along with handful of individuals in PMO, including our External Affairs & Defense Minister. The aggressive approaches; the red marks on the stones present on Indian Territory; occasional firing across the border and not to mention the poor Naga Chap whose head was clean shaved and marked Red permanently by the Chinese border troops. More than the Chinese, the poor chap is afraid of stray bulls now. The reasons for this hostile attitude of Beijing towards us were being explained by scholars of international politics across the globe. The reasons are few to count - starting from us becoming an economic power in this region along with vibrant growth and our diplomatic clout across the planet and what not. But if you ask me, I would differ and have my own set of reasons which I guess hurt the Chinese more than we as a growing nation.
Sometime back while attending a function I got to know the real reason. As China is famous for their food after the Great Wall of China, Chinese food happens to be a regular feature at any party. So the party in discussion was no different either. The hospitality was at its best when I was given company by none other than the host Mr. Kohli himself. After making himself comfortable beside me, he violently searched around the table for something before yelling at his servant - "Ramu, beta Achar aur Piyaj nehin diya tune". His Master's voice was gracefully put into action. Before taking a generous spoon of Achar and a fistful of Piyaz, on his plate already filled with Chinese Hakka Noodles, he gave me a smile and said - You know this Achar & Piyaz really go well with Chowmin, and I should try this someday. "Bina Piyaz aur Achar ka maza nehin ata", he added. Chowmin? Is there any such dish present in Chinese menu? As this was not enough to irate our helpless neighbours, he went on to ask for a Paratha with a butter slice, a katori of Dahi & Dal (Optional) and a fried lijjat Papad to combine with the Mushroom Chilly. During his Indo-Chinese meal he requested me to try some Gobi Manchurian with Rumali Roti and Raita, and went on to describe how he somehow managed get hold of the best Chinese cook in town for tonight's party.
Now thanks to Mr.Kohli and thousands alike for their tireless efforts over the years, the guys at the top of the Chinese helm of affairs have decided - enough is enough. They can't tolerate the torture administered to our food intentionally for decades together. Throw the bloody Panchsheel out of the window and get in touch with Pakistan and get into some serious business of making Bombs. Now they are so adamant that they tend to differ from India in every aspect. Even in the Climate change discussion at Copenhagen, they didn't even care for global warming, melting ice at the glaciers, and shortage of rain and sun burned polar bears. All they care about is to oppose India at any cost. This is how we run away with someone else's identity irritating a whole generation and generations to follow.
We are not only confused but grossly fond of copying. We copy, only to prove ourselves of international standard. For God's sake, they make movies or their movie hub is a place called Hollywood. This doesn't justify that we should come up with all the woods possible. But for some strange reasons we thought otherwise and managed to get impregnated with more woods than the number of movies we produce. Mumbai: - Bollywood, Tamil: - Tollywood, Kannada: - Kollywood, Orissa: - Ollywood. God knows how many such woods are available for the taking in India. Do you think these page 3 so called socialites who shamelessly flaunt one wood or the other at least thrice in each sentence they utter are any different or better than all the illiterate 'Dhars' of my Paternal village? The sorry part is that we feel proud to call our own Movie hub as Bollywood. Similarly, we flaunt that Chanakya is the Machiavelli of India. The poor chap Chanakya must be turning in his grave, just thinking how he could be compared to someone who saw the light of the sun hundred years after his death. But you pick up any political science book you will find this notoriously absurd statement written in bold letters.
I wish the day will come when we will get out of this UBI (Unfortunately Born in India) attitude and get to respect our own identity and at the same time show respect to others' identities. When we will realize that - we are what we are? Irrespective of naming our movie industry as Bollywood we would still continue to produce at least few hundreds of third graded movies each year. I hope someone is listening and would make sure that we won't call river Ganga as Ganges and figure out what is the possibility of US guys naming Hollywood as Mumbai or something.
Do Indians Suffer From Identity Crisis?
- » Published on September 29, 2010
- » Type: Opinion
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