Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The New Bad Word In Town

We, in morality replete India, are full of taboo phobia - either because we are soft (which we are) or we know that others are soft. Wait, no, not soft. Sensitive is the politically right term (and sometimes haughtily arrogant). When you dig deeper, you also find that we also make the active (or silent) choice to be the product of ourselves. We are like that only types. We just are, we take it way more seriously than we ourselves will possibly admit or imagine and you have to respect that. Otherwise we shoot you down.

Another thing we really love is our dislike for bad words. We just outright hate some words. British, America, Western... Add to that 'foreign' - the one that the F in FDI stands for in the most recent bad word dislike phobia outbreak that has occurred. It's not so much about the pros and cons. It seems like the phobia that the British instilled into us when they cushioned themselves in on our bounty and threw us out after. Modern diplomacy indeed is forgiving or we'd be giving them a harrowing time about it still.

That apart, we really are so scared of those bad words we don't even want to grapple with them reasonably. Foreign is not bad, not when it will bring in much needed cash to bring the Indian Govt's bank accounts up to speed. Where it may slowly, or slyly, step into farmer's profits and your and my supermarket price, we'd have to *draw some lines. But the word is really not all that bad. At least not by the number of 'foreign' products we wear and use. At least not ideologically bad. We just can't come to terms with the concept of our juta being from Japani at the same time as our dil being from Hindustani. Well, if Hindustani was as good, we'd all rush to it. To be safe, we can just leave it to good taste - the only question is who's?

Another thing we don't realise is that there is nothing they can take away that's truly ours. Everything else that they can, which is ours indeed, can be rebuilt. The possessions that form our true and unstealable net worth as a nation are our abilities, commonhood, principles and values. If all the retail outlets soon in India are American owned, they can only work if we (India/Indians) allow them to. If we do sell themselves to them, only then do we sell out. It's not a government policy that sells out. We just need to be possessive enough about what's ours that can't be stolen away. Some education in that direction will do some good. Perhaps some watered down lessons in economics like this & this

Having said that, our national values, principles and commonhood aren't exclusive to being Indian. They are universal and have to do with respect, integrity, honesty and humanness in dealings and structure. We don't know whether Walmart will come and eventually exploit and plunder the nations like the British did. They are as American as are Vijay Mallya's liquor acquisitions abroad are Indian. As long its an American name stays a name while in India and better benefits are ours, we shouldn't have a problem. When and if they do, there'll be that line well defined in the *FDI in Retail policy. That should really be our only worry, really.