Sunday, September 23, 2007

Midnight again. My old, faithful 'Vim' again. (Guess its time I should move on and get myself a new, fancier dog, Vim 7.0).
I wanted to write this since I don't know when, but I never managed to find the right words. Even now, I scarcely caress the notion that I will be able to express all that I feel effectively, but, you know, I have to do it sometime, and if I don't start, I'll never do it. Maybe I'll write again, but then, its common knowledge that it turns out best when you do it the first time.
"Where is the horse that doth untread again
His tedious measures with the unbated fire
That he did pace them first?"
These, obviously, aren't my words, and Willie Shakespeare quilled them a few hundred years ago.
Unfortunately, what I'm going to write about now, wasn't something that Willie could ever write about, because such a situation never arose during his time.
Ditch England and Willie, and come over to our own backyard - Andhra Pradesh. Well, I, and possibly you may ditch England, but a true Telugu will ditch Andhra, and, by hook or by crook, get a green card. Somehow, a man isn't a man in Andhra unless he has visited the states.
Most of the times it has to do with dowry. A man's value doubles after he returns from the states.
Funny. I've known a lot of Telugu people, and, most of them are highly intelligent people. Yet, unfortunately, very few of them could break out of the shackles of caste and dowry, and yet fewer of the fantasies of migrating to the US.
If you've stayed in Andhra, you would know that films like Hyderabad Blues aren't an exaggeration. In fact, there is a temple which is popularly known as the "visa temple".
Well, I once had a discussion with a person who had moved to the US. She was really urging me to make the move as well, and she gave me arguments like what is good in India, you can do better work in the US, you can earn more money in the US, everything is so much better in the US and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, she never cared to dig below the surface and find out the reason why US is thriving.
Well, what is America without immigrants. The native American (by native, I wouldn't go as far back as red Indians, but by native, I would refer to the whites and blacks who settled more than a hundred years ago) is mostly uneducated, useless scum of the Earth, who, invariably, possesses a gun and is not afraid to use it. He believes that the US has attained an elevated state in this world, and now, it is the duty of the US to elevate the rest of the world. What has he done to elevate either himself or the rest of the world, he won't be able to tell you. In fact, 10% of the Americans are so backward that they think that the Sun revolves around the Earth (When was Copernicus born? They are even more primitive than that).
And yet, America is, today, after the demise of the erstwhile Soviet bloc, the only superpower in the world. I guess I've made my point, but, the question still remains, will the Telugu be able to read between the lines, and, more importantly, change himself and the state in which farmers commit suicide on a yearly basis?

10 comments:

the said...

Interesting post!

However, I have some queries, how do you know so much about the US? I am alluding to your comment, the native american is mostly uneducated, useless scum of the earth. Could you tell me where did you come to know of it?

I am also assuming that staying in AP and working there would somehow stop the farmers from committing suicide? I do not understand the rationale. Could you explain please?

-The Pilgrim

W H said...

Well.. hmm.. well, I may seem to be racist here in my blog, but I am allowed to be racist, ain't I? You will realize that there is a word called 'perspective'. Not that I care to justify my words, or rather my perspective, but, that Mr. George W Bush is the president of the USA speaks a lot. What happened as the aftermath of Katrina speaks a lot for itself.
Also, when I generalize Americans, or for that matter any community, I certainly allow the fact that the generalization will only apply to a fraction of the community (say between 50 % and 75 %, just giving examples), and there will be a minority which will refuse to be generalized. America did produce people like Al Gore and Donald E Knuth (just giving examples here, again).
Again, most of us, at least us Indians, will agree that the average British during the raj was invariably racist, and looked down upon India. There were Britishers like Derozio who were indophiles, but the majority of Britishers looked down upon India and the Indians. Giving you another example of generalization.
Your second question, I guess, you shouldn't be asking me, but asking yourself. The question is, what can you do, and what are you doing? Where you stay matters because of issues like 'sensitization' and 'awareness' and 'ground realities', which are, usually, if not always, the essentials of breeding the desire to do something, something worthwhile.
Lastly, for every so called NRI of the first generation, the question he/she *SHOULD* at some point of time ask himself, is why he left India? The true reason, down to the bare bone. Unfortunately, this is a tough one, and cannot be answered in a few hours, and it involves a lot of dissection, of the person within, and the circumstances without. One needs to be George Bernard Shaw, or maybe not.

rads said...

hmm.. ok, I obviously can't answer for all, but:
I am a telugu though not from AP. Doesn't make me any less or more from the average guy there, but I have my reasons on why I left and how I choose to give back.

Honestly, there's really nothing wrong in aspiring and wanting to march forth and place yourself in a better place than you are in. US is truly the land of opportunity, and it is a subjective one at that. We can't go around getting judgemental on how others lead their lives right? :)

the said...

I read the first 3 paragraphs of your comment as an explanation to my first question.

I understood you are racist, generalize based on the leaders.

But I still did not get the answer for my question,

"How do you know native Americans are mostly uneducated, useless scum of the earth" - or - what is your source of information for that conclusion?

And before you say, because they elected George Bush, tell me, how do you know they did that?

Also, interestingly tell me does selecting Laloo as the rail minister or rabri as the chief minister reflect on the citizens?

Second question:-

Before NRI's ask those questions to themselves, let me ask couple of them to you:

1. What are you doing for those farmers? You are there in India, so tell me more about you activities?

2. You live in a city? Right? Your parents live in a city? Did your grandfather live in a city too? So let me ask you this, whoever, made the transition from a village to a city - why did they do that?

W H said...

Rads.. Not that I'm trying to be judgemental on how other people lead their lives, but, you know, sometimes you have to ask this question (not to you as a person, but to the entire community), what was invested on you and what were the returns from you.. I'm not trying to change the way you live. The desire to do something obviously has to come from within. They can't be pushed from outside. The only reason why I wrote this post was because I did a post-mortem, and it was only appropriate to make my views readable to some people.. There is always a chance that this will, in someone reading it, start a thought process which might lead to a few people being benifited..

pilgrim.. I'll answer your questions..
> I understood you are racist,
> generalize based on the leaders.
We are all racists, to the bone. Face it. Some people lie to the entire world, and some others even manage to lie to themselves. But the fact remains, we are all racists to the core. (Yes that includes us Indians, Americans and even the Pygmies and Jarwas)

>"How do you know native Americans are
> mostly uneducated, useless scum of the
> earth" - or - what is your source of
> information for that conclusion?
Tell me the percentage of Americans that go to college (or do you call it High school.. I don't know.. In India we still follow the British system)


> And before you say, because they
> elected George Bush, tell me, how do
> you know they did that?
I assume here that it was the Iranians who elected George Dubya Bush?

> Also, interestingly tell me does
> selecting Laloo as the rail minister
> or rabri as the chief minister reflect
> on the citizens?
It obviously does. doesn't it. Isn't it the duty of each individual to ensure that people with a record of corruption don't become the rulers of the country. Face it. If the leader is bad, and the administration is bad, its only because WE ALLOW IT TO BE BAD. Its a collective blame people have to take.


> 1. What are you doing for those
> farmers? You are there in India, so
> tell me more about you activities?

> 2. You live in a city? Right? Your
> parents live in a city? Did your
> grandfather live in a city too? So let
> me ask you this, whoever, made the
> transition from a village to a city -
> why did they do that?

Pilgrim, I really didn't expect you to take this to a personal level, you do disappoint me. Still. I'll answer your questions.
1. What I am doing for farmers in India?
As to what I am doing in my individual capacity to help farmers, I won't answer that question. If I am doing anything, it is not to blow my own trumpets that I am doing it.
What every Indian here is doing, is that he is contributing to the country in some way, by means of bringing money into the country, by means of voting for people in the country.
Did you ever wonder how Israel, a country with people of so many different origins, victimized for centuries, gathered together some 60-70 odd years ago, and now are the most successful people around the world? Try and read something about Israel. And, maybe, learn something from them.
BTW. You know, that you started replying by bringing personal things into picture, rather than really trying to analyze the phenomenon speaks a lot for itself and your argument.

the said...

I didn't bring it down to a personal level. I am still analyzing the phenomenon.

If you would have thought about it, you could have replied, "Somewhere someone makes that transition to the city, because they believe that they can somehow lead a better life." And this is not even like, village to city, even village to a different village. And every person has started out from a village and someone in their ancestry did decide to move to a city. Because, that person thought he can lead a better life, and that is why some people dream about going to the US. So there is no reason for an NRI to question, "Why did he leave India?" Every human being wants to live a better life. He will try to do it, where he can with the least resistance and effort. Borders drawn by man are irrelevant.

I work with an Israeli who at some point in his life used to be in Israel and now is not in his own country. But what he did when he was there in his country counts and so does every NRI who at some point was in his country.

You can still help your country even if you are not in the country. And smart alec comments like, "It was Iranians who elected George Bush" is not gonna work. Try to read about his election stuff sometime.

And btw, the percentage of kids going to high school in the US is more than % in India. Percentage of kids wanting to study more after their PhDs are more as compared to India.

W H said...

So finally, after a lot of whining, you, although reluctantly came to the point..

"Somewhere someone makes that transition to the city, because they believe that they can somehow lead a better life."

Man, always, wants to benifit himself. He is the centre of the circle he is concerned about. But then, there IS a circle he is concerned about, and when you, or someone else who moved to the US or any other country made his/her choice to move, you/anyone else just reduced the diameter of that circle.

> But what he did when he was there in
> his
> country counts and so does every NRI
> who
> at some point was in his country.

Assuming, again, that what really counts is what a person did when he left the country. Won't you agree with me, that most Indian shortly after earning the highest degree they can earn in India. Shortly could be say upto 5 years. Till the time you are earning your degree, you haven't done anything significant for the country (Exceptions are always there, but the norm is that most people haven't done anything). Come on, you havent even paid half the money spent by the government on you, coz 5 years of taxes won't come to that much. It is only after you have completed your education that you START contributing majorly to the country. During your education, it is actually the country that contributes to you, by means of subsiding your education etc.

Now, as Rads said, you really can't be judgemental about how other people lead their lives (Thinking of it again, its not possible to not be judgemntal, even Rads does it I'm sure, in many ways, in which even she may not be aware of). I certainly have no right to control how you lead your life. And even if I did have a right to control and did in fact control, it wouldn't be of much avail. The desire has to come from within, not from without.

> And smart alec comments like, "It was
> Iranians who elected George Bush" is
> not gonna work.
Now, I may be a smart alec, but its still better than being a yokel. True, I haven't read George Bush's election stuff, and I don't have to. The affairs of the United States of America hardly affect my life and there is no reason why I should interest myself with the election campaign of a foreign country (I'm not going to vote, am I). So, now, I may be a smart alec, but aren't you expecting something illogically? Be real. The world is not the US alone. and the United States elections is a United states phenomena.

Secondly, let me make myself more clear, although I didn't read, or follow the last American elections, I have read and followed what Bush has said, done and (undone and resaid and clarified).. I have followed that pretty well (Yes that concerns me. Once America has chosen its president, he assumes a stature that is larger than himself, he is the premier of a country)..
I have also heard Al Gore speak, and I have read a lot of Al Gore stuff since. Not on American politics, but on the global warming front, and I have come to respect that man a lot.
Before Bush, I was also a fan of Clinton. I never understood why he was impeached. The Americans showed their double standards there again. On one hand, Americans tend to separate a person's professional life from his personal life, treating them as to separate entities. And on the other hand they impeach a president for something he did years ago, in his personal life. Clinton was a very educated personality, and, more importantly a statesman. Bush can never become a statesman.

> I work with an Israeli who at some
> point in his life used to be in
> Israel and now
You'll find very few such Israelis, percentage wise.


> And btw, the percentage of kids going
> to high school in the US is more than
> % in India. Percentage of kids wanting
> to study more after their PhDs are
> more as compared to India.
Here again, you clearly don't understand anything. Most of the children in India don't go to school because they can't afford it. But of those who go to school, the percentage of dropouts is very few, and those who drop out, drop out largely because of economic causes.
Percentage of kids wanting to study after their PhDs is a lot more than in India because of two reasons
1) Very few people do their PhDs in the US,as compared to India
2) The economic pressures in the United states is very much different from that in India

> Borders drawn by man are irrelevant.
Maybe for you, and maybe for all others who left a country for another. But for many others, this is not true. Many people, have a feeling of allegiance.

I don't remember exactly what I'm going to write next. I had read that a long time ago. Once Swami Vivekananda was asked a question: he preached so much about love of the nation, but isn't love of a nation in conflict with the idea of love of mankind and loving the entire world?
Swami Vivekananda replied that if you can't even love your own country, how can you love the entire world.

Look at it from another perspective. If people there were so many people who could give up their lives, or the prime time of their lifes in their attempt to make Indian independent, can't the Indian today do as much to make his small little part in completing this political independence towards making every citizen in this country completely independent, economically and socially. Now I don't claim that I, or most people who live in India do live by this principle, but many people who I know, TRY to live by this ideal. At least they TRY.

W H said...

I wrote:

The affairs of the United States of America hardly affect my life

This was basically an error. What I actually meant was that how the election campaigning in America is proceeding, I can't help it. So whether I read about it or not, it makes no difference. I'm not a voter; my opinion doesn't count.

Another point which, although isn't ambiguous, I'd still like to clarify:
I wrote:
2) The economic pressures in the United states is very much different from that in India
By this I don't mean that there is no economic pressure in the US. I only mean that they are different. I know that higher education is more expensive in the US than India. But there are other socio-economic factors that a person has to face in India, that people in the US never have to face.

A humble request. If there is anything that I ought to know, you feel, please enlighten me, rather than just give another run of the mill smart comment like:
Try to read about his election stuff sometime.

You:
> And before you say, because they
> elected George Bush, tell me, how do
> you know they did that?
Me:
> I assume here that it was the Iranians
> who elected George Dubya Bush?
You:
> And smart alec comments like, "It was
> Iranians who elected George Bush" is
> not gonna work. Try to read about his
> election stuff sometime.
I just can understand is that, how does "his election stuff" change the fact that the Americans chose him as a president? If here, you feel that there is some information I'm missing out on, which I don't know, and hence cannot draw the relation, please enlighten me.

the said...

A humble request. If there is anything that I ought to know, you feel, please enlighten me, rather than just give another run of the mill smart comment like:
Try to read about his election stuff sometime.


My suggestion, do
more reading before you conclude on anything. If I tell you, you are hearing something which I think. You should read yourself and decide before you come to any conclusions.

And, btw, I said what I wanted to say or as you call 'whine'. But you didnt even think of entering that issue but saying I have brought it down to a personal level.

W H said...

> My suggestion, do
> more reading before you conclude on
> anything. If I tell you, you are
> hearing
> something which I think. You should
> read
> yourself and decide before you come to
> any conclusions.
You ASSUMED, that I didn't read.
What makes you think that I haven't done enough reading already. And, gosh, you think if you tell me what to read, I'll read that and believe it blindly?
My advice to you here is that its not the reading thats the problem, the reading just makes the premises. Its important, but its not everything. Its the thinking that is the problem. Most people just tend to take things on face value. Think..

In this, you just gave your second smart comment, that makes a lot of noise, but, is completely empty.

So if you really want to say something non-void, explain how it wasn't the Americans who chose their president? And don't worry, I won't naively believe what you say. I'll read what you have to say, and judge it for myself. BTW, in India, we don't elect the prime minister nor the presiden directly, but that doesn't mean that we haven't elected them. The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by an electoral college, but that doesn't mean that I have not elected the member. I did elect him, although indirectly. If I didn't elect him, directly or indirectly, it wouldn't be a democracy.

Or is it that you take everything on face value. There is something called collective responsibility.

> But you didnt even think of entering
> that issue but saying I have brought
> it down to a personal level.
You don't know what my grandad did.. You assumed.. and if you really didn't want to get on a personal level with that, and wanted me to give serious thought to it, you could have put the same question more politely, without bringing my granddad into it. Not that I mind your bringing my grandad, but the phraseology you used personalized things. That was smart alec. And since it was a smarty comment, I didn't take it seriously, coz you're only trying to be smart.

> And smart alec comments like, "It was
> Iranians who elected George Bush" is
> not gonna work.
My advice to you, practise what you speak.

A fact that you overlooked is that when a person moves from one village to another, or from the village to a city, he still remains in the same country, works in the same country, his produce adds to the GDP of the same country, he pays taxes to the same country, and a part of that taxes is directed towards his old village and his new village or new city as well. When a person moves out of a village to a city, he still casts his vote for the old village.