(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
As we head towards the General Election from Hell, all the participants are working overtime to ensure that the ride is as nauseating as possible. From the trash talk between the political parties, the social media food fight between their supporters, to the issues that our news organizations imagine we are having a ‘national conversation’ about, we are really rich in things to feel embarrassed about. In fact, the Met department predicts that we are in for a torrential downpour of stupidity and irregular dust storms of hypocritical behaviour.
Continuing his election blitzkrieg, three time ‘Gujarat Idol’ winner Narendra Modi recently gave a speech about education. One of the things he railed against was western education. Because that’s the problem with our education system! Not a system which lays more emphasis on learning rather that understanding. Not a curriculum that makes people literate instead of educated. Nope! Hey, Nalanda university was #1 in Time magazine’s list of ‘best universities to send whichever offspring of yours is designated to be a monk’ of 1197 A.D., so the only reason our education system is suffering now is because the CIA is eating our children’s homework and we’re not doing anything about it.
Seems like even the guy who highlights the ability of his state to attract foreign investment as one of his major achievements feels the need to vaguely blame ‘the west’ for our country’s woes.
Remember Edward Snowden? He is the whistleblower who revealed how the NSA is like a cute and hilarious LOLCAT because it is in your computer, watching you watch your porn. Well, he applied for asylum in India. That’s right. He left a country whose government illegally spies on its own citizens under the guise of national security and sought asylum in India. That is like leaving Canada to seek asylum in France because you don’t like to speak French.
The government gave such a swift reply to Snowden’s application that even Usain Bolt was jealous. The Indian embassy in Moscow didn’t have to wait for an official confirmation from the relevant authorities in New Delhi to know what to say. However, they still spent one hour pacing around their offices impatiently to pretend that they have ‘given the matter due consideration.’ In case you’re wondering, the answer to Snowden’s request was an emphatic ‘No,’ followed by the rhetorical question, “You Mad, Bro?” This wasn’t because Snowden made them work on a Sunday, but because the embassy officials are answerable to a government whose head treats the American President with the same reverence that farmers in UP treat their Zamindars. Yet this same government always blames any sort of citizen protests against it as being funded and encouraged by a mysterious ‘foreign hand,’ usually found hiding in the western hemisphere.
And then there are our leaders of regional parties. They rally against the use of the English language and oppose economic measures that would benefit the country by couching their opportunistic actions in banal declarations against the west. In fact, our socialist and communist leaders hate the west so much, that a majority of them send their children to study there. Want to turn our state capital into London but hate the west because something something neo-colonialism!
Somebody tell all these idiots that ‘the west’ is not some homogenous and monolithic entity that is united by a single aim: to cause our downfall. Whenever we have a public discussion about a problem we are facing, there will be some genius who will find out a way to blame the west. Whether it is ‘western culture’ or ‘western education’ or ‘western media,’ they are always causing us some imaginary trouble. An all weather straw man for every belief system!
Most of the problems that we face in our country are not because there is a secret cabal of shady foreigners meeting every week to decide upon a new way to humiliate us and bring us down. It’s easier to blame outside entities for your problems because then you don’t have to introspect or take any responsibility for your actions. I’d try to do something, but what is the point when some foreign entity is going to swoop in and destroy whatever I’ve built.
Any elected official who uses this rhetoric as an excuse to not do anything should have his position taken away from him.
If only there was some sort of western import that allowed us to do that.