Saturday, October 13, 2007

Protesting Progress

India shining and India, Inc. are euphemisms used with irritating frequency by the Indian Press which desperately needs something and someone to dote on and someone to condemn, severely.

So Shilpa Shetty is deified for having won a TV contest in which she was treated harshly - even called a bad word (bitch) - by a competitor. So the Indian Press and parts of India rose as one since India's honor and image was under threat. Never mind that to the rest of the world it seemed inane and cry baby attitude. Even the ever media conscious Tony Blair felt the need to jump in to comfort the lass thus her nation, lest the world's biggest democracy paint him a racist devil leading a nation of racists, which former colonisers must not be. And of course when Richard Gere kissed the same Goddess incarnate Shilpa there were riots since India's collective honor had been besmirched - not sure if anyone immolated himself in shame and ignominy?

By the way Press, we've had enough of Shilpa Shetty, and we've also had enough of Sania Mirza's modest achievements and your ho-hum page 3 crowd. And if you - Indian Press - travel out of your own little world of little intellect and favorites you'll notice there's more to life than Cricket and Minor Celebrities doing other Minor Celebrities. Besides there's the journalistic social responsibility angle, so analysis and research should take precedence over gossip and sycophancy, and generally goals should be loftier than, even though your spin machine has made a race-nation issue of, a personal fight between two women.

So if you have to talk talk more about Indians who've REALLY made India Shining and India, Inc. Talk about world class winners who've reshaped India, freed India from shackles and muzzles of ignorance and taboos.

So talk about Ratan Tata, Kishore Biyani, Aditya Chopra, and talk about Sunil Bharti, and talk about all those hard working visionaries who have made BPO processes a success, and invested in shopping malls, built telecommunication systems and modern residential buildings - that are not ugly and are also safe, and TV/ FM radio networks, and all other developments that have made India a modern nation, transforming it from a country burdened by it's past of caste and socialism.

And if deifying is a must then worship Dhirubhai Ambani, Azim Premji, Narayana Murthy and Ratan Tata for being some of the creators of the Indian economic engine - which has transformed a once beggar bowl nation into an economic powerhouse - that makes those euphemisms real.

From Garibi Hatao to India, Inc. is a long road and that road wasn't built by the Page 3 crowd. And it wasn't built by smiling guys with beards who teach how to breathe and sit right nor by astrologers whose predictions major dailies adorn like an ornament of some primal culture.

Nations and societies don't become successful and powerful (organically) because of a glorious, old past, otherwise Syria and Turkey would be rivalling China. It takes vision - like that of Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh to open up the Indian economy. And it takes the mighty genius and courage of executing grand vision - like that of Dhirubhai Ambani to create Reliance, in the process creating huge wealth for India and Indians who till then were not allowed to participate in such wealth building pursuits as being able to buy company stock freely. And countries are made great by hard work, smart thinking, creativity and making the most of opportunity - like the technology driven Bangalore/ Hyderabad entrepreneurs have done. Above all greatness is based on trust, like the one inspired by the Tata Group.

It's natural that a modern nation needs modern infrastructure and world class amenities to be itself, so India Shining can't be (or expected to be) shopping in squalor, buying adulterated foods and dealing with 3rd world quality while it's shedding its image and legacy as a 3rd world nation. After all India Shining needs shiny buildings, new cars, efficient services, modern telecommunication networks, because India Shining is all those things, made of all those things, not adherence to old, decrepit traditions, including shopping at dirty shops owned by dirtily dressed shopkeepers.

So Kishore Biyani creates the first foundations for modern Indian consumerism. And Reliance Fresh is building upon that.

What's wrong with wanting the best value for your money? Why should a consumer be deprived of choices and a pleasant shopping environment.

And the educated 20 something Indian Zippie (term coined by Outlook) doesn't want to watch lecherous villains raping wantonly and cruel mothers in law inflicting inhuman punishments to godly daughters in law so Aditya Chopra raises the bar of Indian cinema with Saathiya, Salaam Namaste, Dhoom and Neal n' Nikki and some idiot called Jitesh Pillai slams him in Filmfare for not making old masala.

And Jitesh Pillai's acolytes or people who think like him are up in arms against Reliance Fresh and other organized retail stores lest the biggies destroy small provision stores - by the way why such vehemence against Reliance and not say Spencer's?

Imagine the wrath of old wholesalers who are losing business because the big retailers will and can buy directly from the manufacturers - so the middlemen are scared of being left out and I am sure egging on the shopkeepers.

But when governments get in the fray - like UP and Kerala banning Reliance and other organized Retailers - it sullies and destroys India's image as a free, growing nation of intelligent people. What right does the government have to restrict choices for a consumer? Why should the government force the population to shop at poorly managed and stocked stores. And why is the press not yelling "Bloody Murder of Indian Consumers' Rights in UP & Kerala".

Shop keepers cannot and should not be protected at the cost of the shoppers. If there's a rally of shopkeepers protesting organized retail, why isn't there a rally by consumers demanding free choice to buy bhindi where they want to buy bhindi. There are more consumers than shopkeepers so that rally will be bigger, and also more worthwhile than, say, burning effigies of Richard Gere.

And if it's a must, inner need to burn effigies then burn effigies of those who stand in the way of India's progress by restricting competition and choices. Indian consumer has for years been exploited by the Businessman/ Politician nexus so while the world was discovering Toyota Indians were forced to live with Ambassador, others had many channels Indians were fed propaganda by Doordarshan.


Politicians and Press, let India be free. Let Indian's choose. If they get what they want at Hypermarket what will you do to stop them, fire on the like it is Jalianwala Bagh?

There are two India's. One that is India, Inc. and inhabited by Ratan Tata, Azim Premji, Narayana Murthi, Kishore Biyani, Aditya Chopra, Sunil Bharti and crores of young, educated, forward and outward thinking optimists who are shaping India into a powerful, delight to work with country that has shed its past of excuses and poor quality and apathy by being accountable to itself.

The other India is the Richard Gere effigy burning, low intellect, Guru smitten, 3rd page believing, progress protesting India of Mayawati, current Kerala government, Jitesh Pillai, old line politicos who pit man against man and machine against man and live by the benefit of creation friction.

I propose we, those who believe in a modern, strong, sensible, smart, sexy India, build an electrified fence against the latter India lest it intrude into and destroy the growing, blossoming India that has survived its rough past and is beginning to breathe freedom and enjoy life.

Of course immigration to India Shining is open to those who are emancipated and forward thinking, however here's a list of those barred entry forever:

  • Sonia Gandhi is forever an inadmissible alien because of telling Manmohan Singh (according to Financial Times on 10/10/07) to "go slowly on the issue (of organized retail) to avoid alienating member of the leftist alliance" which means selling out India to mediocrity just to keep her party in power.
  • Politicians opposed to free market economy and politicians with any criminal record are persona non grata for this India that (has) made the most of high speed fiber optic network and the Internet bust to create a place of trust and confidence for itself in the world, while these politicians created chasms of caste, language and religion. Definitely no corrupt villains feature in this screenplay.
  • Also not allowed leftists, as USSR is dead, China is opening up, so India Shining doesn't need deadwood.
  • And also permanently denied entry to India, Inc. are journalists who write and publishers who publish without objectively researching issues and who condemn progress and who deify Gurus rather than architects of modern India, and ones who've made gossip sheets of major newspapers
  • Gurus who herd people into cults are not welcome because the New Shining India is comprised of thinking, analytical people, not sheep. Baa-bye O bearded ones.
  • Lastly non working, non productive, "bade baap ke bete/ beti" - the stamp of Indian nepotism - are also no part of the India of many airlines, new shiny stores and new innovations because in this dynamic land of change there's no places allocated for the lazy, and the arrogant. I suggest this group be led to an ashram - far away from India, Inc. by the barrred journalists.

No comments: