What devoured glamorous Pakistan?

By Vir Sanghvi
published here Express Buzz.

I wrote, a few weeks ago, about how much the attitude to Indians had changed in the West. Once we were regarded as losers, people who inhabited a desperately poor country, continually ravaged by famine or drought, incapable of making a single world-class product, and condemned to live forever on foreign aid. Now, we have the world’s respect and, more tellingly, the West’s envy as more and more jobs are Bangalored away from their high-cost economies and handed over to Indians who perform much better for less money.
That piece was prompted by a visit to London. This one too has been inspired by a trip abroad and by saturation coverage of the Pakistani cricket scandal in the press and on global TV channels. But my concern this week is not with how the West sees India.

It is with the transformation of the image of the global Pakistani.

I was at school and university in England in the Seventies and lived in London in the early 1980s. This was a time when Pakistan was regarded — hard as this may to believe now — as being impossibly glamorous. The star of my first term at Oxford was Benazir Bhutto. In my second term, she became president of the union and was the toast of Oxford. Her father was then prime minister of Pakistan and lucky students vied for the opportunity to visit Karachi or Islamabad as guests of the Bhuttos. They came back with stories of unbelievable hospitality and spoke knowledgeably about Pakistan’s feudal structure, about landowners like the Bhuttos, about an autocracy that had reigned for centuries etc.

Even on the other side of the ideological divide, Pakistan was all too visible. He had come down from Oxford nearly eight years before, but a former president of the union, the charismatic Trotskyite Tariq Ali was still the sort of chap who made English girls swoon. For her first debate as president of the Oxford Union, Benazir asked Tariq Ali to speak. He agreed but then, rather inconveniently, he was detained by the police on a visit to Pakistan. No matter. He phoned Benazir who spoke to daddy and — hey presto! — Tariq was out of jail and on a plane to England. Pakistan was that kind of country, the British chortled delightedly.
In those days, us poor Indians hardly ever got a look in. The Pakistanis were dashing, far richer (they spent in a week what we spent in the whole term), always going off to chic parties or nightclubs in London and charming the pants off the British (often, quite literally).

In that era, the Arabs had just emerged on the world stage (following the massive oil-price hikes of 1973/4) and the Pakistanis were almost proprietorial about them. A Pakistani graduate student at my college, even affected Arab dress from time to time and bragged that he had taught Arabs how to fly planes.
My college-mate was merely reprising Z A Bhutto’s philosophy: the Arabs were rich but they were camel drivers. They needed Pakistanis to run the world for them and to teach them Western ways. It was this sort of thinking that led to the creation of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), the first global Third World bank, run by Pakistanis with Arab money. For most of the 1980s, BCCI was staffed by sharply dressed young Pakistanis who entertained at London (and New York’s) best restaurants, hit the casinos after dinner and talked casually about multi-million dollar deals.

Their flamboyant lifestyle was matched by other rich Pakistanis. In his autobiography, Marco Pierre White, the first of the British super-chefs (he was the original bad boy and Gordon Ramsay worked for him), talks about the Pakistanis who were his first regulars. Michel Roux, then England’s top chef (three Michelin stars) would fly out to Pakistan to cook at private parties thrown by wealthy individuals. In the late 1980s, a friend of mine went to dinner in Pakistan and was startled to be asked to guess the vintages of three different bottles of Mouton Rothschild, one of the world’s most expensive wines.
In that era, Indians knew absolutely nothing about wine or French food and the few Indian millionaires who vacationed in London were vegetarians.

Pakistanis were sex symbols too. The first international cricketing stud was Imran Khan (who finished at Oxford the term before I got there) and his sex appeal was so legendary that even Benazir joked about it. Told that Gen Zia-ul-Haq called him the ‘Lion of the Punjab,” Benazir said, “Yes but Zia pronounces “Lion as ‘Loin’ and this is appropriate.” Years later when Imran spoke about his love for Pakistan, a British columnist sneered, “His heart may be in Pakistan but his loins are in the King’s Road” referring to a trendy (and expensive) London area.

Even Pakistan’s millionaires were more glamorous than ours. In the Eighties when the Hinduja brothers (“we are strictly vegetarian”) first emerged in London, the Pakistanis stole the show with such flamboyant high-profile millionaires in Mahmud Sipra who financed feature films and kept a big yacht in the South of France.
So what went wrong?
It’s hard to pin point any single reason but I can think of several contributing factors.
First of all, much of the Pakistani profile was based on flash and fraud. BCCI collapsed amidst allegations that it was a scamster’s bank. Mahmud Sipra left England with the Fraud Squad in hot pursuit even as he
declared his innocence from beyond Scotland Yard’s jurisdiction. Many big-spending Paksitanis turned out to be heroin smugglers.

Secondly, Indian democracy came to our rescue. The Brits who bragged about Bhutto hospitality and the Pakistan aristocracy missed the obvious point: this was a deeply unequal and therefore unstable society. When Bhutto rigged an election, this led to his downfall.

Thirdly, Pakistan signed its own death warrant by trying to out-Arab the Arabs with a policy of Islamisation. This reached its peak under General Zia who declared a jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan and invited Arabs such as Osama bin Laden to come to Pakistan to fight the holy war. Ultimately, fundamentalist Islam devoured what was left of glamorous Pakistan.

Fourthly, the world just moved on. Flash can only get you so far. In the end it is substance that counts. And plodding, boring India came up with the substance.

It is hard to think, when you look at today’s Pakistan team, that Pakistani cricketers were such sex symbols in India in the 1980s that Imran Khan was able to brag to an interviewer “Indian actresses are chickens. They just want to get laid” (In all fairness, Imran later said he had been misquoted.)
Get laid by today’s team? You must be joking.

Even the Pakistani playboys who are still around no longer seem exciting or glamorous. Poor Imran just looks tired. And the rest look like Asif Zardari — pretty much the archetypal glamorous Pakistani of the Eighties — though perhaps not as disgustingly sleazy.

Of all these factors, two remain the most important. A nation created on the basis of Islam was destroyed by too much Islam. And a nation dedicated to democracy flourished because of too much democracy.

More at: www.virsanghvi.com. Follow him at : twitter.com/virsanghvi

76 Comments

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76 responses to “What devoured glamorous Pakistan?

  1. Ally

    hmmmmm just seems like an Indian gloating over how much better they are than a country 8 times smaller than them!

    Khair, so what!

  2. As a Pani-Patti-born Indian and naturalised proud Pakistani British citizen, I fully endorse the views expressed in this article.
    There was a time when diversity was tolerated by Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore, Karachi and even Edgware Road London, alas no more! Arab Thobs,Niqabs and beards have defeated the north-Indian Punjabi Muslim civilisation of Pakistan that I once knew.

  3. PMA

    A Abbas (October 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm):

    “The North-Indian-Punjabi-Muslim-Civilisation-of-Pakistan”

    Too bad brother Abbas on his way from Panipatt to Britian did not stop to see rest of Pakistan. There is more than “Punjabi-Muslim-Civilisation” to Pakistan.

  4. Amaar

    It is not Islam..it is mullahism’s blessings to Pakistan. the same mullahs whose forebeareres were Nehru’s proteges back in the 1940s!

  5. Prasad

    I guess there is no alternative/replacement to discipline – both individually and as a society. We have seen it in Japan, China (who were almost devastated) and staged a magnificent comeback.

    India has been disciplined – with democracy and education. This will hold us in good stead. I guess Vir Sanghvi couldnt have said it better.

    I am sure Srilanka and Bangladesh are headed there. If democracy is sustained in these two countries, I am sure they will be highly healthier by the next 2 elections.

    As regards pakistan, notwithstanding the like- to- like comparison with its brethren from the subcontinent, yet lack of discipline has thrown it all away

    Dump the clergy, sustain democracy and education – I agree completely.

  6. Prasad

    //the same mullahs whose forebeareres were Nehru’s proteges back in the 1940s!//

    not sure how this is related to the article. Nehru was one of India’s all time best secular leaders. Perhaps, excepting his foreign policy towards China and his decisions on Kashmir, not one decision went against India in the long run – be it Hindu reforms, education, health reforms, Public sector undertakings et al the list goes on…Not sure how mullahs became Nehru’s proteges I dont see any connect

  7. Ally

    Prasad

    I think Pak will get there too, it will take it longer but slowly but surely it will get there, all we have to do is look across the border for what democracy can do… i am sure in the next few years mullahism will be defeated… but for that we need also to educate our people…

    However now ppl in Pak have a lot more awareness and access to technology… the old system will die out… expriments with religion have failed and people know this… the only way forward is with democracy!

  8. ashu

    Glamour? Since when has glamour started figuring on a serious forum. If glamour mattered, than Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian would together be far more important than the whole of India🙂
    Just my opinion, apologies to those that take their glamour seriously…

  9. Nasir

    an good article – Pakistan is on its knees today because every government, whether it’s military or civilian, in political expediency, were always frightened of the Mullahs and religious groups that spawn hatred. They have sought to appease them, control them , do deals with them and failed , and now the chickens have come home to roost.
    But the leaders and small monopoly of ruling families are not the only ones to blame – the public that tolerate them ,the judiciary which suddenley wakes up to the word human rights when it concerns a terrorist and the media which makes heroes out witches such as affiah are all to blame.

  10. Talha

    It wasn’t just the people from the 80’s but from the inception of Pakistan where many were lauded internationally.

    People like Sir Zafarullah Khan, Gen Ayub Khan, Bhutto and many others were highly regarded as enigmas.

    Time Magazine wrote in the late 50’s that Pakistan had earned world respect with its attitude.

    Shamefully, the country fell to Mullahs, starting with Bhutto who utilized the Pan Islamic card to much negative effect. Mard-e-Momin then went on to destroy the social fabric.

  11. Tilsim

    I think Vir was trying to say that Pakistan gradually lost touch with it’s India.

  12. Talha

    He forgot to mention Agha Hassan Abedi and how he was jetting around the world with the likes of Nixon.

    We still own Roosevelt Hotel in New York and much more, just need to set our train on the right track again.

  13. Ahmed

    The original Pakistani culture, which was just another of the myriad variants of north Indian culture, lost its mooring in its attempt to become “Arabicized” and more importantly “not India”.

    This “not India” attitude made it loose the essentially secular tradition of 5000 years of subcontinental culture, while propeling it in the decidedly less-civilized direction perhaps more suitable for the nomadic Bedouin mileu of Arabia. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water!

    Not irreversible, but neverthless hard to reverse.

    humbly
    Ahmed

  14. libertarian

    Brave article to publish here. It was entertaining on Express Buzz (original source). On PTH it seems scorning and dismissive. A similar article on India would have had 150 comments by now🙂

    Disagree with the thesis of too much Islam destroying Pakistan. Too little attention to the problems of the people – Islam or not – is destroying Pakistan. The Islam crutch to explain Pakistan’s descent is an intellectually lazy one. What you need is more Shahbaz Sharif’s, not fewer Hafeez Saeed’s.

  15. poke

    (“we are strictly vegetarian”) … the world now is agreeing to the virtue of being vegetarian and the trend is catching up fast.
    thks to resurgent and shining India

  16. YLH

    Yawn.

    We are still better looking, sexier and more flamboyant than the lalas.

    The world saw the reality of India in CWG. With democracy we will so outbid outwit you that you’ll put the Hindu back in the Hindu rate of growth.

  17. libertarian

    @YLH: We are still better looking, sexier and more flamboyant than the lalas.

    Yeah agree. And with the Bongs being sent on their way in ’71 the chikna quotient went through the roof. So what if a decent part of that is some handsome bearded savages and their AK-47’s?

    ” … that you’ll put the Hindu back in the Hindu rate of growth.”

    Very true. Very true. These folks at the Economist must be smoking some strong stuff eh?

  18. Aaditya

    “The world saw the reality of India in CWG”

    ..yes, the world saw the CWG reality but one asshole is yet to recover from his delusion!!

    Sorry Kid….but you will have to take your shit-sniffing nose elsewhere…CWG have been a success, much against your hopes!!!

    Forget CWG, next time do tell us when is Pakistan ready to host even a simple cricket series that is already not fixed

    If a Pakistani talks of economy and sports series, then there cannot be a bigger joke than that

  19. Straight-Talk

    Pakistan have to comeback. It is destined to be successful. A true nature of its public (hospitality, cheerfulness and, optimism) may be suppressed but never withered. It will follow what is its true legacy not what Arabian nomads have been following. A fool only put his neck out on and think of its permanent failure. She has remarkable record of coming from behind in the past and so will this time too.
    India is a big country, it is like a Jumbo Jet/Airbus which requires big runway to take off and which just now got some momentum but Pakistan is like STOL aircraft, requires short take off. So it was no surprise that when India is still on runway, Pakistan has already took off.

  20. asdf

    @YLH
    Stop making a fool of yourself with your comments. Forget all about India shining etc. Look at CWG , people from the un-shiny India , especially women have got us medals.
    and you often want to dismiss India as just an inch ahead of Pak. Look at the CWG medal tally and you would realise India is not just IT Boom. It has reached a sustainable level of credibility and worth.
    Meanwhile you may want to gloat in CWG blunders. I won’t disturb you.

  21. poke

    “We are still better looking, sexier and more flamboyant than the lalas” … Ya sure with kalashnikov in one hand and the book in the other

    “With democracy we will so outbid outwit you that you’ll put the Hindu back in the Hindu rate of growth.” … if only wishes were horses

  22. YLH

    Typical Indians…. If my comments did not hit home you would not be acting like a bunch of shrieking ladies would you?

    I suggest you read International Herald Tribune’s editorial today. Maybe some sense about your “growth” rates might still prevail… there are a lot of smart people in India who are also worried about these boom-bust cycles.

    But such logic cannot make sense to the average Aditya who is too much of a scoundrel to make sense of the world or economics and is subject to bleating cows singing “India shining” morning to evening.

  23. YLH

    Moniems,

    Don’t try and earn brownie points at my expense. If Indians are humor-deficient, atleast you should know better.

    Next time you want to kiss Indian rearends and prove yourself the voice of reason, don’t drag me into it.

  24. Watty

    1. The Punjabi dominated army has misled Pakistan into paying a very heavy price for its compulsive aversion towards India and the fixation on Kashmir. Islam has only been used as an excuse to rally the masses to this dubious cause.

    2. During the recent tragic floods under the spotlight of international media coverage, the world discovered that Pakistan has mostly failed in the painstaking task of nation building despite numerous opportunities over the past 63 years. Consequently the neglect of the common citizens became obvious as forgotten millions of helpless poor came streaming out into the open having lost their homes and livelihood to share their sorrowful plight with the whole world. Within weeks after the flood waters receded the poor have been once again forgotten and left to fend for themselves.

    3. The Punjabi dominated army denied Pakistan its birthright of democracy right from the start. This has resulted in the gradual disintegration of the federation. At present Balochistan is determined to break free of the ruthless Punjabi military domination and its ongoing genocide. Others nationalities may follow unless there is a fundamental change in Pakistan’s power structure.

    4. Judging from the endless political mudslinging as reported on Pakistan TV the many westernized elites and self serving politicians who run Pakistan today seem oblivious of the great dangers posed by their continued neglect of their common citizens. The Punjabi dominated military continues to grow like a cancer consuming ever increasing share of dwindling resources.

    5. An unstable nuclear armed, jihad spouting Pakistan is a threat to the entire region. Such threats are almost always neutralized for the common good. The world is inevitably moving to the incessant drumbeat of economic growth and social enrichment. Pakistan cannot ignore this reality. I hope Pakistan wakes up in time – Jago! Jago! has to be more than a mere slogan.

  25. YLH

    Watty,

    This is I completely agree with.

  26. Arjun

    I really think many Indians are getting too smug about their modest success in recent years. They need to bear in mind these facts about Pakistan:

    1. It is a country with a much much smaller population (10% of India’s). And history and common sense tell us that smaller populations are easier to get educated and make prosperous.

    2. It is a country with lots of natural resources and the people are quite capable, if you take their obsession with their religion being the only true one and one that everyone else should convert to, out.

    3. Until the 90s, Pakistan trumped India in each and every human progress indicator.

    If they get their act together, with such a small population and fewer internal divisions (like caste, language, religion), they should easily be able to propel themselves and become another Turkey. So let us not get too smug and cocksure. Folks like Vir should visit Pakistan to see for themselves that even with all their current problems, their civic facilities and general situation on the ground is much better than your average Indian town’s.

    Of course, getting their act together would require losing the overzealousness and extremism of new converts to a religion trying to prove themselves which they exhibit, losing the need to identify themselves as “anti-India/Hindu” and nothing else, and dismantling the feudal structure. When this will happen is anyone’s guess. Blogs like PTH are definitely signs that it is happening.

    And as a Mumbaikar, I’d be happy to see such a Pakistan in my neighborhood where we’d be like Canada and the US are to each other for simple common sense reasons:
    – a prosperous and stable Pakistan would buy more stuff thus creating more jobs all around including India, they would sell more stuff thus lowering prices for everyone.
    – India would be free of terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan, thus making our lives more secure and safe.

    Other minor reasons are:
    – India and Pakistan cooperating in world forums would make an impact on critical developing world issues such as the environment, education, poverty reduction, you name it.
    – Indians would have a land route (railways, highways etc) to the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. Pakistan would have a land and shorter sea routes to IndoChina and farther east. This would benefit both countries enormously.

    I really hope the two countries aren’t condemned to repeat the last 60 years which have been unnecessarily harmful to both.

    It’s a dream, but that’s ultimately where all reality begins – with a vision.

    But on topic, Indians should stop being so smug and self-congratulatory because it smacks of low self-confidence that one needs to beat one’s chest about such modest gains. It doesn’t suit us. And besides, much better to compare ourselves with countries like China which started off where we were in 49 and are far far ahead of us today.

  27. ali hamdani

    Pakistan is a country with a lot of talent. It is just that a handful such as the Taliban have destroyed our image and we just need to fight them down for a safe tomorrow.

  28. [YLH, I mean no disrespect to you. I have learnt my lesson. Please let a lively debate ensue.]

    The most devastating mistake we made was to ignore the advice of our founding father. We are paying for it now. We have gone so far on the wrong path that it will be almost impossible to return to the right one in a hurry.

    The second most devastating mistake is the HATRED for Hindus we still carry in our hearts. (This HATRED is seen in some comments on PTH). Even a child brought up by decent parents knows that hatred consumes the hater and does no harm to the object of hatred. We have suffered grievously because of this. A friendly India is something we still desire, but what have we done to deserve it? Sending terrorists to kill ordinary Indians and some Christians and Jews in Mumbai will help us get Kashmir, and a friendly India? Is it not this HATRED that propels us towards such condemnable actions? When are we likely to start behaving decently?

    We have tried many times from 1947 onwards to snatch away Kashmir by force, but have failed miserably at every attempt. We have had to face defeat for all our adventures up till and including Kargil, and had to bear the humiliation of our army surrendering to India in East Pakistan. Yet, anyone in Pakistan will tell you that our army is the strongest in the world, and an army of “hindus” is no match. Carrying a feeling of exaggeratedly high opinion of ourselves can only make us complacent and weak. As far as India is concerned, China is a more important threat. We are only a nuisance because we have so many terrorist factories.

    Do we remember that we signed the Tashkent agreement after Indian army came knocking at the doors of Lahore in 1965, and the Simla agreement to get back 96000 of our soldiers from Indian POW camps in 1972, and that there was a Lahore declaration just before Mush booted out Sharif? Not many Pakistanis even know what commitments our nation undertook in these. When a nation forgets the promises it makes in international agreements, it is bound to lose respect and trust. Is it fair on our part to expect India to overlook these? If only we had behaved responsibly and fairly we would not be in this situation; the international community would listen to us when we shout our throat hoarse in the UN every year.

    In my humble view, we made a very serious mistake by disowning our cultural heritage. We were Indians before we became Pakistanis. (And, we must accept that our ancestors were not always Muslim). When we were Indians, the 5000 years old cultural legacy that India boasts of was ours as well. Even our national language, Urdu, is a product of Indian culture. (Urdu, a synthesis of Hindi and Persian, could not have come into existence except in India). We missed out on this because we hated India, and anything Indian. A very young nation with not much by way of culture has its own shortcomings.

    I strongly feel we need to look inwards. We must learn from our past mistakes. We must think about the reasons why we are not a nation trusted or taken seriously by others. We should not remain dependent on US or China. It could prove very costly in future. We need to stop blaming others for our misfortunes, and become a bit humble. It is extremely important that we develop a strong and moral national character we can be justifiably proud of.

    The easiest way, of course, is to do nothing and go back 1400 years.

  29. Straight-Talk

    The birth of Pakistan envisaged as a homeland of Muslims of India. India and Pakistan were not expected in even a wildest dream to become hate mongers and blood thirsty for one another.

    Sadly it has happened. More hatred with India pushed the Pakistan into the lap of China, which was very happy to receive to neutralize India (as now USA wants to push India against China).

    One realty check, If Indians think that in near future Pakistan will break away or collapse then ………please visit to Doctor, I’m sure it will again bounce back,or for that matter if Pakistanis (mainly Jehadis)…..if they think that they’ll snatch away Kashmir by war or proxy war, I’m sorry to say…….they’re living in false paradise.

    Realty is that Kashmir is so important for India, for its secular credential, for its strategic location, for the world to show the power of its secularism and liberalism and democracy that it will never accept its so called Azadi for next 600 years. It may in future will bargain out a few squire/km but not whole of Kashmir.

    So keeping in mind above facts, we should mutually reconcile with the present and find a path to live in prosperity, peace and harmony and enjoy the life and progress of modern science and technology.

  30. Alakshyendra

    With democracy we will so outbid outwit you that you’ll put the Hindu back in the Hindu rate of growth.

    And pigs will fly!

  31. Chote Miyan

    “We are still better looking, sexier and more flamboyant than the lalas. ”

    Awww.. So this is what it has come down to..Flamboyant? What flamboyant?
    For the record, you are no Adonis reborn yourself.

  32. Watty

    The way forward…

    I recently discovered “Live with Talat” a TV program anchored by Mr. Talat Hussain which can be viewed online @ pkpolitics.com Mr. Hussain is a remarkable TV journalist who has taken his program out into the real world to enable the ordinary citizens of Pakistan an opportunity to speak directly to the world. I was impressed by the dignity and pragmatism with which the common citizens of Pakistan view their difficult lives after the floods and the response of the society. If Mr. Hussain were to tour the vast heartlands of India he would discover striking similarities in the concerns of the ordinary people. All this India vs Pakistan rhetoric seems to be the idle preoccupation of the privileged few on both sides of the divide. I hope we can listen to the voice of our common citizens and work together to lift their burden.

    India and Pakistan working together can achieve the lost grandeur of our great and ancient subcontinent as some of my friends have already commented here. Let us enter international forums with joined hands. That is my dream.

  33. Parvez

    Straight-Talk
    “Realty is that Kashmir is so important for India, for its secular credential, for its strategic location, for the world to show the power of its secularism and liberalism and democracy that it will never accept its so called Azadi for next 600 years.”

    This is interesting. This implies that Bharti secularism is fake if it depends on Kashmir staying. Barbari masjid decision by the courts has already put a nail in the heart of Bharti secular pretensions.

  34. Prasad

    Parvez :: One rubbish being complimented by another. Indian part of Kashmir will stay in India not for secularism but for the very integration. Whilst we recognise it, you will drum up islam and try to retain fragile parts with a hope that religion will ultimately come as a uniting force to your rescue. Unfortunately it wont. Policies will however help.This is exactly the case with Kashmir as well..eventually they have to integrate there is no other option

  35. Parvez

    Prasad,
    Incoherence is a Bharti characteristic that I don’t envy.

  36. no-communal

    Chhote Miyan

    “We are still better looking, sexier and more flamboyant than the lalas. ”

    Awww.. So this is what it has come down to..Flamboyant? What flamboyant?
    For the record, you are no Adonis reborn yourself.

    Pakistani Punjabis look the same as Indian Punjabis. Pushtuns and Baluchis probably look better, but then you have to first shave the beards. Which is impossible. Who’s left? Sindhis. Are they particularly good looking? I don’t know. Plus they are part of our national anthem too.

    The look quotient of average Pakistani girl is higher though. Why? There’s no complicating factor of beards.

  37. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    “probably look better, but then you have to first shave the beards. ”

    I don’t mind the beards, but we hardly get a look in anyways; they blow themselves before we have a proper look at them.

    “Pakistani girl is higher though. Why? There’s no complicating factor of beards.”

    Hmm..not too sure about the beard part, friend. Some, of course, are strikingly beautiful. I am really saddened by these periodic moronic comments by Ylh. These “lala” type comments have become so generic that they cease to be offensive. If this is what we get from the supposedly “enlightened” class, well, god save us all! I suggest we should all watch the Indian women win the 4*400 relay gold medal. What a proud moment for the women from our subcontinent! The crowd, as usual, went berserk.

  38. amidst the violence, we tend to forget how peaceful some of these regions were. NWFP, especially, was at the forefrotns of a nonviolent movement. I ahve an entry on it: http://costofwar.wordpress.com/

  39. Gorki

    Absolutely agree with Arjun.
    The tone of the article made me wince. Anyone reading too much into it must also consider the following words.

    “But on topic, Indians should stop being so smug and self-congratulatory because it smacks of low self-confidence that one needs to beat one’s chest about such modest gains. It doesn’t suit us….”

    well said.

    Regards.

  40. Straight-Talk

    @Parvez
    “This implies that Bharti secularism is fake”.

    So you’re on same page with BJP and Shiv Sena. They called it as pseudo-secularism. You should remember that India being so diverse, vast, multi lingual and multi ethnic that it has no other way but to remain secular(suggestion of Pakistan also). Either in your word “Fake secular” or in our hardliners word “Pseudo-secular”.

    If breaking of one mosque has put you doubt on Indian secularism then see in your very own Lahore, how many mosque you’ve demolished only for widening of roads and construction of your capital city Islamabad in 50s and 60s. Same is true for your mentor, Saudi Arab, they also have demolished many mosques for the sake of modernization. Have you pointed out that? sadly you can see all this in India because it has Hindu majority population.

    Further there was no prayer conducted at Babari mosque for last 63 years, while in and around the same place, Hindus were worshiping for last 2000 years and more…….. and you still consider it Babari maszid……..then I’ve only to say, “Find out answer for following questions in your holy books”.
    1. You call it mosque if there was no prayer conducted and it has been abandoned?(Prayers has stopped since 1947)
    2. You call it mosque if other religions people worship inside there?(I myself have seen in Jun 1992, just 6 month before its demolition)
    3. You call it mosque if it has been constructed on others worship place?(It has been accepted by Indian court that material and pillars used for construction of Mosque were of temples and Archeology Survey of India found the remains of temple beneath mosque)

    Note: Matter subjected to court was only for deciding the ownership of land not for deciding whether it was previously Mosque or Temple.

  41. Straight-Talk

    @ Parvez
    I’m staunch believer in democracy and secularism even with all its loopholes and unlike my others fellow commentators, I criticize my democracy for lake of penetration in remote places , lake of empowerment to poor and tribal and being dominated and hijacked by rich. The fruits of democracy still not reached in tribal areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orrisa and Bihar other wise this Naxal problem would’ve disappeared.

    There are still discrimination on the basis of cast (by high cast villagers but not by Government) and Absolutely no discrimination on the basis of religion(there votes are precious in election). These are the checks and balances of democracy. Even if you want, but can’t do.

  42. Parvez

    Straight-Talk,
    I’m an outsider but I know a few things about law. If it was a temple why this was not settled when the Brits were ruling. In any case, it is a symbolic case between you guys and Muslim minority. It is what they think and feel should be important. I’m glad that I’m not part of the equation.
    I heard that Taj Mahal was also built on top of a temple. In such a case I would be willing to remove your burden for a small fee. Let me know if we can make a deal ahead of time.

  43. Aaditya

    “Typical Indians…. If my comments did not hit home you would not be acting like a bunch of shrieking ladies would you?”

    No, they did not hit home. Not if the comments came from a whining loser who happens to reside in an apology of a country.

    “I suggest you read International Herald Tribune’s editorial today. Maybe some sense about your “growth” rates might still prevail… there are a lot of smart people in India who are also worried about these boom-bust cycles.”

    Why don’t you confess that you are very selective in your reading habits. I can throw back ten links at you from Economist, Fortune or Forbes that have great stories on India – or just ask you to go back and read International Herald Tribune again. But this is hardly an intellectual debate. Rather, I am showing an asshole his place in the world when he is caught pants down croaking lies and un-truths about others before putting his own house in order.

    “But such logic cannot make sense to the average Aditya who is too much of a scoundrel to make sense of the world or economics and is subject to bleating cows singing “India shining” morning to evening.”

    Better to be a bleating cow then to be a pathetic pig wallowing in shit from morning to evening professing doom, gloom and despair. Good that you can make sense of this world and economics. Suggest you get down to work – your country needs these skillsets urgently.

    And, not for the last time, India has a great growth story that I am not at all aplogetic about. Deal with it.

  44. Heavy Petting

    @Parvez

    “I heard that Taj Mahal was also built on top of a temple. In such a case I would be willing to remove your burden for a small fee.”

    Too willing, perhaps. Is there already a plan?

  45. Aaditya

    Arjun,

    Your post has too many “Ifs” and “Buts” to carry any meaning at all.

    Gorki,

    I understand your need to be a do-gooder at the expense of everything else – but alteast stop being a waste of time.

    There is no gem of an insight that you provide when you say that Indians should stop being smug and self-congratulatory. That India has a huge development backlog goes without saying – and everybody is aware of it.

    Go and pick up any news magazine or switch on a TV channels and look at how this issue is debated threadbare – including Vir Sanghvi’s.

    However, that hardly means we should take dictation on economics and politics from an asshole who belongs to a country which is describes as a bleeding ulcer, international migraine or Nuclear Wal-Mart by leading politicians, international instituions and analyst firms. Try to have some self-respect before you think of running down your country just to appear Mr. Good Boy.

  46. Straight-Talk

    @Parvez
    First of all if you people leave our Muslim brethren alone then there will be absolutely no problem. Without outsider interference, they were able to bent rightly or wrongly the Rajiv Gandhi government on making constitutional amendment on Shahbano case. They’ve their own personal law, there own Madarsas. Score of Mosques constructed everyday in India. There is no whatsoever any shreds of whining anywhere in India. You people although raise slogan of “Islam in Danger” when an abandoned mosque is erased but you never suggest these people to vote for those who care for them, who promise for modern education, there employment and better opportunity.

    And of course Taj Mahal, first of all Taj mahal is not a worship place, neither for Hindus nor for Muslims. It is only a tomb a Maqbara. Then it was not built on the place of Hindus most revered God Sri Ram’s birth place. Claim of Taj Mahal being in place of temple is absolutely non starter and can never be accepted. It was an act of those ignorant people who also claim that Shah Jahan had cut the hands of the people who had built this monument.

    You can not compare any nondescript place with birth place of Sri Ram. What happens if Hindus start claiming that Makka mosque was an ancient temple of Hindus and the Stone inside that mosque is of the Ling of Bhagwan Shankar. Can you still compare Makka mosque with any other mosque and leave it for Hindus. My answer is big NO!!! But the birth place of Sri Ram…….. you know even Indian Muslims are ready to give away the claim if it can be proved that mosque was the actual place of birth of Sri Ram.

  47. PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI

    Since Quaide Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was allowed to die on Frere Road, Karachi in 1948 in a broken down van… Pakistan has been ruled mostly by corrupt and perverse (and worse) bureaucreats and politicians.
    Hallelujah!
    There has been no glamour, just clamour in Pakistan. India has left us a million cultural miles and light years behind.

  48. @PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI

    I am in complete agreement with you, but I wish you had left the following out:

    “There has been no glamour, just clamour in Pakistan. India has left us a million cultural miles and light years behind.”

    Not that you are wrong, but I have never understood why we compare ourselves with India. Why must India be the benchmark against which we measure our achievements or lack thereof? In fact, I am of the view that we never compare ourselves with anyone. We must aim higher than any other country in the world. Let India become what it can. We have to be among the top most nations in the world. That is the kind of spirit with which we must move ahead. (It is, however, a separate matter that our path forward is extremely difficult).

    The other reason why I feel this way is what I notice on PTH. Whenever “India”, “Hindu” or “lalla” words enter our discourse, we land up in a maze of inanities. We somehow derive a kind of sadistic pleasure in showing India in poor light. As a result we forget what we are actually discussing. I wish these words were out of our dictionary.

  49. Parvez

    Straight-Talk,
    Let me give it straight to you. I don’t care a bit about Bharti Muslims or Hindus if you settle Kashmir issue and don’t interfere in affairs of Indus Valley and its people. It is you who want spread hate all around. Just look at number of interacts on this blog and I read this to have a feel for your mental state and have a laugh. Have a good day.

  50. Chote Miyan

    “It is you who want spread hate all around. ”

    If there was a case of a pot calling the kettle black then…

  51. libertarian

    The more beautiful the women of a race the more likely the men (of this race) will become greedy lusty criminals. A beautiful woman is a scourge on her husband, her family and her race.

    Sarmaji awesome! Happy to take any such scourge off of your hands. Unless you happen to cohabit with some with some butt-ugly chick. In which case you are blessed – and do not need my help.

  52. Gorki

    Dear Aaditya:

    Your understanding is wrong.😉

    If ever I have an intention to be a do-gooder; it is to do some good for my republic; and reading your post it seems that even in that I have failed for rather than reading my (and Arjun’s) posts as a warning against complacency you seem to feel irritated that we refused to sing-along with Vir Sanghvi’s superficial piece.

    Yet I am not sure what upset you for you do not seem to disagree with the substance of our posts. Here are the same words from Arjun’s post that I reproduced earlier:

    “Indians should stop being so smug and self-congratulatory because it smacks of low self-confidence that one needs to beat one’s chest about such modest gains. It doesn’t suit us….”
    And here is what you yourself wrote:

    “There is no gem of an insight that you provide when you say that Indians should stop being smug and self-congratulatory…”

    But then you wrote something that I did not find in the Vir Sanghvi’s article (and the lack of which in part, prompted my post):
    “That India has a huge development backlog goes without saying – and everybody is aware of it…..”

    Everybody is aware of it? Hmmm….

    Vir Sanghvi for one seems blissfully unaware of it. So it seems were Kalmadi and co. the other day when he invited everyone to the CWG in India a ‘rising superpower’ or words to that effect.

    I found Sanghvi’s piece especially superficial because it cherry picked anecdotes to support his bias and gloat.
    Take for example his use of the nearly twenty year old BCCI bank failure as ‘evidence’. Both the Enron failure in US and the Indian Satyam scandal are recent news by comparison. No serious journalist would use these examples as a proof of failure of either US or India as a nation yet VS seemed to have no such hesitiation when it came to BCCI and Pakistan. Other examples of Pakistani ‘excesses and failures’ are similarly anecdotal.

    Then he delivers his equally superficial analysis of what went wrong:

    “The Brits who bragged about Bhutto hospitality and the Pakistan aristocracy missed the obvious point: this was a deeply unequal and therefore unstable society….”

    It may be a little bit more complicated than that for if you believe that then we too are in trouble because how equal is our society where the other day Mukesh Ambani moved into a billion dollar architectural monstrosity that he calls a home even as he can see the slums of Mumbai from his own very helipad?

    VS topped off his piece with one final gloat:

    ‘Of all these factors, two remain the most important. A nation created on the basis of Islam was destroyed by too much Islam. And a nation dedicated to democracy flourished because of too much democracy…’

    No doubt we are a democracy, but too much democracy!!

    For me such statements are a case of ‘too much denial’ because several national and almost all regional political outfits in India today are nothing but semi feudal family run enterprises.

    Take for example the Badals of Punjab. Papa Badal is the CM; sonny Badal is the deputy CM; daughter in law Badal is an MP; brother Badal is another MP; Badal son-in-law is a minister; sony Badal’s brother-in-law is another minister. The other day the finance minister was dropped from ministry. He too was a nephew Badal; dropped not for no other reason than for speaking up ‘against the family.’ Maybe we do have too much godfather style Mafiocracy than democracy!!

    In your post, you continued VS style gloating by highlighting Pakistan’s perceived failures. Reading that it seems that for many of us Indians the world is made up only of Indians and Pakistanis with perhaps ‘The West’ playing the judge in a beauty contest between us two.

    Well, I hate to burst your bubble but suggest that you read those magazines you recommended to me more carefully. While the west is busy congratulating our modest achievements, and we continue to look the wrong way, the Middle Kingdom is rising like a Leviathan in our backyard.

    China’s rise defies superlatives; an economy five times ours and rising faster than ours; almost one new power station a week; first world infrastructure; shining new science laboratories that even the West envies; World’s largest dam and plans to build new ones ten times that size; a GNP that may hit a mind boggling 125 trillion by the end of the century! This is our competition; not some aging cricket players turn politicians!

    Even if one were to concede that China has a 13 year lead on us in terms of reforms, we are far behind where China was then because even 13 years ago China had most of its children in school and had health care available to a vast majority of its people.

    You admonished me for a lacking self respect and your tone implies that in some way I am somewhat less patriotic than you are; if so then you are wrong. We only read and draw inspiration from different set of Indian patriots. You it seems choose to read people like VS for an instant jolt of good feeling. I OTOH read the words of another Indian a while ago and decided to use them as a challenge and a road map to an India of my dreams. I will repeat his words for your benefit:

    “That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over….” (JLN Aug 1947)

    I too, would like to gloat some day, like you and VS but I refuse to do so till I see a majority of our children in school, healthcare for a majority and a protection of basic law and order available to all of our people.

    So dear Aaditya, please don’t misunderstand my caution as a disrespect for my land; I neither lack respect for it or for myself; only I have much more pragmatism than you do. Almost millennia ago a visitor to India wrote thus about our ancestors:

    “They believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid. Their haughtiness is such that, if you tell them of any science or scholar in Khorasan and Persis, they will think you to be both an ignoramus and a liar. If they traveled and mixed with other nations, they would soon change their mind, for their ancestors were not as narrow-minded as the present generation is.”

    He should know for his name was Al Beruni and he got to observe Indians of his day from close quarters. Reading VS above article today, I doubt Al Beruni would revise his opinion much….

    Regards.

  53. Rehman

    I know this is just a blog with not that many people with expertise writing here. However, as a (Pakistani) economist I am appalled. I feel the common Pakistani does not understand the history or the future of India’s economy. Let me lay down two facts to put it in context.

    1. There is a fascinating branch of economics that studies economic trends of such things as GDP over the past 3000 years. Most scholars agree that India and China accounted for more than 70% of the world economy (each roughly a one-third) for most of human civilized existence. Except the last 3 centuries where western colonial powers dominated. So, the question is not so much whether India will dominate the world economy again. But, rather why both china and india fell out of favor the last couple of centuries.

    2. Both China and India will start to dominate this century, as they did in the past. Most scholars believe that. One may say China is a bit ahead of India today. But, that is far from clear. It is expected that India will grow much faster over the next 3 decades than China for various reasons (secular democracy, society that encourages entrepreunership, more freedoms, more younger people, etc).

    If you want to become more educated on it, please read some recent issues of the magazine “Economist”. It is particulary important for Pakistanis to be well aware of what the future holds for their potential superpower neighbors, so they can play their cards the right way. If we deceive ourselves into believing that we are somehow better than India, we will be in for a rude shock. Wishful thinking should not supplant true knowledge.

    Rehman

  54. Straight-Talk

    @Parvez
    “you settle Kashmir issue and don’t interfere in affairs of Indus Valley”

    Dear
    You still could not understood the problem of Kashmir. Here is not any……you say, I accept or I say, you accept type solution. I had told the position of India still you want to cling on your position and not satisfied with the so called Azad Kashmir then……. well you can cry anywhere in the world or on any forum or complain to any nations or send how many terrorist as you wish it will not matter to India.
    It is better to understand the position of others and reconcile yourself that at least some part of Kashmir still you’ve with yourself. India somewhat reconciled itself with Azad Kashmir inline with its earlier acceptance of the partition of Bengal and Punjab.
    One more thing about Indus valley civilization …… Can you please tell me the things you still owe from that civilization? Some Arabs came and occupied that place in 8th century, the people living their owe their culture from not great history of Indus valley but from Arab peninsula. But traits of Indus valley civilization still deep rooted inside the psyche of Indians and they’ve been bestowed with and carry many many culture trends of that period with them (like nature worship, worship of Shiva the Adi Deva, yogik and tantrik kriya, reverence of Bull etc).

  55. @Parvez

    “you settle Kashmir issue and don’t interfere in affairs of Indus Valley”

    About Kashmir what we, for our own sake, need to know is:

    “What you lose on the battle field, you cannot get on negotiating table.”

    About the Indus valley:

    We keep talking about Indian conspiracy in Baluchistan. When a correspondent confronted the Indian Foreign Minister in the presence of our FM, the reply was simple. The Indian FM said, “We were told Pakistan will provide us some evidence in this matter, but so far not even a shred of evidence has been produced”. Our FM kept sitting quietly like a Bheegi Billi. This is how we make fools of ourselves. Should we not make sure what we utter is true, and we can support it by solid evidence?

  56. Suvrat

    @Rehman
    Very sensible portrayal of economic history of India and China. Question is not whether India and China will have the largest economies in the world but it is whether sometime in coming centuries they can match per capita income standards of developed world.

    It is however appalling to see the crude anti-Indian and anti-Hindu feelings in this blog by some “enlightened” persons. Education can give you an access to the world but cannot remove the inherent bias which is expressed so clearly in these posts.

    BTW whoever thinks that CWG resulted in a failure is living in a fool’s paradise. All events started on time and stadiums were world class. Biggest concern of the world, the looming threat of a militant attack did not materialize due to great security mechanism put in place.

  57. Chote Miyan

    Gorki,
    I reread this article and to be honest, I didn’t find any sense of gloating on Vir’s part. In fact, one can argue that it reminds Pakistanis of what they have lost so quickly. Except the last line, which is quite a superficial summary, I don’t find the article objectionable per se. That summary sounds hurried and may have been prompted by the space requirements. Your other point about Vir not being critical about our failings is incorrect. In fact, he is one of the most vocal of all our critics. You just have to read his latest piece about the CWG. In that sense, quoting Al Beruni is quite out of place. He has consistently played down our idiotic meanderings about comparison with China, etc. He is, if I am correct, responsible for coining the term “mass murderer” for Modi. What he does not do is to be unnecessary unctuous when dealing with issues about Pakistan. In that he is hardly alone. He is also not shy about our achievements, meager as they may be. I don’t find anything wrong in that. Yes, agreed, we are in a pit and have a long way to go, but do we stop celebrating the gold that India secured in athletics after 58 years. We all know that our secularism is flawed but as the last 4-5 years have shown us, should we be lectured by the west on that account. I don’t think so.

  58. Chote Miyan

    Rehman,
    The comparison with China is, frankly, propagated by some bored fools who have nothing to do to pass their time. For bulk of us, the reality is clear; for 40% of the population that lives on less than a dollar a day, it hardly matters that we are only 10 or 20 years behind China. I feel quite ashamed when I see our countrymen go on bleating such nonsense. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that humility used to be an essential feature of our civilization make up. In my view, it is more a reflection of our insecurity than anything else. It’s all right to dream big, but we have forgotten to keep our feet on the ground. As a concerned Indian, I would like our countrymen to learn by heart this quote from Deng Xiaoping :
    “We shall cross the river by feeling the stones.”

  59. karun

    @gorki.

    Mahindra Satyam is doing quite well. pls check ur facts before a long preachy monotonous diatribe. As far as economics is concerned i am sorry to say India and Pakistan are no match (sorry to hurt your humility). Please check the currency strength for your satisfaction. or may be foreign currency debt ratings. Pakistan is junk grade fyi.

  60. Gorki

    Dear karun

    “Please check the currency strength for your satisfaction. or may be foreign currency debt ratings. Pakistan is junk grade fyi….”

    Good to hear from you.😉

    I think you too miss the point.

    I believe that even though Pakistan is behind India, it is no big deal (and should be of no satisfaction to Indians) who should be looking ahead for the competition and not behind.
    (Talking of CWG, that is how Milkha Singh lost his shot at an olymplic gold medal in Rome😉 )

    My concern is not Pakistani failues but Indian complacency that such comparisons risk causing.

    I seriously believe we have a shot at greatness but we will have work very hard and be ready to compete (economically, scientifically etc; hopefully not militarily) with only one nation in the next century; China.
    To do this we have to shake this provencial mentality of looking at Pakistan and feeling good. Besides, a little humility helps; agree with CM below:

    “I feel quite ashamed when I see our countrymen go on bleating such nonsense. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that humility used to be an essential feature of our civilization make up. In my view, it is more a reflection of our insecurity than anything else. It’s all right to dream big, but we have forgotten to keep our feet on the ground.
    If time permist I will add a little bit of my own take on Deng Xiaoping.

    Regards.

  61. karun

    what humility? sorry its about hunger…its about individual hunger to get ahead, to prosper materially…how does complacency or smugness collectively against a nation come in. when i have to buy a car do i see how much money i have or do i feel smug that i have more money than an average pakistani citizen even though it does not buy me a car. Being rich is being glorious and Indians are realising in droves and hordes.

  62. Chote Miyan

    Karun,
    No one is criticizing your hunger to get ahead and buy car or keep mistresses. What I am advocating is doing it a little quietly. We are not there yet when we start chest thumping. It’s much better to ‘talk softly and carry a big stick’ than the other way around, which is what we have been doing.

  63. no-communal

    @CM

    “Karun,
    No one is criticizing your hunger to get ahead and buy car or keep mistresses. What I am advocating is doing it a little quietly.”

    Quietly keeping mistresses should be criticized.

  64. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    I agree, though I doubt that would be an issue with Karun Jee. He likes to blow (pun intended) his trumpet.

  65. Gorki

    @ Karun

    “what humility?
    sorry its about hunger…its about individual hunger to get ahead, to prosper materially…
    Being rich is being glorious and Indians are realising in droves and hordes….”

    Dear Karun, such hubris may sound very exciting when spoken by fictional characters in the pages of Ayn Rand novels but it can be very destructive when practiced by the elite in emerging nations.
    One can even argue that Pakistan’s current credibility problems discussed above had less to do with religion and a lot more with this kind of ‘greed is good’ kind of mentality that you advocate.

    India can ill afford such hubris. The reason is that out task of nation building is still far from complete and we are still a very unequal society both in terms of access to resources and the availability of opportunities.
    First, the ‘glorious rich’ that you mention are a very small upper crust; certainly in single digits percentage wise and secondly the glorious rich are just as likely to be unscrupulous politicians or dishonest civil servants as industrialist whiz kids.

    Let me give you another aspect of the same Badals I mentioned before as one typical example. In the early seventies, papa Badal was known to be a well to do farmer, owning a few hundred acres of land; rich but like thousands of many such people in Punjab. His net worth was perhaps a few lacs rupees then.
    Today, by some conservative estimates his net worth is more than 3500 crores. An astonishing increase in forty years, a fact made even more incredible given the fact that during this time by his own admission, no one was available for making a living; papa Badal was busy with the Sikh political struggle and often in and out of jail and sony Badal was away at school in boarding schools in India and USA.
    And Badal is considered to be one of the less greedy ones by the political standards!

    Now consider the fact that an average driver cum bodyguard employed by the Punjab govt. (that the Badal family treats like a family feifdom) makes around 8-10,000 rupees a month. This driver will have to work for 350,000 years to make the same kind of money honestly.
    Also consider the fact that both the CM and his driver are well aware of how the Badals came about the kind of riches that he flouts and yet the driver is expected to lay his life for his boss in case of a terrorist attack!

    Now tell me that if even well meaning and educated people like you start openly worshipping such rampant materialism, what will motivate our young men and women to embrace national causes, to join up the nation forces or to go out and provide national service to the underserved?
    Who will help fulfill Nehru’s ambition for the service of India’s masses?

    I am not a socialist by any stretch, and believe in making a good living but also believe that humility among our more educated and more fortunate countrymen, the ‘elite’ is a tool that can help unify the nation. Not only a lucky few but the average salaried peon, the constable, the bus driver and the school teacher who cannot indulge in such material fantasies can still feel he has a stake in the nation; that stake has to be built around an idea that is far larger than material glitter.
    Such ideas have to come from those who are seen as the successful ones and yet retain a classy sense of humility.

    Unless we can quickly have enough number of such high minded, successful but modest men and women in highly visible positions we risk becoming not the land from Ayn Rand’s fountainhead but Mobutu’s Zaire or a kleptocracy like Russia.

    In this same context it is also very important that we compare ourselves as a nation not with nations in trouble but those that are considered a success. CWG went well in the end; thank God (and perhaps a few good men and women at the 11th hour) but is was a close call; consider that China had finished its preparations for the Olympics and had invited Olympic inspectors weeks ahead of schedule.
    That is the country we should try to measure ourselves against.

    The Chinese did not get there in one day or motivated purely by selfish reasons.
    In 1995 I saw an interview Deng Xiaoping once gave to an American network. Looking for a sound bite, the TV anchor asked him what motivated him to become so great.
    He thought for a moment and then slowly recalled his days with fellow Chinese students in 1920’s France. He said that compared to Europe they felt that ‘China was weak; it was their duty to make it strong.’
    And that was that!

    Each one of us has to decide how our actions and our utterances affect the future of the Republic of India that we love….

    Regards.

  66. Tilsim

    @ Karun

    “Being rich is being glorious and Indians are realising in droves and hordes.”

    Yes, eventually you get the same rush for power and pursue it for it’s own sake. There is a certain predictability about it.

  67. Karun

    Gorki da i hope all the way u knew that this quote was by Deng Xiaoping

    “Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious.”
    Deng Xiaoping

    I am just asking India to follow China. China is far more capitalist than what India is and will be. Infact fortunately democracy keeps an adequate check on the one sided capital aspirations of our country.

    If we are talking about corruption, well corruption is as rampant in India as in China as in the west. Captialism/socialism has nothing to do with it. Whether its Badal or a senior politburo member is quite the same thing.

    Has the government overachieved in India? certainly not. who says i am praising the government. They have been rather shoddy in whatever basic things were expected out of them including infrastructure, Education, Helathcare bla bla bla.

    Infact wherever govt. has excused itself those places have shown real potential and growth. I am saluting the entrepreneurial spirit of the average Indian/common Indian/not so common Indian which has brought us where we are. and Yes we need to give credit where it is due and it includes our millionaires and billionaires.

    We need to worship materialism.
    For generations and decades we had trapped ourselves in Karmic mumbo jumbo and spirituality which kept us on our hindu rate of growth. The hunger for prosperity in the common man has to be appreciated and congratulated and encouraged. Do you think India can do with French working hours and ethics. Sorry we dont have that luxury.

    There is nothing wrong in “if i have i will flaunt”.

    The checks and balances will come later. The spiritual restraint will come later. As Deng Xiaoping said.

    Let some people get rich first.

  68. Karun

    btw Gorki

    Doesnt boasting/chest thumping/advertising/self congatulation send some good messages to the FDI/FII and improves the investment in the country. Well dont u think we have to market ourselves to attract investments. Isn’t it a part of that exercise.

  69. Karun

    one more thing ‘comparison is everything’. you are only realtively ‘rich and poor’. I will like India to attain China’s GDP and Korea’s GDP per capita. and comparison evaluation and improvement is certainly reuqired . Whether it elicits comparison with South american block, middle-east or pakistan is a different matter.

  70. Gorki

    Dear Karun:

    You again misunderstand me; nobody is against India and Indians getting rich; it is only the obscene display of wealth that I find sickening. On a psychological level, experts agree that it is and a sign of low self esteem.

    ” I will like India to attain China’s GDP and Korea’s GDP per capita. and comparison evaluation and improvement is certainly reuqired. Whether it elicits comparison with South american block, middle-east or pakistan is a different matter.”

    I agree with you here.

    Regards.

  71. @Gorki

    Are you a Bingo ‘da’ or a Madrasi ‘da’?

    Just curious.

  72. Gorki

    @Vajra:

    >>Are you a Bingo ‘da’ or a Madrasi ‘da’?

    No no, you don’t understand; it is Punjab Da; as in ‘Punjab da puttar…’😉

  73. mayubelle

    Gorki, u are freakin awesome! A lot a middle class indians should learn something from your attitude; the level of hubris and denial exhibited by some of our compatriots can be pretty frustrating. The civility and maturity with which u engage in these conversations, is also something others who frequent this blog would do well to emulate.

  74. Gorki

    Dear mayubelle:

    Am really humbled by your compliment; thank you.😉

    Regards