Thursday, November 19, 2009

India’s Crippled Foreign Policy

Policy n(pl.-ies)- a general plan of action.

Unfortunately “planning” is something our dear politicians don’t have and “action” is a word absent from their dictionary.As the winds of economic opportunities and market share are now favouring the east more than the west, India as one of the major player has failed to seize the opportunity. All thanks to its crippled foreign policies and political leadership.

Being one of the contenders of the would be superpower, one of the fastest growing economies and largest consumer market, India has got the right cards to win this game. But to our dismay, the players (our govt) either don’t know how to play the game or don’t care whether we win or loose.
The recent visit by president Obama to China enunciates the kind of influence India has in its own sub-continent. Mr.Obama not only agreed with China’s claim over Tibet, but went ahead saying that US expects China to act as an intermidiate between India and Pakistan. The presidents words could be very well considered as endearment to his chinese counterparts. However US has always avoided taking such stand when it comes of India’s claim over Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK).

A recent example of India’s trembling political influence , where Pakistan strictly refused to acknowledge its participation in Mumbai terror attacks. Even the dossier of evidence submitted to Pakistani authorities was accused to be doctored and biased towards Pakistan. In fact the influence our government holds is so weak that we are not able to stop the smuggling and manufacture of counterfeit currency notes from Nepal. It is estimated that the fake currency in circulation is at Rs169,000 crore (169 trillions), a figure RBI and Central govt denies. Chinese incursions on Indian borders, China’s open claim on Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh, issuing separate visa for Kashmiri’s are all consequences of India’s feeble response and inability to take a stand and fight for it.

It is a well know fact about the tug-of-war by our political leaders for the most coveted (and profitable) offices in the ministry like Home Dept, Defence, Railways, Mining and Telecom. But External Affairs is something no one desires. With such a meek political leadership, its better we stop dreaming of becoming super-power.

Most of us (even our politicians) were born and brought up in a age where India had achieved its independence. So little do we know about the struggle and sacrifices one has to make to retain the country’s freedom. “Freedom Struggle” is a word long forgotten, seldom practiced and read only in history books. But what we forget is “struggle” is something that goes on and the one who does not struggle, perishes. Even after more than 50 years of independence, India is still trying to catch up with rest of the world, with others trying to pull us down in every possible way. While we pretend to be diplomatic and patient, our helplessness is clearly seen in our inability to protect our country’s interest.

Its time India shed its timid, soft-state image and play hard ball with its adversaries. We should have “fuck-with-us and we will fuck you back” attitude. Cause a super power is not a nation with huge military strength but a nation with commendable respect.

As the Joker rightfully says in Dark Knight- “ the only sensible way to live in this world, is to live without rules”.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Indian National Language

Indian National Language

The objective behind writing this post is to settle the dispute between Hindi and Marathi which has croped up recently.
Hindi, no doubt is the widely used language amongst our people everywhere you go. But is it truly the National Language(Rashtrabhasha) of India?

For those of you who do not know, the Constitution of India does not recognise Hindi as the sole “National Language”. What does that mean? Well it means all the 14 main languages spoken, written and used in India are all National Languages (including Hindi) according to Indian constitutions Language Act rule no 8 . The official book published by the Central Govt – “The Official Languages (Amendment Act,1967: Approach & Objective)” mentions an incident when a parlimentry discussion was in process in 1963. Then the current prime minister (Lt) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the session that – “Since the Republic of India is a constituent of various states with their own identity and lingual diversity, it would be inappropriate to consider any one language as the national language.” Also in August 2008 a leading national english newspaper(I wont name it here) published Shashi Tharoor’s article where he clearly states that- “Though Hindi as a language is used among the common masses but in reality Hindi as a “National Language” is not officially recognised in the constitution”.
He further says that-“Indian nationality is truly a excellent and unique concept. French people speake in French, Germans speak in German language; but in India when a person speaks Punjabi or Gujrati or Malyalam, that does not make them any less of a Indian. Their nationality and love for the nation cannot be questioned based on the language spoken.”
So the question is, if Hindi is not the only official national language then why do people think so?
Why do people think that Hindi is greater respect than any other Indian language and those who do not speak or cannot speak Hindi are not truly proud of their nation.
The answer can be very well given by following reasons:
1. The general public are not aware about the Constitutions Amendment Act for Languages which states that every Indian language is a national language.
2. Since Hindi is spoken in most of our states and used for business and daily communication, people assume it must be our national language.
3. I have personally obseved that in some cases a false pride is associated among the people regarding Hindi. Even after I showed them the evidence about the Language Act they were stubborn about their idea of Hindi being the “only” national language. Some of them even went ahead by saying that only Hindi was a pure language and the rest of the Indian languages could not match its charisma and influence.

I am not against Hindi. I have been to different parts of the country, lived there and have experienced that the only language that can cross any cultural and social barrier and unite people is Hindi. And thus I have a great respect for Hindi which is as close to me as Marathi.
However I disagree and to some extent feel contempt for those people who think Hindi is better than any of the native language and those who do not speak or cannot speak Hindi are not Indians. These people also in a way direct or indirect try to insult and scorn the native languages and those who speak them.
I sincerely feel that in every state the respective native language should be spoken and be given the respect it deserves. But unfortunately I don’t see that happening in Mumbai. Many people who have lived in Mumbai/Maharashtra for more than 10 years or who are born and brought up here have not bothered to learn Marathi, since they know that Hindi is easy escape. I don’t expected them to learn Marathi to the core and master it. But when you are living in a state for such a long time, socialising with its people and earning your bread, you ought to know their language. You may speak it broken, making grammatical and/or syntactical mistakes but you should atleast try and speak.
Right now I may be sounding like a fanatic to you people but this is my belief. When I go out of my home into the streets, I rarely hear people speaking Marathi, be it the vegitable vendor, the rickshaw driver or grocerer. I love my language very much cause its my identity and cannot watch it dying or being abandoned.
I am not any government authority but I earnestly appeal to my readers that those who are living here are all Maharashtrians, so please don’t feel any shame or hesitate in speaking our mother tongue and for those who do not know how to speak Marathi, please make a sincere effort to learn it and speak, it wont hurt but only benefit you.

As some of you may again raise the question – “are you an Indian first or a Marathi”.
My answer is “Yes I am an Indian first and then a Marathi, but if someone tries to erase my identity, my language and heritage- they are themself separating me from India”.

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra.