Sunday, February 20, 2011
Why India Won't Be Having a Revolution Soon... Bollywood.
Tunisia. Yemen. Egypt. Bahrain. Libya. Every minute, my phone is buzzing with twitter updates about the pro-democratic marches from all over the Middle East. As this wave erupts, engulfing the Arab world, will it reach India? I pray but I know it will not happen.
First of all, why do I think India needs a revolution:
India is a diverse and huge nation-state. But what makes India diverse? The number of languages in India exceed anything seen anywhere else on Earth. More than 100 languages are spoken in India and I am not talking dialects. There are more than 1000 of those in my nation. These communities who speak these languages form microcultures but there are shared languages: English and Hindi are examples of this. India has several religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Budhism, Sikhism, and tribal religions. Under Hinduism, India suffers from the caste system. Although 80.5% of the nation is Hindu, Indian society itself suffers from the caste system. People are left to the streets with little care. Also as India expands on the global stage as a leading economy (5th largest economy in the world to be exact), the gap between the wealthy and the not so wealthy will grow and grow, stratifying its people. Now nothing is wrong with diversity. In fact is India's asset. It makes the country full of color and flavor. But due to the diversity, micro-cultures get caught up in itself. Especially on the bureaucratic level. Each province has a full-fledged government. But India has a multi party system so prominent parties in the area must have a voice in even the province level. So nothing really happens on a micro and macro scale in India. Why? Because of all the power struggles in all domains in India. Let me break it down for you. Even on the province level, a party tries to take control of the province. But because there are so many parties present: both state and national, its hard to have one group having a presiding voice. So politicians use tactics that are not so ethical: money laundering, corrupt ways of getting money for the organization and for personal gain. So why does India need a revolution. Simple: corruption. How is there corrution and what does it mean? Well if there is no electricity on a street for example, the state gives money to the Province. The province pockets that money until its officials are bribed by the citizens of the street and then fix the issues. On a micro scale there is corruption like what I described. And on a macro scale, money from the government does not really line up. Public construction projects are never completed because the government says they do not have any money. Example: The Commonwealth games. Why would India propose being the host if they did not have the money? They did have the money but because of money laundering and pocketing money, the Indian government 'lost' the money reserved for construction for the games. In the Indian, India looked bad for not completing construction on time. But why is this an issue if corruption seems to be everywhere? Well its because this corruption occurs in the cross-roads of India. The money laundering occurs everywhere but because of such interest within ones own community, a person in Andhra, South India is not aware of the issues in New Delhi, the capitol. India needs a revolution to reunite the country. India is such a prosperring place. It is so full of bright minds, but those bright minds are leaving our country. We need to keep those people in India to help the country and fix the corruption issues to money can be utilized in education reform and benefits for the poor, the widows, the children. We need to reunite India.
But This is why India will not a Revolution:
1. The differences between us is just so overwhelming where would we begin?
2. Bollywood. (I promise to explain)
1. How do we begin a revolution when languages are not shared. Neither are customs or religions or traditions or what makes a strong government. Where do we begin?
2. Interest. If we look at India, there are images of the West berrated all over the country. The best way: Bollywood. Now Bollywood is India's pride and joy. India cranks out the most number of films in the entire world. The musical numbers make India the global center of entertainment. But its backfiring on India. Why? Well first of all the films are never really made in India or they have large scenes and references to Europe of the US. These films almost never address the poverty issues in India or the way women are often treated as second hand citizens in the rural areas of India. The films are full of sultry women in tight pants strolling around the streets of London and fall in love with a Desi lad. The films illustrate the face of prosperity. Never what the caste system does to the community. Never what rape does to the community. Never what corruption does for the community. The films illustrate that life is happy go lucky in Europe and the US. Don't get me wrong. The films are very Indian in the fact that they describe virtues of Indians such as dignity and family. But they are often in the contexts of European and American cultures. You can be Indian any where else in the world. But you are somewhere else because the country itself is riddled with problems. This mentality is found everywhere in India. Schools in India are madly competitive and the curriculum is set up in such a way so that when the student graduates, he is gifted with knowledge about the US and Europe and how to function in those cultures. The skills he learn are so proned to Western society. He becomes a foreigner in his own country due to the education he recieves. Look at my own father. Similar to many Indians around the world. My dad came from a village. He had no electricity. He studied and read. But one day he saw a black and white film about Indians in California and how beautiful and prosperous life was across the sea but he could still be proud to be indian as he saw in the films. He studied in governmental schools that were all taught in English and he had lessons on how to use spoons and forks and learned idioms for his new life in the US. He now lives here in "Amreeka" with fellow Indians who set up communities here. He has no interest to live in India. He has his little India here. This little India has no caste issues. No poverty. No gender stratification. Yet in his home country, all of these are present. The brain drain, fueled by images of prosperity, made my dad come here and be even prouder to be Indian. And this is why I say Bollywood is the problem. Because it manifestated an ideal that Indians can be anywhere and still be proud of their heritage while the country suffers. It is the perfect manegerial tool! The government officials can do what it wants to because the intelligent people have left and are not really questioning. But a couple days ago Prime Minister Singh said that he will crack down on corruption. These are promises. But they were states so the bright Indians across the sea will say: see we do not need to worry about India. But I worry about my country. I want to go back and help my nation.
India needs a revolution. Because it is divided. Because money is being lost and utilized for indecent purposes and is not being invested in the communities. But we can only do this. We can change the mentality of India by having dialogues with those who were part of diasporas. Here on campus we have an Indian organization that does NOTHING but watch Bollywood. THis is the perfect forum to talk about the truth with India. Why are we not doing this? We can. We must. This is the only way. If we can understand our country from across the ocean, we can help India much more. We must be engaged and see that India has a lot to offer. We can only do this by not paying attention to popular media. We need to stop believing films that everything is fine and dandy. We need to open our eyes and see the issues on the streets. In our homes. In us. Jai Hind. Jai Hind. We can only bring splendor to India.