Two Tales in Two Cities
Today India celebrates 63rd Independence Day. We undoubtedly achieved a great deal in the past years. But there is a long and bumpy road ahead. There are two events that bothered me this morning.
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." It's the Golden Rule and we believe that it is the ultimate norm of high morality in all culture.
Last Saturday night I was on my way back from Kolkata, my hometown, where I went for a brief break taking a week off. I was travelling back alone as my family stayed back for a few extra weeks so they could spend some time with the family.
We were on an emirates Airbus A 330 aircraft and the flight was smooth enough to let me start writing this blog at a height of 36000 feet above the sea level. I was a bit skeptical about the departure time as the flight preceding ours was delayed by a few hours. To shake my confidence further I spotted a dead cockroach in the waiting lounge and none of the house telephones were in working condition. Once up in the sky I discovered that my co passenger was just a little short of a robot and since I did not know where the switch was, I never got to start a conversation and I was on my own. Emirate airlines provide a wide range of choices for in-flight viewing. After dinner I dozed off for a while. When I woke up the lights were dimmed and I the plane was very quiet. As I looked around I could make one definitive conclusion and that is SRK is a superstar. I could conclude this because all the video screens visible were tuned in to a movie starring SRK and yes all of them without an exception. It was the movie called “Rab ne bana di Jodi” (“a match made in heaven” is probably a close translation). That is his level of popularity among Indians, Indian Diasporas and also many non Indians. I remember the Al Nasr cinema in Muscat used to witness plenty of fighting and back marketing when one of his movies was screened. SRK is the initials of Shah Rukh Khan who is only the second movie superstar of India and second only to the one and only Amitabh Bachan (The Big B or AB as he is popularly known).
Today He was stopped at an airport in New York and interrogated for two hours and not allowed to make a phone call either. While a mere search in the “Google search” would have brought out all his details and the total number of pages would have been many times of that of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp put together. So the security agents have detained him because of the word “Khan” attached to his name. Now the question is those guys are uninformed or Stupid or stubborn or simply Idiots!
I think Indian authorities should take a note of this and treat the same way when one those Tom Cruises or Brad Pits visits our soil! But probably we are too cultured to treat our guests likewise …. We are like this only….. !!!
At the dawn of our independence from the British our first prime minister’s words are worth remembering... "The ambition of the greatest men of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but so long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over." -- Jawaharlal Nehru’
But unfortunately we have a quite e different scenario today and left with some leaders who seem to have quite different views towards life, country and countrymen. Mayawati wants to decorate the state with statues of leaders. She is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the northern state which is among the largest and most populous states of the country. It is also one state with a high number of rural population most of whom are below the poverty line. To make things worse a drought is looming overhead this year. But apparently our Mayawati has requisition the central government for Funds worth 5.56 billions of Indian rupees for statues building while allocating only 2.5 billion rupees in her budget as a special economic package to deal with drought hit provinces of the state.
But these are only a few glitches in our way of progress …. Jai Hind!