Why we are like this only after 60 years

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: “Nodi swami, naavu irodu heege…” (We are like this only) was a line uttered mostly in jest. More and more, is this becoming our national hallmark? Let’s see a few examples.

1) Whether it is Sunita Williams, Hargobind Khurana or Dr. Subrahmanyam Chandrashekar, we quickly want to identify their ‘Indianness’ and thump our chests and proclaim ‘Another Indian in Space’ or ‘Another Indian gets a Nobel’. All three have nothing to India now and Khurana especially refused to identify with India after he was unsuccessful to land a job in a CSIR Lab and went back in disgust.

2) We have a tendency, particularly, among our television networks, to blow up anything beyond the stratosphere. Frothing in their mouths, the correspondents belch out ‘Breaking News’ every half-hour as if doomsday is about to hit the coast. Any news is built in to a hype with an SMS poll thrown in and “at the end of the day” you can’t even differentiate the real from the hype.

Sachin’s plaster will be opened today,’ screams one channel. The competition hits back with ‘Bachchans visit Varanasi temples at midnight.’ The networks are so caught up with their TRPs, which should be more aptly called ‘Tripe’, that they have reduced everything to a joke. Most of the times, they behave as if they are creating the news and sometimes they act as if they are the ‘News’!

3) Do the networks keep the ‘score’ of farmers’ suicides who are dying all over India? Do they ‘break’ the news when Vishwanathan Anand becomes World No. 1? Do they discuss his games, get experts to talk about him, or discuss moves made by Anand? You only get to hear ‘moves’ made by a Sachin or a Sourav.

4) We have poor idea of what it takes to be a champion team, Nobel laureate or a Formula-One driver. If you have been given a hall ticket, it only means you can write an exam and not assume you already have the first rank! Ponting talks of taking things match by match, Mahela Jayawardee even plans ‘Power’ Plays within a match , whereas all our TV-bred heroes thought that they only had to do to go to the West Indies and collect the Cup from Sir Garfield Sobers!

5) If Sania Mirza moves a couple of notches in the ATP rankings, there is a collective hysteria of her ‘upsetting’ the seeds and winning the Wimbledon. Even the good ones we have, Leander and Mahesh Bhupathi, squandered their chances and spoilt their career with their silly ‘we are OK now, we aren’t OK now!’ splits so often. No tennis official, or past greats made serious efforts to drill some sense in to them. Otherwise, they could have ended as all-time greats in doubles and served the country with distinction and honour. This will remain a pity.

6) It’s only in our country, politicians can interfere in any area and throw their weight around at will. Remember, ‘The Gang of four’ of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Somnath Chatterjee, Brinda Karat and Pranab Mukherjee? They are as closely connected with cricket as earth from Jupiter and have nothing in common except they are all ‘Bongs’. But they got together to bring Ganguly in to the team because he is a Bengali! Even if he was good enough to be brought back, it happened more by show of political muscle.

Thank god for small mercies—I don’t see Gowda Sr., Yediyurappa, Kharge and Vatal Nagaraj doing a hartal for Rahul Dravid, should he lose his captaincy! But the way the issue was brought in Parliament with Sonia finally arm-twisting Sharad Pawar to accommodate her Leftist chums!

7) Our Prasar Bharathi would bend every rule in the book in the name of ‘patriotism’ and ‘one billion people’, and get Parliament to pass a Bill to get ‘live’ feed from the private network who has paid through the nose to win the tender! It was shocking the Industry did not bother to raise its collective eye brow at the daylight robbery perpetuated right its nose.

That’s why ‘We are like this only’, 60 years after we became free.