Thursday, June 22, 2006

Gung ho about India?

CNN recently covered an article on India and how it is transforming itself and changing the world. With every visit to India people find how much it has changed, for good. How Chennai has changed, how unrecognizable Hyderabad has become, or gosh Pune is coming up to the scene or how Delhi is much cleaner than it was not too long ago. Besides some not too good stories too - how Bangalore is losing its edge or how Mumbai's expansion has staled or, how Gujarat lost its' way. Overall pockets of economic regions help the development of the country. But don't get blind by the new lights which has appeared. India is still a developing nation and has a very long way to go. And I mean a very long way. Social evils still persists - Dowry, casteism, communal forces, and terrorism are the biggest threats India is facing today and a very little has been done to eradicate them. I read another article about India in one of the news sites - "10 things I hate about India". I was moved. The ten points mentioned in the article are not the only ones but does cover a broad perspective. I am reproducing its' salient points:
1. Power cuts - India needs energy and a lot of it soon.
2. Indian babus - Running the world's most corrupt bureaucracy. They are the biggest threat to the country.
3. No access to historical documents - Indians are in general good in world's history but are mostly ignorant of their own. They know what the successive governments have told them.
4. Discrimination against the white tourists - They are still considered to be potential targets to make some quick bucks.
5. Paranoia about maps - Indian programmers may be capable to build another google earth but there is very little geographical data available to public. The compass is still the most popular GPS to find your way out.
6. And the photographs - Specially of the places under the archeological survey of India.
7. Politicians - Lesser said the better. If the statistics show lower crime rate it means all of them are in parliament.
8. Neglect of the environment - India is a beautiful country. It has all the possible environments - rain forests, desert, mountains, Snow, Ocean, long beaches, dense forests or open spaces - you name it. Maintenance? Almost zero. Spitting beatle leaves and littering is not even considered an offence.
9. Trafic - No concept of lane driving. Lack of super highways are pressurizing the cities and is one reason why Bangalore has lost its' edge it once had.
10. Corruption - In every aspect of life. Things which are no show in west can entangle you forever in India.

Still, you feel good about the changes happening on the surface. Hope that these changes will eventually trickle down in the life of the middle class. Hope - the biggest asset Indians have.

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