Joke (as heard, when I was 12)
3 nations decide to build a rocket. USA, UK and India (dont ask me how they got together). And so they decide to contribute with what they feel they have best.
US – I will pump in the money to build in and also the infrastructure
UK – I will lend all the technology needed to build it.
Both them turned towards India…wondering whats left to be done.
India – I will get “Made in India” printed on it!
So yah…the joke might be bad and you have heard this before…but do you realize the undertone of the joke. Do you realize why this is a joke in the first place?
Somehow we Indians love to find ways to associate India with whatever is happening around the world. We get excited if Slumdog wins an oscar (which beyond Rahman is as much Indian as is Hamburger from Hamburg!), if Rushdie wins a booker (has he?), if Russell Peters wins the US Stand-Up Comedian Show (which he deserves to, if there is such a show) or if an 2nd-Gen US-Indian enters the final of the SpellingBee Contest.
Its as if “one of the fastest growing economies of the world” tag has brought with it a lot of performance pressure. We desperately need these achievements coming in! Western acknowledgement for us, is our “Boost is the secret of my energy” and I fail to understand why!
Instead of cherishing performance and achievement, we find it fashionable to display blinded patriotism!
Latest, in case is Venki Ramakrishnan. I love the fact that he has won the Nobel Chemistry prize 2009. Being a science student I somewhat understand his work (though most of it flew over the top). But suddenly the recognition has brought with it this Patriotic deluge that he cant handle! As a scientist who is not ( at all) used to such public attention, he quite innocently expressed disenchantment with people from India “bothering” him “clogging” up his email box and dubbed as “strange” their sudden urge to reach out to him.
Needless to say, the very same people who were reaching out to him now expressed anguish over his remarks. And in a wonderful admission of sorts, he writes in again today
The best way to take pleasure in someone’s achievement is to take an interest in their work and feel motivated to learn more about science.
Finally, there are many excellent scientists in India and elsewhere who will never win a Nobel prize. But their work is no less interesting and people should find out about what they do. My visits to India confirm that it has great potential and bright young students. A little less nationalistic hero worship will go a long way to fulfil that potential.