If anyone is reading this blog and has any idea how to get rid of the obnoxious links containing the advertisements (these have started to appear very recently in the blogger), please let me know. I will be forever grateful.
I spent the first twenty one years of my life in Kolkata. I had a decent education, primarily because I was born in a well to do family. At present I am pursuing higher studies in the US.
I have many friends - all of them belong to the same social category. Some are software engineers in India, some did their MBAs from reputed institutes, some will settle in the US for the rest of their lives, and some will stay back in their home country, joining the same herd of software engineers, bankers and university professors.
For the purpose of this blog post, I will refer to these people as "We". To put it briefly, "We" denotes the urban middle class. Of course, I belong to this set of people. Every statement about "We" also applies to me.
We are Indians, and we love our country. Typically, our patriotism takes one of the following forms: 1) Cheering for India during cricket matches. 2) Appreciating movies like Rang De Basanti. 3) Admiring the Indian Army. 4) An intense disdain for corrupt politicians, as if these politicians are the only people who are ruining the country. 5) Adulation for "apolitical" activists like Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare. 6) Anti-reservation views. Specifically, the claim that we have advanced in our careers because of "merit", and the accident of birth had no role to play in our lives.
I could go on adding more items to the above list. However, one item will remain conspicuously absent, namely, the item concerning the majority of Indians - the people living in the villages, the farmers, the dalits, the village women, the landless laborers and millions of others who had never been to Mcdonalds or the university classrooms - those 836 million Indians who live on less than 50 cents per day.
For people like us, it is common practice to cherish the Independence Day by watching movies like "Lagaan" or "Rang De Basanti". For a change, this time why don't we watch a documentary called "Nero's Guests"?
If you are an Indian and reading this blog (the people belonging to the second category have become an endangered species on the verge of extinction), please check out this one hour documentary. Unlike Lagaan or Rang De Basanti, probably you have never heard of this movie, let alone watching it. I guarantee that you will not be wasting your time.
We are the Nero's guests. Today I wish all of us a very happy Independence Day.
I was born in Mumbai. Before committing myself to a life of deprivation, boredom and poverty (in other words, before joining a PhD program), I spent twenty one years in a beautiful place called Kolkata. And I started this blog to express my thoughts on a beautiful journey called life. Cheers!