Yes, I would feel offended if someone implied that I was less of an Indian then the next Indian. Unfortunately, that is the very case that I face now that I am here in India.
On the flight back, my seat-mate had acquired his citizenship of another progressive nation, effectively losing his rights to being an Indian. His sons were also born into the position of privilege as their birth right and as through the choice of the Father. Question is, should your birth right be confused with your life Duty?
Well, Ashutosh Gowariker seems to think so in Swades. The movie conveys that it is primarily the individuals duty towards his Mother land that should bind him and mould his destiny. After all, she gave you her water, nourishment, opportunity when you were but an innocent, lost child. You owe her. Going and working abroad, be it high-tech or low-tech is like providing your neighbors house with water and electricity while your own home is dark and dry.
At this point, I wonder, my country of birth was never a concious decision on my part, therefore should I be so frivolous as to sell my loyalty on chance. In fact, I would not even sell my destiny to the stars that positioned themselves at my birth. Somewhere out there, I may have already made a few enemies. I ask for rationality and patience. Gifting the freedom of choice also means that an non-resident Indian’s son can decide that he really wants to be an Indian.
So I choose the middle path, to hang on to the illusion that I can make a choice. What then, you ask, remains to bind me to the yoke of my provider? It is a simple answer, us humans are bequeathed with an emotional capacity to some degree. If I love the green fields, the good food and the city of my childhood, there are things that I hate too.
Consider this, I went down to the post office the other day with a heavy parcel. I would have liked to mail out to a friend in Goa. The line at the counter was a good hour long. I stood in the line, patiently. After about 30 minutes, I noticed something strange. Another counter opened, it ‘seemed’ to begin accepting customers. I was tempted to move over, the conflict lay within risking my existing progress in the line that snaked its way to the original counter. Suddenly, the counter I was waiting for shut down and the people moved over to the tempting new counter. My lack of guile meant I was left out in the cold. No one would let me in, neither would any of the officials consider the injustice. I stood there seething, watching the line grow to 2 more hours worth of waiting.
The traffic sucks, there are rolling power cuts, people will more than ever manipulate the system, our politicians are exceptionally dirty. No one wants to think about how many crores of Rupees are lost in unwarranted government subsidies to undeserving enterprises.
And yet, I remember discussing this with my friends in LA, Google saw it fit to open a Bangalore center. Google, the mighty, the entity that claims to be the guardian of ethics and privacy in an industry that exploits the individual, descended upon the dirt and filth that is India and set its roots down. Of course, the astute will point out, there is talent to offer, and it is cheap.
I claim, there is also another element, perhaps a few of us Indians sincerely do want to give back to our Mother. Even if it means initiating the development of IP under the watchful eye of a videshi enterprise. While others may choose the path of least resistance, by offering their services and talent to outsiders for money, some will pick an even tougher path. I present, the myriad of small companies, slaving away to produce true IP that belongs to only them, in effect it belongs to India, true Swades. They ignored the temptation to prostitute and instead are betting their money that the world will buy what India has to sell. This confidence and self-reliance is what I am in love with, to what I swear my allegiance to.
And then, a friend of mine claims to want to leave this shit-hole. I sit down to write this article… momentarily stunned, what did she miss that I seem to see? Or is it that only the Donkey saw the light? Should I be angered if someone tells me, “Chalta hai, this is India, sab karte hai”?