Sunday, February 17, 2013

Loving, learning, working with (than Against) Our India

The Empire Strikes Back
* Globalization with a Proud Indian Heart!

Are we still living in the Raj? I mean in our heads? Sycophants to foreign brands? Bowing and scraping to the white sahibs and scoffing at Indian people, brands, cars, clothes? 

Did we not learn a hard, bitter lesson all those years ago, with the Britt’s treating us like natives and riffraff? I mean what greater shock do we expect to hit us again until we wake up and smell the coffee? Or in this case the home-grown Darjeeling aromatic brew? To shake us out of this enamored trance where all things from foreign shores with ticket priced upwards of a few hundreds of dollars look attractive? 

Observe the current scenario guys and hold your head up proudly. We’re the flavor of the year, or maybe even the decade. The roles are currently reversed. The white sahib’s need us to spend, because

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 Indians are nearly the only ones spending, travelling, wearing and wining. Stylishly. Indian takeovers of global companies is a proud trend and I could just go on and on citing the global takeovers by Indians of foreign companies, the many new factories that Indian companies are putting up overseas, Indian national’s acquiring foreign software companies and BPO’s . I want you to sit up and notice just a few that stood out and made me have Goosebumps of pride in the last decade..............


·        Tata Tea took over a global company twice its size, Tetley Tea, the second biggest tea company in the world.

·        Subhash Chandra’s Essel Packaging formed Essel Propack after his takeover of Propack of Switzerland, where the impressive merger created the world’s biggest producer of laminated tubes, and an Indian MNC became global number one.

·        The world's second largest steel maker, Arcelor finally bent to a US$ 32 billion takeover bid by the big whale- the world's largest steel maker, Mittal Steel. It was reported to be a ‘wrenching turnaround for Arcelor's management’, which had once dismissed Mittal as a "company of Indians" but were forced to backtrack after shareholders threatened to revolt.


To cite a few more heroes - Tata Motors , Ambanis, Ranbaxy (who acquired RPG Aventis), Khorakiwala’s Wockhardt, (acquired CP Pharmaceuticals of UK and  Wallis Laboratories) , Kumar Birla’s Hindalco (famed copper mines Mount Gordon and Nifty), Sterlite (also acquired copper mines in Australia) , Sundaram Fasteners (acquired Dana Spicer in Europe and set up a plant in China) , Amtek Auto (acquired the GWK group in the UK, which is twice its size), Kirloskar Brothers (acquired a majority stake UK-based SPP Pumps.

And it is we who actually allow this very superior attitude to nurture in people from foreign shores. We have to respect ourselves, our country, our Indian brothers and sisters than be ever ready toddies and lackeys to every import that hits our country- human or inanimate. Be a Proud Indian and a warm dignified Host to the foreign guests is my plea.

An incident that sparked off these train of thoughts recently, was at a Luxury Mall where I noticed a dramatic hat.  I walked into the store and exclaimed “wow, you had this made?” The store owner answered with disdain, ‘Of course not, it’s from Europe’, most put off that I’d imagined that it would be produced within our very shores. Don't we get it? The  most elite and haute  brands of fashion footwear in Milan is substantially outsourced to our craftsmen, some of whom are planning to put up their own labels in the lion’s den itself, in Milan. 

Point repeats in Paris with our exquisite beadwork on Couture gowns by big labels, with exquisite embroideries, zardosis. But that is only a tiny aspect.  Indians are the highest earning, most highly educated Community making its presence noticeably felt in the US. 

A climate exists where the world wants a piece of the gargantuan consumer market in India. But that too is a minute aspect. I want to speak of the great optimism I have and confidence in the India we, the young, find ourselves in. And it is the young component – the quantitatively highest slab of the population that can make the perception change.  

And yes, it is true that there is a lot that is not quite something we can be proud of. Lots that needs change. But, despite the odds our industry, our entrepreneurs, our corporate professionals, little shopkeepers   bulldoze ahead regardless, with a tenacity characteristically Indian.

‘Young India' can be the  operative agent of transforming the slavish anglophile accent adopting India- to be a country that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the world. We need to change our low self esteem. There’s lots wrong with present day USA BUT THE, but we can learn from their Pride in their country that stands undiminished. We need some of that and with enough reason. Already the voting masses are more aware. Already they are becoming less gullible and demanding more of their representatives in govt. 

Without going into the effectiveness and intricacies, Anna, Ramdev, Kejrival, Subramanim Swami are the signs of angst and stirrings amongst the people. The Media too has appointed itself as a catalyst. A more idealistic minded youth, and not so slowly India will tap into its better side. My wish for INDIA IS THAT A FEW LEADERS COME UP from among our youth, who are truly concerned about the country's welfare, education, infrastructure, social security. A more patriotic, educated, decisive and goal oriented leadership-with luck, even charismatic. My vision is of an India that makes me even more proud,   because I am living in the times when this vision is seeming to emerge.

But most of all, my memories of the holocaust of hatred expressed upon my beloved, iconic Hotel Taj & other public places within a kilometers radius from my home, on that 9 /11 (verify) make my prime dream that India is a nation that is truly secular, tolerant .even appreciative of differences and diversities.  I wish institutions of religion and learning would nurture & inculcate an awareness of brotherhood 'Neath the differences and diversities, and be empathetic, tolerant, and even appreciative.   Brotherhood as a practical social theme is win-win that hardly needs elaboration.  It broadens the outlook, brings about cooperative benefits and an ambiance of 'feel-good.' Hatred is gross and disruptive and plain avoidable.

My wish list for India would be motivated, value driven youth.  I would cal upon the young 2 take up the challenge of them being the movers & shakers of the change that is possible & the time is so right.





Nisha JamVwal 
Written for & published by Youth Inc Magazine
& Tweet her on @nishjamvwal
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