Tuesday, June 07, 2005

National Pride

Didn't get much time to blog, came across the following on net, yahoo groups....
I have used the same title.
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Madhu Trehan wrote an article. She writes regularly for "Outlook" and in this she is replying to a letter by a reader. Both the letters are shown below.

A letter she received.

Hi Madhu,

I have read your articles ever since I was a kid and you were at India Today. You have often come across as a balanced person not prone to Gandhi nonsense, until now. I live in a White Nation (the US) and have never felt like a second class citizen. Only a blind and a deaf person can compare the pride of a US citizen with the indignity of being an India. A US citizen trusts his government, knows his/her death will never go unpunished, while an Indian solider is there to die. Elite is a bad word in India because 95% of our country lives in abject poverty. Next time ask the waiter in Taj who served you the Rs 400 drink, how much he makes in a month. The Durban who opens the door for you, ask him how much he makes? I bet his monthly salary will be around your dinner bill. Shame on you and journalists like you who have failed India in the past with colored reporting and are doing so now. They should feel ashamed. Rather than calling Bush names, maybe we should hang our heads in shame on PM's like Vajpayee who is too old to walk, too much of a coward to protect his people.

Maybe, just maybe, the day people like us (the English educated hence smarter) start feeling ashamed enough we will start making changes in India rather than just exploiting our servants and labor class. It anguishes me to read this national character articles. A nation that cannot feed its people (a la Orissa) has no character, a nation whose children move around naked (Mumbai) has no reason to feel proud, a nation whose elected reps call religious riots "opposite reaction" has no future. Once again, shame on you and all of India. I am ashamed to be an Indian and shame on you for suggesting anything else.

Chet (Chaitanya)

Madhu Trehan's response was:

Hello Chet,

I will answer your letter point by point. Your name. You can be Chet or Jet, stay away from the sun, fake an american accent, but you will never be able to run away from Chaitanya. He will always be there even though you hate him today.

Gandhi, whom you hold in such contempt, despite all his controversial behavior, is largely responsible for the fact that there is no white boot on a part of your anatomy today. You live in a white nation but you are not white and never will be. You can fool yourself to believe that you are not treated as a second class citizen. You choose to forget the Dot Busters, the Sikh who was killed because he looked foreign and rampant racism.

How many times a week do you have to explain where you are from and spend your time EXPLAINING India to Americans? I cringe to think what you say to them about India. We do not need spokesman such as you. You will never be able to share a good desi joke with any of your new friends. If you can’t laugh together; you cannot understand each other. You will always be an alien.

Yes, we are economically poor compared to US but we do not have to suffer the highest rate of teenage pregnancies, kids coming into schools and killing students and teachers, the highest rate of suicide among college students, alienated parents and children, lonely old people dumped into old age homes, drugs being offered to eight year olds (as my daughter was when she was in the UN school in New York), serial marriages and divorces. The US had a president who was senile and deaf (Reagan), one who turned out to be a serial sex offender (Clinton), and now you have one who didn’t know the heads of state of major countries and ignored warnings of a terrorist attack months before it took place.

The US is responsible for massacres in Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Chile and the list goes on. The rest of the world does not view America with the rose-colored glasses you have been brainwashed by the US media to see through. And, how much does a waiter in Jean Georges restaurant in Trump International Hotel in New York make compared to the price of the drink he is serving? The labor class is exploited all over the world.

You seem to very upset that I am pointing out we have a national character to be ashamed of and we should do something about it. Your insistence that we stay ashamed and do nothing about it is perhaps to make it easier for you to live in a country where the only religion is to hang out at malls and accumulate consumer items you don't really need but have been dictated by advertising to buy to keep the US economy going.

It is not by accident that Americans are flocking to yoga and meditation classes to buy happiness. You have done well to leave a country you are ashamed of. Call yourself an American but sooner or later your disguise and American Halloween costume will frighten you enough to get rid of it. I love America's energy and have good friends there. New York is a center for an enormous outpouring of creativity and imaginative thinking.

Every country has its own problems. It is for the people who belong there to take responsibility for change. If you are so far removed from India, ask yourself why you are so anguished with my article. Chaitanya is raising his head, Chet is in trouble.

Regards,
Madhu Trehan

9 comments:

M.B. Nataraj said...

Well said Madhu.
We Indians are blessed to have great souls like you who can provide a balanced view.

We are able to appreciate this more so because we have the other extreme views, which most often, frequently are the majority.
Chances of unbalanced views are more like 98 out of 100 as Chet proves.
Thanks to Gaurang for posting this
vital exchange.

Anonymous said...

What utter nonsense!

Instead of addresssing the issues/questions that Chet posed, she goes on to attack him personally, as well as America.

Let her first answer his questions.

"you to live in a country where the only religion is to hang out at malls and accumulate consumer items you don't really need but have been dictated by advertising to buy to keep the US economy going."

And this is written by an editor/contributer to an actual national magazine??? Well, writing like that certainly could not go international, at any rate. Does India know the meaning of "professionalism"?

And Madhu, I bet your sweet little ass that the waiters in the expensive Trump Hotel restaurant are making damn good tips, baby!

Now do some real reporting!

kalisekj said...

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Anonymous said...

I personally felt it is an excellent reply by Madhu. In fact in the last few days I was going thru similar thoughts. About the pack of lies on which the whole nation called US is built, ofcourse an view I am putting with extreme version to highlight the point in contrast to Chet....

Bush – Attacked Iraq on the pretext that they had weapons of mass destruction… So much war and loss of life still going on and not a single weapon found. Gandhi on the contrary got freedom to such a large nation from such a suppressant British rule without any war or bloodshed.. As Madhu says.. you may argue about lot of his habits and personality traits.. but yes he has achieved that feat… no one can beat that or deny that…

I was listening to the new ad CNN is giving about Larry king… ‘40,000 interviews and I am just warming up’… such a big lie and no one even bothers to think can it be true… How can a person conduct 40,000 interviews.. and of what quality can they be??? Even if one does 5-7 interviews a day which is very high… it will take him 22-25 years to do so many considering 250 working days in a year (which Americans never work anyway)… So I strongly believe that the US world is built on lies about everything. The common man does not understand… and does not have the wisdom to understand that these are lies.

I was also pondering on the research some of the American scientists have published that they have done about the lunar landings being completely fake and only been shot in some place in Utah in a race against the Russians to prove their supremacy in the world… There was a complete series of shows on Fox and there is a video of the same available. Some of the questions that those scientists have asked NASA are astonishing and NASA has no concrete replies….

patriot_ap said...

It's true that U.S. seems to be more organized & planned compared to OUR NATION but as Madhu said every country has its own problems.U.S. has stringent rules®ulations because of which it seems to be well-organized.But to my observation,all commodities in U.S. are from countries like Japan,China,Korea... and of-course INDIA.Infact if all such countries which either supply man-power(like ours) or commodities,stop supplying them further,I guess U.S. will be equivalent to a BIG ZERO.We have brains and they have money.So now they feel they've an upper-hand.Future of every country,in my opinion depends on people.Power of these lazy-Americans is nothing compared to that of ours.The main problem our India has got is with the politicians and the population-related problems.If we ever have good ruling power to keep everything in place all problems would be solved.

patriot_ap said...

It's true that U.S. seems to be more organized & planned compared to OUR NATION but as Madhu said every country has its own problems.U.S. has stringent rules®ulations because of which it seems to be well-organized.But to my observation,all commodities in U.S. are from countries like Japan,China,Korea... and of-course INDIA.Infact if all such countries which either supply man-power(like ours) or commodities,stop supplying them further,I guess U.S. will be equivalent to a BIG ZERO.We have brains and they have money.So now they feel they've an upper-hand.Future of every country,in my opinion depends on people.Power of these lazy-Americans is nothing compared to that of ours.The main problem our India has got is with the politicians and the population-related problems.If we ever have good ruling power to keep everything in place all problems would be solved.

Anonymous said...

madhu trehan has just finished a book Prism Me a Lie: Tell Me a Truth TEHELKA AS METAPHOR. It is about contemporary India even tho it started as an expose of Tehelka sting operations on Jaya Jailty, President of BJP then and army officers. worth reading

jiva chohen said...

IN THE HINDUSTAN TIMES
WHO’S AFRAID OF KARAN THAPAR?
By Madhu Trehan

March 01, 2009
First Published: 00:22 IST(1/3/2009)
Last Updated: 00:23 IST(1/3/2009)

You write a book. You get some good reviews and some bad. It’s part of the game. Then comes Karan Thapar’s ‘column’ (I’m terribly sorry, Madhu, Sunday Sentiments, Feb 15). A piece that was personal, obviously motivated, filled with epithets. So Thapar says that you shouldn’t read my book. Fair enough. But Thapar says he hasn’t read my book.

Could it then be that a friend of Thapar’s has read my book and told him that nobody should read it? It could be. What could it be that Thapar’s friend does not want anyone to read?
How did the story about the sex workers find its way into the press? Who does it serve to bury the statement of the then advocate general of Maharashtra Goolam Vahanvati’s that he refused to appear for the SEBI because it was against his conscience? Who gave me the phone number of Beni Chatterji, the Mumbai lawyer who was arguing cases against First Global?
Why should this person have it in the first place?
Why should readers trust an unreviewed book review written by a clone of ‘BBC Hard Talk’ who seems to believe that being nasty gives him an USP? But where are his favourites ‘Pertie’ and ‘Mummy’ that he bangs on about? (Pertie is Karan’s alter ego who he uses in his column to say stuff tht he is too cowardly to say!) Time to bring them out of the closet.
Here’s Pertie and KaTy playing ‘Prism Me a Lie: Tell Me a Truth.’ KaTy prisms Pertie a lie, Pertie bounces back with the truth.
Pertie: Remember that last Diwali party you went to? Didn’t you tell me you asked Madhu Trehan to promise to come on your show after she talked about her book?
KaTy: Yes and she looked pretty frightened.
Pertie: But why is the book in your column? You called it a dud. Why not just ignore it if it is so bad?
KaTy: [screaming] Because it’s been a No. 1 on the bestseller list for the last two weeks. Because Vir Sanghvi wrote, Madhu “…tried to use Tehelka to understand how the Indian media, and perhaps even Indian society, function”. Raja Menon in Outlook called it “blazingly honest and idealistic”. It must not be read, specially those chapters on you-know-who! So I honoured my commitment.
Pertie: To whom? Wasn’t your comm…
KaTy: Comb out? Yes, my comb out was done at the beauty salon yesterday.
Pertie: You keep interr…
KaTy: Internalise? Of course I have to internalise my motives.
Pertie: You never let me fin…
KaTy: Finagled? So what if I finagled Madhu?
Pertie: But you told her to flag portions for you to read for the interview because you have no time to read.
KaTy: How do you expect me to put a fix on what a dud the book is in an interview? It had to be done hit-and-run. No chance for her to respond.
Pertie: What are you going to do when you meet her?
KaTy: I will make a graceful exit like this…[KaTy exits with a swish and a grand jeté out of the room]
Mummy: He has left without his baba suit. How will anyone take him seriously if he doesn’t wear his checked suit, yellow 
striped shirt and yellow polka dot tie?
To be dragged into sleaze has to be a low point in my nearly 40-year journalistic career. Thapar cut large portions of a paragraph and chose only what suited his assignment. He gives himself the opportunity to announce the allegation, that I did “blur criticism and paper-over Tehelka’s faults”. I had also written (which Thapar cut out): “This was a serious breach of fair journalism. Tehelka said they wanted the public to know about the corrupt system. The public was equally entitled to learn that there are honest officers.”
In Chapter 24 ‘Ethics and Journalism — Not So Fine a Balance’, I analyse in detail the state of journalism and, if anything, Tehelka and other journalists have reason to be upset with me. Those with an agenda find it easy to plant any kind of story. This cannot happen without the cooperation of taxi journalists who damage the credibility of the profession.
I am privileged that I have been given a chance to respond to Thapar. I got an email from Thapar after the newspaper had gone to print, warning me as he ostensibly claimed, “in all fairness” what was to appear the next day. He also ostentatiously added, “Once again, my most sincere apologies.”
If you demean the profession by misusing it to carry out someone else’s agenda, I guess he is right to be ashamed. Did Thapar have any idea that my publisher Pramod Kapoor, Kiran Bedi (who conducted a debate at my book launch) and I all received a ranting email, which is strikingly similar to his piece? Since I was out of the country and did not read Thapar’s ‘warning’ email, a friend sent me an sms that morning: “It is better to have a thousand enemies than have a friend like Karan Thapar.”
Wonderful to be liberated from that burden.
(Madhu Trehan is the author of Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie; Tell Me a Truth (Roli))

goutam bhattacharya said...

i have come across many such ABCDs, wallowing in their own excreta and deriving masochistic pleasure out of licking American rears. The current specimen is an exceptionally vivid collage of ignorance and arrogance. The specimen cannot even construct a proper sentence in English, let alone a cohesive argument. The cognitive ability of the specimen mirrors that of the Americans he admires.
It is fascinating to see an attempt to defend American war mongering as revenge for American deaths. Why did they start the war in the first place?
It is possible that the IQ of the specimen is somewhat above 45, but certainly not by much. Nevertheless, the said specimen has been admirably house-trained by its masters. It has been trained to ignore gloriously, uproariously blatant exploitation of the 'differently privileged' by the insolent rich.
American concepts of laissez faire (let do), democracy and freedom of expression are, at best, pastiches of the original [European] ideas. The Wall Street bailout [welfare for the well-fed] is the latest example. Do you guys remember Al Gore and the chads of Florida?
Once in a while, we come across results of general awareness polls in the US of A. For example, nearly half the American population believes in Creation as opposed to Evolution. Someday soon, i'm going to find the time and collate data on this area of scholastic brilliance. WATCH THIS SPACE!
It is possible that Madhu Trehan was under time pressure, and that explains her half-hearted, surprisingly mild reply.
i wish i had the email addresses of Shree "Chaitanya" & Madhu Trehan. Any of you guys out there who read the 'Outlook', can you hear me?
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I’d like to meet anyone (colour, caste etc immaterial) in America, who can stand up and publicly claim he is a communist! So much for freedom of speech!