Sunday, January 07, 2007

The First-Indians !

Few days ago, a news-story on one of the premier English news channel caught my eye. The fact that I’m writing about it, does imply that there was something that I do not agree on ! :) - not that they care, but it has kind of become my favourite whipping horse.

Maybe I should start that Media-Watch blog !

Coming to the point here. The news item that got about 5 minutes of air-time in the news and several re-runs was about an Indian born, US emigrated Gujarati girl getting into the US Army. The news-story was title, the “first Indian Girl in the US army”. This is what gets my goat. I do think there is nothing Indian about that girl. She was with Indian origins – it was very very obvious and extremely crystal clear, that she has severed her links with anything India and Indian and has chosen to become a citizen of some other country. So where is the first “Indian” coming from? I find such links quite irritating. There seems to be awe with anything American that the news-channels seek with their eyes wide-open in some kind of childish wonder. That is really not Candy, folks!

I found the same with both Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. They are not Indian citizens. They have nothing to do with India now – God bless them, they have made a different choice and that is clearly not India. I have no grief regarding their personal choices; the grief I have is how we continue to be proud of the Indian-ness that they have, in a way, rejected. So why do we hang on to that tenuous link and be proud? I recall the days, when there was a joke on the #cricket on the internet-relay-chat (IRC). If one could prove mother of one’s twice removed cousin of one’s father’s sister-in-law is English, then one could become an automatic eligibility to play cricket for England – this was during Hick’s time. These channels claim to such links also seem as absurd as those.

There are lots more of India in a few others who are in India who toil for India living in India. Can we highlight those, please? Can we be proud of such people, please? For example, there is one Mr.K.R.Datye, who has done pioneering work on Solar/Thermal units that is capable of producing heat up to a point, where it would extremely useful in our rural areas; how about the one on composites out of Bamboo, that has near-steel strength and that can bring down the cost of construction and thus an affordable housing?

Those are the real “First-Indians”, literally and figuratively speaking.


En Chiang said...

Over the last couple of months, I have begun to discount what I hear and see in the media. They take up campaigns, like the current Nithari killings, exerting so much pressure on the authorities that the possibility of a fair trial for the accused becomes nigh impossible. The media do what I call 'selective reporting' to build a story, and while what they report is probably true, I do not believe it's the complete truth.... and therein lies the danger!

apologies for the rant!

ramesh said...

agree with your disagreement on the media view..i think lot of people who have felt similar about it and i read a few other columns expressing the same feeling about the media view on "First Indians"

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

4EnC: Yep; sometimes they do behave like p*$%ks. But as a business, not sure if I can fault them, since they gotta make money. However, i think, given where they are in a democracy, a bit more of social obligation is expected of them, i'd think. Do read my other rant on them @

4Ramesh: As above. Actually, one thing that i worry about; media with their power of reach can seemingly highlight the errors of other foundations of democracy. But who would do that for the media? What if they form a cartel ? :) Only hope there is that there are atleast two such cartels!! :)

Anonymous said...

catching up.some of the news that are being given airtime are scary. -ww