Britain has not learnt any lessons from India?
Britain seems to live in the past, it seems. It likes to see Indians still as slavish, inferior and subservient? No more! Today’s India is vibrant, independent, entrepreneurial and very assertive!
Date : 16.11.2012
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
I am in receipt of the latest issue of Oxford Today ((Vol.25.No.1). It is a beautifully produced and written one. The cover and the coverpage article on the Burmese icon, Aung San Suu Kyi is really touching. Thank you for the same. Other pages are equally engrossing.
Now, the piece on India (pages 46-50) is also interesting. But here one or two observations are in order I feel. One, the coverage is very superficial to say the least. More so when you come to list the famous Indian Oxonians. Of course there would be many in India and outside who might feel that some names are left out or some unworthy are added. This is inevitable.
But the point is that the write-up seems to deal with an India that is no more live or relevant to India of today.
I was at New College (1959-61) and my son, Kartik Isvarmurti, was at Wolfson (1995-96).So two different generations have lived through the Oxford of the very different times indeed.
I went to an old England, still fresh from the Empire days and even my scouts and nay many Englishmen and women thought I was from feudal Raj days and so they addressed me as Sir, which we in India used to apply to the high and mighty. The old British title, Sir, was a very honoured title in India then. But when my son came back the England had changed. Now, after our recent visits we see a very totally disoriented English society, all leveled out and seeking new avenues of survival and fight.
Now, the point I want to make here is that the India now we, people like us, coming from rural societies and of course, the very rural feudal India had changed a lot here too and what we see as India today is one that is vibrant with a radical change. The Information Technology (IT) Revolution had given India an edge in the world. The US is blaming us for taking away their jobs etc.
Now, we, based in Bangalore, the Indian Silicon Valley, are engaged in new entrepreneurship. We are engaged still in our traditional farming in our ancestral village. Our some ventures are devoted to promoting agriculture and rural employment. At the same time, we had established and run a media (both print and online) media company. Vadamalai Media Group(VMG),our ventures, are in a way symbolising, like many others, the new startup ventures and that is the new flavour of the new India!
K.Isvarmurti’s BPO (business process outsourcing) is now a very promising company, servicing US and Indian clients. On a recent visit to UK to participate in an IT/Internet exhibition, Kartik comes back and tells me that the UK IT companies are also looking for US clients and he says that the Indian companies can really help the UK companies in getting US clients much more profitably!
Our one website, agri portal, www.agricultureinformation.com is perhaps the world’s biggest portal of its kind! Yes, Indian startups can give the US and other foreign startups a run for their money!
The point is that Oxford-returned Indians like us are engaged in many big and challenging fields (I went on to found a rural high school in a remote village in 1962, as soon as I returned to India, after travelling through Soviet Russia and Afghanistan and Pakistan! Of course, I went on to join the Congress Party and worked at the Congress headquarters in 1962 to 1967 general elections.
I contested and won a seat on the then Madras Legislative Council. This was the first legislature in the then British Province of Madras. Now, the entrepreneurship gives much more greater satisfaction, we are able create new job opportunities for younger Indians, boys and girls, we have some 200 bright young Indians working for us, through Internet cyber space, there are so many new innovations almost every day, like work from home, that draws the best talents, both young men and women. Even we have employed persons abroad in the USA, with an office in San Francisco.
You have featured Indians who had chosen to become bureaucrats, academics. This is the legacy of the British Raj which created an army of clerks, the famed babus!
What is great about Manmohan Singh and Ahluwalias, World Bank employees turned careerists. Singh had brought great disrepute as a facilitator of large scale corruption in India!
These bureaucrats choose to serve under political masters who are today are seen as illiterates and thus compromise and participate in large scale corruption and misdemeanours. What values they had inherited from their Oxford education and training? One wonders!
So too the others who all seem to be very ordinary examples of Oxoninas. There are great leaders from other parties like the Communist Party of India. You haven’t touched their names at all!
British legacy, a troubled one
Now, one thing I am propagating through my media, magazines and weblog etc is that the British legacy in India is not wholly beneficial. It had created a permanent stigma of slavishness, inferiority complex subservience and diffidence among the average Indians. The ones you have named are also best representatives of these traits.
So, we in the new India now look towards East, to China (where I was recently) and we like to compete with China and other East Asian countries.
Indian democracy is lauded for the way we conduct our elections, our judiciary is fairly independent and our press, though lately getting corrupt is fairly free and assertive. One last point. When the Oxford Chancellor, Chris Patten was in India, sometime ago, there was the party to meet him arranged through the Oxford-Cambridge India Society, a thoroughly paranoid group!(We are all members anyway!).
Visit of the Oxford Chancellor disappointing
The Bangalore chapter asked us to register. We did so. At the last minute there was this note: children are not allowed! So, we cancelled the attendance! I thought the Chancellor missed out a lot. You see Indians are also sensitive people. There are certain cultural traits you have to learn to respect. Indian family values are such that we can accept family members, but not your partners as equal!
Please try to give much information on the new India, new Indians who are driving the emerging, vibrant and a self-assertive India!
Note : This is an edited email text.