Monday, 16 January 2017

Misplaced sentimentalism

We Indians are very finicky about 'Indianness', about being Indians - and for most of the times, for silly reasons.  We take up 'patriotism' too seriously... and too narrowly.  Any and every move of Pakistan is against us.  Everything we do to Pakistan is right and in the true spirit of patriotism.  What we do inside the country to our own citizens is nothing wrong!  No one should imprison Indians.  But Indians ill-treating tourists and misbehaving with foreigners is part of our culture.  'They' cannot imprison us but someone forwarding silly messages on whatsapp can be in prison by the Indian system - and that's very much the way it is supposed to be.  Someone can be languishing in prison for want of proper judicial support or end up in one for lack of finance or political clout. That's how it is and not many question that.

Gandhi-slippers are sold online and that is a grave offense.  Now the home ministry and external affairs department will come down heavily on Amazon! But Gandhiji's numerous statues in the country's lanes and bylanes are in pitiable conditions, leave alone museums or heritage sites related to the same person.  That's OK.  Gandhiji's principles and values of non-violence and tolerance may not find any resonance in our hearts and minds, but that's fine... only slippers depicting him should not be sold!

Let's get our priorities right.  Using Gandhiji's image on a footwear is not the best marketing technique - any fool would know that.  And there's nothing good about it either.  But hey! There are far more urgent, serious and valuable things at stake here, than slippers! 

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