I recently received a forward mail from Utsav that has generated some debate. I am posting it below.

Forwarded Conversation
Subject: Fabolous Article abt India!!!Are we dreaming the correct future for ourselves!!!!!! DO read

From: utsav kumar
Date: Mon, Jan 22, 2007 at 5:41 PM

I belong to life's batch of 1979 and as I grew up through the 1980s and early 1990s I was deeply embarrassed about India. About everything, our movies, our cricket team, our athletes, our products, our infrastructure, our poverty, our politicians and the whole damn system.

No matter what we did, we fell painfully short of potential. Time and again! It hurt because I wanted to belong to a big, strong nation that could kick some a** and not to some laggard.

But the story has changed, and how! Here I am in a brand new 2007, miles away from sweet home India, yet still closely following her story. Now they all say that it is not so much 'whether or not' as much as 'when' will India become a superpower, a world beater.

India is shining, India is poised and India is everywhere, so I hear. Now the embarrassment and the heartaches have been buried with the 1990s.

Instead now there is a swelling pride and a sweet anxiety as we roar back into being a nation in fashion. And I am very happy for India and for all of us Indians. I am 27 now and I pray that I can see India fly highest before I kick the bucket.

But here comes the twist in my tale. I no longer want India to be a superpower in the manner I wanted it to be when I was naive and without a broader perspective. I no longer want it to be another big and brawny US. I don't want it to be a superpower that is just made up of brain and brawn, that is GDP performance and military might.

Rather and more pressingly, I want India to have a heart. The heart of a superpower, a civilised country. Now what is the heart of a country? Let me try, humbly:

Having a heart, unlike GDP growth and a military beef-up, does not just relate to the macro-economic and political issues. Having a heart of a real superpower essentially has micro implications, for each of us. Each of us can soon belong to a mighty nation and all that but then what is the point of belonging to one if we indulge in or turn a blind eye to child labour?

Are we ready yet to ask for the age of our servants or avoid and report restaurants where the cleaners are boys who should be in school? I ask again, what is the big thing about belonging to a superpower if we continue to pelt stones at speechless stray dogs and cows? What is the big deal?

We can spit on the roads and throw the banana peel from a travelling car and still India can turn into what the world calls a superpower. The two are not corelated but then do we just want to be a mighty country and not care about our manners? We can buy a multitude of cars, bikes and look down on public transportation and still become a superpower. All our trees can make way for ultra modern townships. But then do we just want to belong to a superpower and pollute without caring about our environmental legacy for our children?

Are we ready yet to smile freely at random countrymen on the streets? Or if someone's car rams into ours are we ready to get out and ask, 'Are you ok?' instead of fisting the aggressor?

Are we poised to replace brutal ragging at our educational institutions with warmer welcoming gestures? Are we there yet, when we care to build local infrastructure that can also be used by handicapped people? Will we ever care enough for our country that we pick up our dog's poop when we walk it on the streets?

And will we dance on the streets again if India successfully tests another nuclear weapon? Are we ready yet to have a heart?

The time has come for us to become an economic powerhouse of the world. There is no stopping us now. But the time is certainly not here as yet for us to claim that we have a collective heart, the heart that makes a real superpower beat soundly. That's going to take a while.

Till then let us not kid ourselves at the prospect of becoming a superpower.

The task at hand is a lot bigger than the mere achievement of becoming an economic powerhouse and having destructive weapons. Let us be aware, lest we stop and rejoice as soon as we become the world's largest economy and stagnate.

Let's keep moving onto bigger things. Let's become a real superpower. A superpower that beats to a super heart.

Ravi Bhaskar is a software consultant based in Calgary, Canada.

From: Indrasen Bhattacharya
Date: Thu, Jan 25, 2007 at 5:43 PM


That article has been written by a typical example of what the
BIGGEST problem with our nation is today. The guy who wrote this is
based in Canada. Why doesnt he come back to India like and do his job
for the country if he really cares instead of sending out emails like
that? He is one of those disgusting people like Arundhati Roy who said
- "If India becomes a nuclear power , I will give up my citizenship."
Would you rather have it, as this person seems to, that India
should have remained nuclearly handicapped and in a position to be
blackmailed by just about any rogue country like Pakistan or North
Korea ? AND this guy doesnt care even about the smaller problems like
poverty, illiteracy or child labour else he wouldnt be in Calgary. Its
very easy to send emails like that. Its hard to come here and do
So, next time please exclude me from your prestigious list. Oh, by
the way "fabulous" is spelled in this way.
-Yours indignantly,

From: Divye Kapoor
To: Indrasen Bhattacharya
Date: Sat, Jan 27, 2007 at 5:27 PM
Hi indi,
It looks like you feel really strongly about this subject. So do I. But my viewpoint on this message differs from yours.
To quote you:

"That article has been written by a typical example of what the
BIGGEST problem with our nation is today. The guy who wrote this is
based in Canada. Why doesn't he come back to India like and do his job

for the country if he really cares instead of sending out emails like
My opinion on this point is that you need not be in your country in order to participate in its upliftment. Take the case of the massive PIO and Indian diaspora present in the US that is flexing its muscles in order to ensure that some pressure is brought on the US Senate to ensure that Indian interests are preserved while passing the Hyde Bill. Their contribution is behind the scenes but it plays a part nonetheless.
Another case in point is the flourishing Indian culture in the UK. Not only has it helped remove the stereotype about India as a land of nakid fakirs and snake charmers, but it has also proved to be an enormous source of Repatriation of foreign currency to India, thus contributing to its booming economy.

"Would you rather have it, as this person seems to, that India
should have remained nuclearly handicapped and in a position to be
blackmailed by just about any rogue country like Pakistan or North
Korea ?"
Firstly, nowhere in this mail has he opposed India's testing of a nuclear weapon. He has used the fact that the testing of a nuke brought people out on the streets, rejoicing in our technological development. He has asked people in general whether they would rejoice with the same fervour if India tested another nuke. The real question being whether testing another nuke brings us any closer to the emancipation of the large mass of human society that lives below the poverty line in our country. The first nuke test served the purpose of a deterrent to nations that intend to use their military might to suppress us but any subsequent tests serve no purpose at all except as signals of our increasing proficiency in nuke tech.
"AND this guy doesn't care even about the smaller problems like
poverty, illiteracy or child labour else he wouldn't be in Calgary."
Note that he has mentioned child labour and our careless attitude towards our country in his mail. That would definitely not support your assessment that has does not care for the smaller diseases ailing our country. Also note that he categorically states that he has been following the "Indian story" ever since the 80's, so you can't brand him as an unfeeling expatriate.

very easy to send emails like that. Its hard to come here and do
Again, I don't agree with your viewpoint. You don't need to do things on a massive scale in order to do something to help your nation. All you need to do to make a difference is to pay some conscious attention to the finer details in your day to day life and coach others to do the same. After all, you are the future of this nation. The bad guys will not be at the helm of this nation forever you know. You too can enter politics but I don't think you will. Why's that? Its because you don't want to fight the system. Sitting here in this country too, you can only crib about politics but might not even go and cast your vote (not now but when you are eligible) simply because you don't care about which bad guy heads the government. To phrase it in your words, its really easy to send such a mail expressing anger at an Indian settled abroad for not caring but it does pay a little to have a look at what you can do for your country, irrespective of your location. This mail is his way of stirring up discussion and its doing its job fairly well.
That's my humble opinion,
Please comment,

Huff!!! That is a really long post....Which side of the debate do you lie on? Do post your opinion.


  1. hmm...lemme see...i think arguing about dis topic is neither gonna help fabulous india nor u or me... n methinks ppl like dat guy hav nothing better 2 do dan waste time and publicize bout themselves by raisin a controversy... attention seekers one and all.... wat they need is a boost of confidence... hurrah! india won by 160 runs! now DATS sumin dat v shud all b proud of!INDIA. we can be proud of INDIA no matter wat.

  2. This topic is a debate that can go on and on............ Its never ending............. And writing a comment about it seems rather unsatisfying.............. I'll probably post my opinion on my blog soon...........

  3. Anonymous2:20 AM

    Umm Swift, no we cannot "be proud of India no matter what". There's innumerable examples on inequity, discrimination and inhumanity even within India - examples that the first bit has highlighted so I won't repeat.

    It's not a question of garnering publicity for oneself - god if it were that, wouldn't it make sense to go to NDTV and say the whole nation is rubbish and all this hype about power is just that - hype.

    Indraneel has posted some of the most rubbish comments on India that I have seen. Bullied by rogue states such as North Korea - what newspaper does this guy read? More importantly - what grass does he smoke.

    The first bit of the post was extremely intelligent and relevant - it didn't fall for either of the pitfalls that ail the Indian 'intelligentsia' - uneccessary pessimism or chest-pounding displays of bravado.

  4. hmmm...om...i said we can be proud of india no matter what... no matter what its condition is,im proud of it. that doesnt mean that im happy about its downside. no matter wat state the country is in, no matter how illiterate the people or how corrupt the government, it doesnt mean u stop being proud of our nation. You were born here and so far She has given you EVERYTHING.Isn't that a reason enough to be proud of Her?Nobody is asking you to stop working for Her good... you can be proud of something and still help it improve... there is nothing stopping you. We all can work for her good, and just because there are downsides to India doesnt mean you allow people to pass their judgement on her and stop being proud of a nation that has supplied you with EVERYTHING you have so far including your parents. THAT itself is reason enough to be proud of her. No matter what.


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