Sunday, December 05, 2004

Pride or Vanity?

I am very reluctant to touch old smelly stuff, but I have to rant somewhere before I receive some more . Over the last five years, coinciding with the increased usage of email in India, some wellmeaning but clueless friends keep on forwarding a couple of emails to me to make feel 'proud' of the achievements of India. If there is anyone reading this, go read those letters first and then come back read my responses.

The first letter gives all those utterly useless crap *ahem* 'trivia'

Can't believe those guys are still falling for that fake email circulating as 'recent study.' It is one thing to be proud of our country but fallacies is not a good sign. This is not to discredit all the things India has achieved.

At the peak of Nalanda University, the world was limited to Japan on the East, and the meditteranean Roman Empire on the west. South was limited to Ceylon and possible Maldives and/or Madagascar. North of India, China was the only region known, not even our closest ally Russia was known at that time. Also remember that 'India' existed only as thousands of small warring kingdoms, so close to 90% of the 10000+ students would have been from within the subcontinent (@ an average of 10 students per country). People would have definitely come from far west and far east to take advantage of the excellent university, just like desi students fly to the western countries and down under.

Sanskrit is indeed the mother of all Modern European languages.

When they say Sanskrit is the most suitable for computers, they talk about the grammar (constructs) and them alone, not the script or vocabulary or stuff like that.

Indians have not invaded a country in 1000 years because they were not a single country then but thousands of kingdoms and a few republics (Yes, the oldest republic is from the sub-continent, that too in lawless Bihar.) It is false to say that 'Indians' never invaded another country. There were thousands of kingdoms were effectively thousands of nations and they were busy, what's the word here?, umm yeah, INVADING EACH OTHER. Ok, if we don't considering 'brothers' fighting as invasion of other countries, it is still false. Cholas were frequently invading and plundering Ceylon, and the Chola Navy invaded some Indonesian islands (Sumatra, I think) and spread Hinduism (and to some extent) Buddhism in S.E. Asia (though Buddhism is more popular there than Hinduism).

Proclaiming "Days are not far off when we Indians, whether in India or otherwise, will be a dominant force to reckon with if not already…. " is just vacant, empty, jingoistic rhetorics, like the rooster shouting from the top of a haystack. Mere feel-good words like these won't help achieve this, only actions.

The second is about India having found the largest diamonds in the world and became the richest country in the world

Jeeesus, what a load of crap! Alot of people had their heartiest laugh in their lifetime because of these guys. Isn't it enough that we have a very bad image outside? Do we need to appear so desperate to show our 'superiority' over the whiteys? The World Bank paying India in instalments? Why hasn't the the USA invaded us yet? The funny part is, I am still receiving this kind of bull. Friends realised this once explained, but some India-based mailing lists still transmit pooh like this.

The third and another funny one is that of a 12th standard student disproving Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

In short, there is no Dr. Massimo Martelli, President of IAP. There is no IQ-meter at the American Embassy in Delhi, There was no Prof. Carl Uppsala, Chairman of the Nobel sub-committee for physics reported in the Times of India. And I am still waiting for that Operating System superior to Microsoft Windows. An Indian scientist disproved Stephen Hawking about that black hole theory he had, but was disgraced first by his Indian colleagues and was kicked into oblivion.

I thought this craze ended by 2002, but it has been almost 2 years here and I am still receiving such 'be-proud-of-yourself' emails. Thankfully, they are making only quarterly appearances nowadays. I think the Indian companies themselves are sending them during their quarterly report time to divert attention from their pathetic performances by making the shareholders 'feel proud.'


Vasanth said...

This is not based on certain emails received. Infact i have not received any e-mails of that sorts... This information purely based on the information provided in the website maintained by the Department of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism and Culture of the Government of India.. Which proclaims that it's the only official website of Ministry of Tourism.... You may still claim that crab or you may say you dont trust the indian government website...

I leave it to you... I am very sure that the days are far off we will certainly be a force to reckon with.... I dont want harp on the past but future will certainly tell a different story... I am always an optimistic...

Lumbergh-in-training said...

First, you were fortunate to not receive such emails clogging your inbox.
Next, websites of Indian Ministries should not be taken at face value, especially trivia section. They will put anything to increase their image.
Like you, I too want to India become a force to reckon with.

Nth Dimension said...

Excellent commentary on the three email forwards. About the first one, well, its amusing to read that we Indians have to be proud of the fact that a third of America's doctors are Indians...

About the other two, well you must have obviously heard of urban legends...they qualify as amongst the most far-fetched ever. Something similar to the supposed email experiment that AOL, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo and whoever else, conducted to track messenging and email usage. Remember that crap which claimed you would get about $200 per forward or some such.

Treat emails of the second or third type the way you would treat a steamy pile of dog shit...with disdain..and forget it. It isnt worth ranting about.