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Geek by profession, thinker/writer/artist by passion. Part-time blogger,social media enthusiast and a tramp by nature :) A Man Of Mud


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are we becoming Americans ?

Are we becoming Americans? By "we" I mean the great Indian middle class. If that sounds ambiguous, let me try again. We,the English-educated,urban,upwardly mobile class, with a 9 to 5 job or small business owners,blogging,tweeting or ranting in the coffee-house or a tea-stall on a weekend. But before continuing I should mention that this post is a continuation of my previous one on  "arnabism". Arnabism is an unusual phenomenon in which the media ceases to being non-partisan actor and assumes the role of the self-righteous,digital vigilante.

However,blaming media for every ill is easy and a bit unfair too. After all, the media reflects the opinion of the people or at least a segment of it. If an opinion poll were held among the literati, both online and physical world,  overwhelming majority would favor deployment of army as well as the air force. There has been much concern over police excesses and human rights violations,especially towards innocent villagers and tribal caught in the cross fire between security forces and Maoist militants. One needn't be a defense expert to say that civilian casualty (or collateral damage if you prefer) would be huge if the army and the air-force are pressed into action. Of course, air-strikes, artillery use within the territorial limits of our country is perfectly fine as long as the operations take place far from the cities and townships where most of us "Indians" live. Remote interior regions like Bastar and Malkangiri are not very accessible physically but mentally they are another planet altogether. So what if the inhabitants of these regions constitute more than a third of our nation's 630 administrative districts, they have never been a part of our collective memory. Estimates put the strength of armed Maoist cadres at 20,000 while the civilian population in these region would easily amount to hundreds of millions, so can the state put millions of citizen's lives at risk to eliminate militants ?
 Well, my apology for digressing from the topic, I only wanted to explain why air-strike is a.. well...stupid idea :P But that brings me to the original question, are we becoming Americans ? No, I don't mean as powerful, or as rich as the Americans but as stupid!

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not trying to stereotype an entire nation, I am just reiterating what most of the mankind believe! Google search auto-suggestions throws much light into how Americans are perceived by everyone else.  
Just a couple of weeks back I was quite shocked to find the result of a poll conducted by Harris Interactive which revealed that more than half the Republicans believed that Obama was a Socialist, Muslim and a racist, who resents American heritage and wants the "terrorists to win"
However, the USA has produced many brilliant minds and continues to do so, but a large section of its population continues to behave in a manner that leads rest of the World to consider them less intelligent. So what could be the reason that a fifth of the population of the world's  most developed nation believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth !!!

Most people tend to believe that life in the US has been so cozy that the people there have stopped thinking. Fast food, television shows, Hollywood and sports are what their lives revolve around. No wonder, they just ain't bothered if Earth revolves around the Sun or vice-versa! Of course, belonging to the world's only super power is yet another factor that leads to complacency. If it requires just a button press to get a can of coke, to switch channel from MTV to CNN, shouldn't a button press be enough to deal with the enemies even if the are half-way across the world ? After all what are US ' awe-inspiring weaponry for if the average American was required to get involved in such situations ? Don't video games and Hollywood movies make it abundantly clear that  fragging the bad guys is the only way to deal with them!

Coming back to the topic yet again, it seems India's urban middle class is hurtling in that direction. We are so accustomed to ATMs, instant coffee,2-minutes noodles and Twenty20 cricket that we start looking for similar, "quick and easy" solutions to almost every problem we face. No wonder, after every terror attack there is a great deal of clamor for stringent anti-terror law, as if a piece of legislation can on its own (like a magical incantation) eliminate all anti-national elements. Similarly calls for deployment of army and the air-force in Naxalite-affected districts, reflects unwillingness of the people to reflect on various aspects of the problem. 

"Stupidity does not consist  of absence of ideas. Such stupidity would be sweet, blissful stupidity of animals, mollusks and gods. Human stupidity consists in having lots of ideas but stupid ones"  - Henry de Montherlant