For Those Who Choose to Ignore the Facts – There are a Lot of Good Things in America that India Must Follow
During this election to Indian Parliament, I was following closely the campaign of Dr Shashi Tharoor, Congress candidate from Trivandrum. In fact I did all I could sitting in US to help spread the word of his candidature. As the election campaign progressed, his opponents (read communists) came up with so many allegations against him with the intention of maligning his image. One such allegation raised by the communist in Kerala against Dr Tharoor is that since he has stayed in America for long he is “Americanized” with American values and hence not fit to represent the people of Kerala.
Lot of people in Kerala especially majority of communist sympathizers views America as an evil country. For them America is the cause for all the problems in the world and all American values are things to be opposed. But what they fail to understand is that if US is the one of the strongest and developed countries in the world, it could achieve that because it has established a system in place that is far superior than most of the countries including India. I believe there are lots of good things that India and Indians can learn from US.
I have written earlier of some qualities of America and Americans, I feel the Indians should follow. One was the way the Americans respect all jobs, another one was about the willingness/eagerness of Americans to go back to school at any age and another one was the health consciousness of majority of Americans. To add to the above list two more good qualities of Americans – corruption in day to day life is almost non existent here and the way people respect and obey the law of the land.
In the last eight years I am in US I visited India three times. Out of the three times I landed in Trivandrum airport two times I was forced to pay the customs officer to clear my bag even though I was not carrying anything that was not permitted. This was in sharp contrast to US wherein the last eight years I never had to pay even a single cent to any one as bribe. No one will ask you nor do we ever think of bribing anyone. If you violate a traffic rule, cops will give you a ticket based on the violation but what about in India? In most of the cases the police will harass you till he gets some money from you. I got a drivers license, car, house and so many things without paying any penny here while I may be forced to run from a pillar to post if I am not willing to pay bribe if I need to get any of these things in India.
Now assume a city corporation in India makes a new rule – You are not allowed to smoke inside any closed public place including bars. If such a rule becomes a law do you think the people coming to the bar will restrain from smoking sitting inside the bar (that too after drinking)? The people may smoke more cigarettes sitting inside the room to protest against the rule and in that process gets the satisfaction that he or she is above the law of the land.
Now in sharp contrast this is what I have seen in City of Tempe, city where my school Arizona State University (ASU) is located. The City of Tempe council has passed a rule that smoking inside closed public places is banned in Tempe. Since that rule became a law I have not seen a single person smoking inside the bar. They go to the patio or outside to smoke whatever be their level of intoxication. So for them the law of the land is to be respected. For most of us the law of the land is to be broken.
Continuing with the same story - the bars in Tempe started losing customers as those who prefer to smoke while drinking started going to bars in the neighboring cities. The bar owners in turn incurred huge loses. If such a situation happens in India what will bar owners do? They will protest against the government taking out possession blocking the roads and thus causing maximum discomfort to the common man. What did the bar owners here do? They contacted their local elected representatives and tried to change the law. But the support for the law was so strong that the effort of bar owners failed. Still the bars in Tempe follow the same rule and guests and owners are fully co-operating with it.
In the last eight years I have never seen a protest anywhere near the school blocking the road or causing hardship to the people. If a group feels that a particular rule has to be changed they have a system in place like contacting the local elected representatives, getting necessary issues to put the issue in ballot etc to change the rule. What do we do in India particularly in Kerala? For small issues, conduct bandhs and harthals, destroy public property and create umpteen hardships to the people. For anything and everything the government in power does the opposition parties will oppose even without considering the merit of any of the policies.
Corruption free society and a society that obeys the rule of law – these are the two pillars for a democracy to succeed and a nation to progress. America has to a large extent succeeded in both and hence it is one of the most developed nations in the world.
So communist friends in Kerala, understand one thing – there are also good qualities in nations like America that we should follow and the earlier we start following them the better it is for us. If we choose to ignore these good qualities and oppose America blindly our democracy is never going to mature. Thus Dr Tharoor who has spend majority of his life working in US understands these good things in US and I feel this experience will make him a better MP and an administrator if elected.
Labels: Communist, Corruption, culture, Current Affairs, elections 2009, India, Lifestyle, Politics, Rules, Shashi Tharoor, US