enda dei?

Once in a while I run into the "awaken, arise.." post somewhere. It's usually in an Orkut 'community' (forum). I usually don't react to the posts thinking "well, that's what you do too. Sure, it's little less pretentious, but you do it." But today, I just put my 'self-critical' side to rest and replied. Part of the post reads,
There is a Gross misconception & myth in our country.Rooting for indian cricket team is a way to show to prove your love for nation.This has led to a pathetic situation in our country.You make them Demi Gods one day & the other day you abuse them.Will Sehwag's back to form give the indian population 3 meal a day? How many of you can name atleast 20 hockey players who have played for india? But if i ask you what was the highest score of Sachin in test,iam sure i would get atleast a million answers.
I said,
Cut the idealistic nonsense man. You're talking as if everything else is done for "3 meals a day". This world works in a way that it encompasses all bullshit. In fact there's not much difference between bullshit and "useful" stuff. They are all a part of the bloody economic ecology. They function within their levels of sustainability. Why are you judging others' trivial priorities?

People go on hunger strikes to ban a stupid cartoon. Where does your "3 meals per day" argument fit in that picture?

And stop romanticizing hockey. Sure, it's our "national game". But where did it come from? It sure didn't come from India! Hockey and cricket, they both came from the same damn colonianist white pigs.

How does it make a difference anyway? I know several kids who can name all Indian states and their capitals. Does that make them more patriotic or political?

Your points are non-sequitur man. It's the idealist "oh mother India.." sensationalist BS that we are tired of hearing. It's the modern version of "elu Tamila, vengaya Tamila" BS of the Dravidian movement. It only gets us all jingoistic and arrogant, nothing else. It's not your fault, though, we should twist Kalam's arms for encouraging this trend.


The Individualist said...

*rolls down on the floor laughing at "Ezhu thamizha... vengaaya thamizha!" :))

Sharada said...

Hi Suresh

I discovered your blog recently and liked it (especially for the excellent links in your blogroll). I enjoy your analyses but for once, I disagree.

I do not fully agree with the person you have quoted, but he has a valid point.

There is a Gross misconception & myth in our country.Rooting for indian cricket team is a way to show to prove your love for nation

If you believe in things like "patriotism" and "national pride", be sure you do so for the right reasons. It is true that a lot of people believe that worrying about India's defeat in cricket and India's pathetic performance in Olympics and Asian games (and hockey) is an expression of their patriotism. It is to such people that I say -- In a developing country like India, sports is not a national priority. Victory or defeat there is not going to benefit or harm the nation. Worry about our nobel prize tally, not the Olympic medal tally.

You're talking as if everything else is done for "3 meals a day". This world works in a way that it encompasses all bullshit.

Of course, you are free to indulge in any bullshit. Just don't confuse it with "patriotism" and "national pride".

Here is my take. As a residing citizen, I expect a minimum quality of life -- decent roads, sanitation, quality education for my children, more jobs. Since the government has vested itself with most of these responsibilities and I expect it to work towards making. What's happening? Our MPs scream themselves hoarse in the parliament worrying about cricket. That enrages me. If only our people get their priorities right...

I know several kids who can name all Indian states and their capitals. Does that make them more patriotic or political?

It doesn't even make them "intelligent" which somehow they think it makes them. That, however is another topic..

Read these well argued articles by sports writer Nirmal Shekar on this topic.

Written during the 2003 world cup.

More recent..

The Individualist said...

I apologise first for intruding to reply to a question that was not addressed to me. But considering that blog comments and their responses are generally public and hoping the owner wouldn't mind, I indulge.
Victory or defeat there is not going to benefit or harm the nation. Worry about our nobel prize tally, not the Olympic medal tally.
It's a different matter altogether that a victory or defeat there will 'benefit' and 'harm' the nation in its own degree and am not going to argue upon it even though I can.
Worry only about the Nobel prize tally and not the olympic medal tally?
Please be practical. So, what do you suggest? Everytime I watch a cricket match and raise my hands in exhilaration after Sachin hits a six, I ought to feel guilty that am not working my way towards gaining a Nobel prize?
M-W's definition of patriotism goes :
Patriotism (Function: noun) : love for or devotion to one's country
So, if I choose to show my patriotism i.e. my love for my country, by rooting for my cricket team, I don't see any glaring 'sin' committed and even if it were, I'd rather not have someone preach me on what I ought to do spending my free time or what sport I should root for (like that person hinted at, by fuming about people not being familiar with hockey!!) or how I should feel guilty for not worrying about my neighbour not working towards a nobel prize, when I wait to watch Anju George jump.
I will just quote a few sentences from that guy's raving and you might want to see how judgmental, prejudicial, annoyingly idealistic and preachy, they appear.
"There is a Gross misconception & myth in our country."
Jesus. Was that based on any statistic? And even if you disagree and think it doesn't have to be, to call someone's pastime and hobby, a 'myth' and 'misconception' is being excessively judgmental and prying. Moving on -
"This has led to a pathetic situation in our country."
Someone watching Sehwag bat and letting out a flurry of abuses after watching him prod his way into getting out, leads to a pathetic situation in our country? Or does more and more people doing so, leads to the pathetic situation? What else? Abusing the director of a shoddy movie, criticising an awfully made music video, tearing apart a boring book - Does it all qualify under 'leading to the pathetic situation in the country'?
You make them Demi Gods one day & the other day you abuse them.
So, what? What's the point? Like Suresh says, 'non-sequitur'.
It's just a pathetic attempt at trying to make people feel 'guilty' for their 'trivial priorities' and of course, trying to make himself look idealistic and 'patriotic'.

Suresh said...

Hi Sharada,

My opinion on this issue isn't as clear cut as I would like it to be. As I had said, I just allowed myself to be less 'self critical' and rant out an unbalanced opinion. So I agree with your disagreement, especially about politicians. They do need to get their priorities straightened.

But this post was addressed to the people in a Orkut community. I find that a little shallow. The same applies to the Hindu article (the old one). They are both addressing the English speaking - rich enough to go online/buy a newspaper - crowd. I don't see the relation between their obsession with cricket and "3 meals a day". I think it's safe to assume that people who are struggling for a 'decent' livelihood are not reading 'The Hindu'.

Of course, I'm not going to say the 'English speaking' sections of the society are more efficient. But I think they are already in a position to afford confused priorities. Again, of course, people with the direct responsibility of serving the public need to straighten themselves.

I have always argued that one need not be proud about things that happen by chance. So I generally dismiss national pride of any kind and patriotism to a lesser extent.

When you say "a developing country like India, sports is not a national priority", I assume it's based on its economic contribution. In that sense, whether Nobel larureates (or the scholastic achievers in general) bring more money than sports people is highly debatable. The same goes to what best expresses "patriotism."
China, despite its astronomical growth rates, is still a developing country. But they have announced 3 million dollars for all Gold medal winners in the forthcoming olympics. Why? They want to usurp USA as the leading medal winners. They are right, it'll makes a strong political statement. It'll announce their arrival as the next superpower.

Measuring everything simply in terms of its economic worth is very simplistic - even for a "developing country." When you enter an irrational realm like "patriotism" I don't think you can weigh what makes it worthy rationally. So the seemingly irrational passion and obsession with cricket is not a bad means to express your "patriotism."

But I, personally, agree with Nirmal. It is better to be indifferent about things that essentially repetitive and probabilistic. And it's interesting that people are actually indifferent to some of the things that are repetitive and probabilistic - wars, terrorist attacks, natural calamities etc.

As I said, I’m not sure about how I feel about the whole thing. Even the stance that I have taken above is how I feel now, at this moment.

@ Sudhir

That's cool ;) As you say, it's all open for discussion.

Priya said...


Why are you pulling Abdul Kalam into this vengayam as you say? His encouragement to bring out the talents in youths has got nothing to do with this "elu thamizha...'. In fact, I think he is the best thing that happened to India. I don't know about what you or others think.

India has every resources to become a 'developed' country. But the youths in India lack encouragement. Kalam's words and his books encourage these youths to bring out their hidden talents. Sure, it sounds like romanticising the whole 'mother India' thing. But isn't it something that they all need?

Your opinion and your comment on this matter is okay, otherwise.


Suresh said...

Nah Priya, he is one of the most overrated guys in India. His involvement and contribution to Indian atomic research are both quite dubious. At least, they are not as good as claimed by many. Politically he's mostly been sterile. Whether he could have done any better or not is a different issue.

His writing is extremely hackneyed. It might have had some effect, on a personal level, on a few people, but that's how much I want to credit it with. There's no reason to believe he made a collective upliftment of our morale.

You see the ways and functioning of our government and society; nothing has changed much. If anything, it's because of the economic development and it was already on the rise. Economic growth - at least the one fueled by the private sector - has a self motivating characteristic, it doesn't need external forces necessarily.

We are all used to addressing the "youth" for everything. It's a non-existent entity. Who is the Indian youth? What kind of people make up the Indian youth?
The people who are contributing to the growth as of now – technical graduates – are either forced by their parents or lured by the lifestyles of others. Either way, they are contributing to the growth automatically. They are not it in dire need of any encouragement, really. They are not all that “directionless” as the media often tries to make them to be. If a person loses out on this “mass movement” I don't think he's going to sit and read Kalam's books before he/she gets his/her butt to do something better. Seriously. A guy who can sit, read and understand his writing does not need any motivation or encouragement.

That's one of the reasons I don't like his writing – the way he tries to box people as the “Indian youth”, “Indian this, Indian that”; branding individuals. It's not just his book, I don't believe in any self-help/motivational writing that is written when things are already set in motion. Hitler just wrote one Mein Kampf.


Escape.... Great Escape said...

I think why your friend said what he said was his inherent anger at trivializing more important issues and edifying cricket.

you took at his comments more literally... I feel both of you are right.

About Abdul Kalam... it is important for a group of people to 'emulate'? someone (in atleast parts)... actually need not be original or even true. If the masses think the person is a great person and are inspired by his purported achievement... i feel we can still continue to follow that image. Abdul Kalam I feel is that figurehead.

Yes... you alwasy run the risk of that person being exposed. I hope that never happens.. because AK is a pretty good inspiration presently to the milling masses. (basically because i am not sure anyone other living person has that charisma... and intent).

Suresh said...

Yeah, as I've said, I've seen myself being at both sides of the argument :)).

About Kalam: Yeah, I respect him for his intent if nothing else.

The Individualist said...

Abdul Kalam. Well, yeah. Now and then, you hear him deliver those speeches encouraging the Indian 'youth' to go for 'it'! :p
In my opinion, after considering all these years that he's been in 'power', I wonder why he seems utterly 'powerless' to do anything. The intent, as you say, seems to be there but something about him seems to convey his powerlessness in politics. I sometimes even wonder if he was just 'used' for political advantage. Well -
(One of the best things I like about the way you argue is sentences like, "Indian youth? Who is the Indian youth? What kind of - " )

Sriram said...

The Brits gave the identity of contemporary "India", stopped the destructive influence of Islam/ Mughal pillage, effected social changes and brought the Industrial Revolution (electrical & mechanical) to "India".

So colonialists yes, but not pigs, and it was good for "India" in the long run. They also gave $5 billion* for the years of "exploitation".

*source: Freedom at Midnight by Dominique La Pierre & Larry Collins

- I

Suresh said...

@ Sudhir – His powerlessness is an extension of this position. So we cannot really blame him in that area. (yeah I usually attack the part that is oversimplified and packaged gratuitously. Glad you noticed.:p)

@ Sriram – The “benefits” of the British Raj are highly debatable. Because, it'll basically be full of counter-factual arguments.
We can start with this question “Were the people of the princely states longing for the creation of a larger entity that we now call India?”
That is, should a Tamil be happy that he's a part of India or regret that fact she could have been a part of much wealthier country had it been left alone to utilized its natural resources for itself?

But I generally agree with one “benefit”, though – they did end the direct political power Muslims had over us (though not completely).

When you compare the amount of money the laundered $5 billion is nothing.

All that aside:
When I say colonialist white pigs – I refer to their mentality. Their greediness to acquire more land and wealth. Their Euro-centrist, racist vision of the world. The imposition of everything native on everything alien in an auxiliary yet forceful way.

Durga said...

"patriotism" and "national pride"...yuuckkkkk.

Since Australia day is coming up...I'm going post on that.

Anyways, Suresh are u on ORKUT? Paavam da naan, yaaro friend add punni vitaanga....but I only have 2 people on that (Orkut seems full of Curryz na?)...well if u like...add me? :P

Suresh said...

I'm somewhat fine with patriotism - to love your country and defend it wherever it matters.
National pride? - meh!

Orkut isn't all that useful if you were thinking about "extending friendship" or anything of that kind. Orkut has some really good forums and yeah it has a huge Indian population. The crowd is relatively young so the posts in Orkut communities are little less annoying when compared to other forums.

I'll try to find you first (there are just too many Durgas - like Suresh, Satish, Karthik, Naveen etc ). You'll have a lot of fun participating in the discussions (at least for a couple of weeks).

Priya said...

That is true of what you are saying in your comment. I'm not saying that Kalam did 'this' and it has led to 'this' and 'that'. I'm just saying that he is at the least doing that 'something'. Whether people really follow him and his words is of entirely another matter.

I just joined orkut after hearing about it from my friend. And from you. Let's just see what's there. My friendster account has been sleeping for 6 months already. If you ask me, such accounts are a waste. Kandavanga vanthu friendsa seruraanunga. I only join these sites to see what my friends are replying in the forum discussions and just to know more about them.

Durga said...

Patriotism in Australia is flag design on your flip flops, drinking beer, putting on some green and yellow zinc on your face and having a BBQ. We aren't too keen about waving flags etc.

National pride is only talked about amongst the conservative old/prudish bastards in parliment, in old folks homes and on the sporting field (especially when we play against the Poms (Bristish).

Orkut sais u have a degree in Sociology. Hmm. I have a Bachelor's in Social Science. I majored in Politics, Humanitarian, Peace and development studies. Sounds like waffle huh? blaahhhwww!

Priya, I was kinda surprised when u requested me to add u as your very first friend on ORKUT. Please let me know if u see any cool forums.

Durga said...

I just spelt 'says' as 'sais'...OMG...it's 4.30am and i need sleep.

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