To Learn and not to Yearn

Taking a different track today, I am a little amused by two contradictory pieces in Sunday TOI. I usually merely skim and scan through the newspaper, but I found myself glued to these two taking in every printed word.

The first one pertained to the recent SRK incident at Newark Airport, where a senior Indian police officer, agreed that it was racial profiling but candidly admired the functioning of the US police without political interference wishing that he and his juniors had the same autonomy and work culture. The second piece has delivered coup de grace for a certain senior journalist, whose editorials I always read. The scribe pronounces the NRI an “intellectual nuisance” who needs to be “royally ignored”.

True that in the metro towns of India, generally speaking, the NRI is no longer an object of reverence and his yearly gifts are not eagerly awaited. But what about the rest of India, the major chunk of what makes up India, exemplified by the Doaba region in the north and Kerala in the South. Non-resident Indians are supporting the economies there, more than any Union or State budgets.

Even in the metros, although the populace no longer yearns for the material goods from a non-resident Indian, the latter has very important lessons to teach the resident Indian of the likes of Mr Xenophobia in the garb of a journalist. These are some of them:

1. A non-resident Indian has made himself successful in a foreign land with little or no personal support system by his sheer grit and determination. How many resident Indians can claim to have achieved success on their own and not through nepotism or favouritism of some kind? The ratio between the two will be pretty skewed in favour of the former.

2. A non-resident Indian has learnt to respect and follow laws of the land of his residence, whether out of fear of consequences or out of moral uprightedness. How many resident Indians can I claim to know, who in their daily lives do not violate or try to circumvent some law? Negligible.

3. A non-resident Indian has learnt to keep public and common spaces clean. What the resident Indian has done to our public spaces and monuments is pretty evident. Any place in India can be converted, at the drop of a hat, into a public lavatory or garbage dump.

4. A non-resident Indian pays his taxes, by and large, so that it can pay for social security of those in need. A resident Indian finds ingenious ways of evading taxes to hoard more for himself and his family, turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the needy, visible and audible, everywhere in India.

5. A non-resident is extremely supportive of his brethren in the foreign land of his residence. A resident Indian has raised the crab mindset to an art, to be applied indiscriminately. Whether it is the famous sons of Dhirubhai or the not-so-famous family aptly depicted in the soaps, everyone seems to enjoy family bickering. And don’t even get me started on how a resident Indian treats foreigners!

I am not sure what inspired or instigated Mr Know-it-all scribe to write something like that but I am pretty sure that he did not reread it. If he had, he would have acknowledged that for resident Indians, although there is nothing to yearn but certainly a whole lot to learn from a Non-resident Indian.

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