Monday, November 27, 2006

False Pride and Prejudice!

False Pride and Prejudice!

Here is an interesting post I found on the false pride and prejudice of elite in India who think if they speak English, dress western, eat western that some how they are better and smarter than the rest of the Indians. If a country can not value the real merit of its people regardless of gender, religion, caste, race and lacks compassion towards other human beings, how can it be called developing. It seems like India is going backwards. I wonder why everybody has been able to rule and conquor Hindu India in the past, because it is full of people with false prides and prejudices. Even many Sikhs that act like Hindus would fall into this category where they honor caste bias, gender bias, believe in astrologers, drink, smoke, cheat, lie and all. I guess it is all maya and as humans there is no easy escape from all this, otherwise there would be no need for Gurus and God.

THIRD EYE Barkha Dutt

June 24, 2006

One of the most awkward — and yet, strangely compelling — things about
journalism is that sometimes, your work makes you hold a mirror to
your own life. This past week, a quiet, but determined, 16-year-old
became an unexpected reflection of my education.

I have always believed that my school and college years were the first
architects of my personality; like every middle-class Indian, I take
pride in where I studied and what I was taught. And yet, the gentle
idealism of this young girl made me pause to wonder: had my public
school education been shamefully elitist?

At first, the story seemed straightforward enough. Garima Godara, a
CBSE topper, with an astonishing 97.6 per cent, had taken the entrance
exam for Delhi Public School, Dwarka, the school closest to her
village. The daughter of a police constable who earned less than Rs
6,000 per month, the school's fees would have been a problem. But the
family was undeterred; perhaps there would be a scholarship or a loan;
surely the school would be keen to admit the girl who had topped the
national capital's merit list. Garima's proud father had spent months
battling the entrenched patriarchy of his peers, fending off nosy
neighbours who gossiped about why she didn't spend enough time in the
kitchen. Now, he was even more determined to give his daughter the
best education her marks could buy.

This could have been the story of New India and its emerging,
self-made middle-class; a proud milestone for a country that dares to

Instead, here's what happened: DPS turned her down. Her results were
good, it conceded. But marks aren't everything, said the school
principal to NDTV, and besides, her English was poor, and just didn't
cut the grade.

Later, listening to Garima in the studio, it was hard not to feel
both angry and moved. Angry because of the obvious injustice: not only
was she as bright as her results indicated, there was nothing about
her spoken English that suggested that she would have been unable to
keep pace with the syllabus. Yes, she spoke with a regional accent
that some would consider insufficiently sophisticated. But there was
no doubt that she could not only follow a complex argument, she could
also make herself understood to any English speaker.

But it was her calm that was almost heart-breaking; a quiet courage
that belied her teen years. It was almost as if we were more outraged
and indignant than she was. During the course of the programme, a
principal from a well-known school in Dehradun called in, offering her
admission and a scholarship; others promised to get DPS to change its
mind. But betraying only the slightest sense of hurt, she said firmly
that her aim now was to show DPS that she would do better than any of
its students. She had already got herself admitted to another school
and DPS could, quite simply, take a walk.

As she spoke, viewers clearly shared my anger. The online poll showed
that 90 per cent of viewers believed that the English language exerted
a disproportionate influence over the education system.

Yet, were we all being hypocritical and dishonest? This time it was
DPS under the microscope, but were any of us any different?

Let's say, she continued to do outstandingly well in school. The next
stage would be college. I pictured her trying to take the entrance
interview at my old college, Delhi's St. Stephen's. Would she get in?
And even if she made the cut, how would other students react to her
presence? Would they admire her for her academic brilliance? Or would
they snigger at her accent, titter each time she made a grammatical
error and then, melt away, leaving her alone to find her own friends?

Garima's story is a metaphor for India's twisted tryst with the future.

I learnt after the programme was over — and it is significant that
neither she nor her parents brought this up themselves — that she is
an OBC.

For some months now, as the debate over reservation has raged,
opponents of the quotas have made the same point again and again: we
should be a society where merit matters. It's a compelling argument,
and one that I have personally supported.

But what do the anti-quota street fighters have to say now? Here's a
girl who competed in the mainstream, her own DAV pitched against the
trendier, richer, big names. But her merit was swallowed up by

Is it any wonder then that supporters of reservation believe that the
system is stacked against them, and that merit is a con-word used by
upper-caste tricksters?

Her story is also a scathing comment on the class divide in India. It
is fashionable for marketeers and economists to talk about the
burgeoning middle-class. Each day a new figure is conjured up to
demonstrate the size of the Indian market, and the clout of the new
middle-class; is it 250 million this week or has it already reached
300 million? We embrace these statistics, because we like the idea of
India as this century's favourite financial destination. We feel
flattered when Time magazine puts our country on its cover, and we
talk glibly, especially to foreigners, of social mobility and how the
gap between the rich and poor is closing; we argue that India's
tomorrow is being built by its industrious and enterprising
middle-class, and we feel like the future is unfolding, right here and
right now.

But here's what we never admit. We're just the worst sorts of snobs.

The social mobility of the last decade has meant that the new
middle-class does not consist of people like us. Instead, it is made
up of people like Garima, who we still find excuses to exclude; we
sneer at their lack of Westernised sophistication; make fun of their
accents; and we try and ensure that our children have nothing to do
with theirs.

Finally, Garima's story exposes India's paradoxical relationship with
the English language. Nobody in the world speaks English like us. We
have our own idioms, our own words and our own accents.

We pretend to love our own English and brag about how it is India's
great selling point; the reason we dominate the global outsourcing
business. But, of course, deep down we know that our English is not
the English that the West really wants. And so, each time we talk to
Britons or Americans, we subtly alter our diction and inflection. When
we set up our call centres, we drop the subtlety entirely and start
accent classes to teach our young people to abandon the speech
patterns of our own society and to migrate to a virtual, linguistic,
middle America, where they become impersonators of people they will
never meet and never know.

But within India, we still treat our own English as the great social
decider. We laugh at regional accents, smirk at those who make
grammatical errors and feel most at home with those who talk like us.
Everyone else belongs on the other side of the English divide. And as
it turns out, the other side of the class and caste divide as well.

Maybe we cling so tightly to this tiny community because secretly we
are just insecure. Outside of our little bubble, India is changing.
Every major institution in recent times — Parliament, the bureaucracy,
the military, our colleges and schools — is being forced to rewrite
the rules. A new breed of Indians, who no longer look towards the
West for self-affirmation, is making its presence felt. We like to
call this a decline in quality. But actually, it's the rest of India
waiting to get in.

How long are we going to keep the gates shut?

Taken from


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