PM Narendra Modi is a huge Star Trek fan. He’s busy setting foot on lands which have never been explored by the Indian Prime Ministers. So every time his dhobi brings in his freshly laundered jackets, Modi zips off to a new land, while Sushma Swaraj is left looking longingly at her silk saris in the closet. By the time she lifts her head after the traditional Namaste at the Delhi airport after receiving the PM, thinking she’s finally going to pop the question to Modi about who the real Foreign Affairs Minister is, Modi vanishes again.
Gargling his throat all the way, Modi then strides like a Colossus in the foreign landscape singing his favourite tune of “Made in India”. Personally, I prefer him being silent and Alisha Chinoy doing the honours singing ‘Made in India’. To his credit, however, Modi has been a rock star abroad. The flamboyance, the colourful Nehru jackets, the selfies, the camaraderie, the oratory – all trying to say that India is a country to reckon with.
Yes, Mr Prime minister, it’s a laudable effort. A brave front, a brave effort! The emphasis is to capitalize 25 sectors of the economy for more jobs and skill enhancement. Some of these sectors are automobiles, aviation, tourism, pharmaceutical, wellness, railways, among others. But isn’t it time to stay home and see if all is in order for ‘Made in India’ to succeed.
What is a ‘Made in India’ brand? Is it the soup we’ve landed in with Maggi noodles? A thirty year old brand which is running in our blood has now been suddenly termed poisonous. So, does it mean that ‘Made in India’ means no checks, no scrutiny, and no penalty for adulteration? It obviously means after a leading MNC confesses that it adds beef juice in their chocolate. So much for our thriving wellness industry!
What else is ‘Made in India?’ ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ – the guest is equivalent to God. And boy, do we respect them. We harass, touch our foreign guests inappropriately, make fun of them, laugh at their faces, and lust for their skimpily clad bodies. Poor Aamir Khan must have made a fortune at our expense. We continue to disregard, and he continues to make a buck promoting the country. This is Indian hospitality and selling of the Brand India.
Our automobile industry’s growth is everybody’s envy. Gone is the age of car pools. Now it is the time to show the Sharmas your new Audi. So the streets are teeming with cars and our men twirling their moustaches in pride with their 15-20 lakh car purchase. Wonder what happens to the ‘shaan’ of the moustaches when we get to know that none of the cars on the Indian roads pass the criteria of safety norms. So, is this ‘Made in India’ where human life is so lowly valued that we smile and thump our chests out when we say that we have the highest fatalities on road in the world?
Mr PM, you say ‘Beti Bachao’. Yet, so many of our ‘betis’ never see the light of the day. If they do, they’re thrown off like baggage from a moving bus and so defiled that even the devil would squirm. So, is this “Made in India’? This disrespect to women, this thought that men can punish a woman by raping her?
Modi Sir, your “Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan’ is laudable. But why do we see the roads being maintained, the footpaths painted, the shrubs clipped off only when our VVIPs come calling. Where does this army of human power disappear when WE come on the roads? Isn’t it ironical that our Bharat needs to be ‘swachch’ for those people who, except their white starched kurta pyjamas, have nothing else ‘white’ in their lives?
‘Made in India’ will succeed only if we have ‘Pride in India’. Pride in its institutions, its capabilities, its research, its manufacturing, its efficiency, its transparency, its honesty!
Signing off with a small related incident:
Once an Indian taxi driver was driving some Japanese tourists to the Delhi Airport. As a car whizzed by, the tourist said, “Oh! Toyota – Made in Japan! Very fast”. Not too long afterward, another car passed the taxi. The Japs said, “Oh! Nissan – made in Japan. Very fast!” The Indian taxi driver was getting annoyed. Just then another car went by and the same comment came, “Oh! Honda – made in Japan! Very fast!”
The taxi driver angrily stopped the car, pointed to the meter, and said, ‘That’ll be Rupees 500.’ ‘Why? It was a short ride! Why so much?’ The taxi driver smiled as he replied, ‘Meter – Made in India. Very fast.’