Skip to content

What do you think India needs from Us?

October 15, 2008

Musical Mood : Rang de basanti

The other day, I recieved a generic forward from one of my friend…..It said it was Abdul Kalaam’s Speech in my hometown, Hyderabad. I dont know how genuine it was but it did make me stop and think…..

This is the excerpt….. I am taking the liberty to post something thats not written by me here coz I thought….whatever words lie few lines below are by far the general “Facts” of India, “Present” Situation and “Attitude” of Indians.

I believe…..Practice is better than preaching….Living by example is much better than giving boring lectures……I think, whatever the change is… it major/minor…..personal/social…IT HAS TO START AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL!!! So, Its all about “us” and about “attitude”!!

Read on!!

Why is the media here so negative?


Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse acknowledge them—  Why? 
We are the first in milk production. 
We are number one in Remote sensing satellites. 
We are the second largest producer of wheat.
We are the second largest producer of rice. 
Look at Dr. Sudarshan , he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. 

There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters. 

I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper… It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a  Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.

In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. 

Why are we so NEGATIVE? 

Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign T. Vs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.

Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture,when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India . For her, you and I will have to build this developed India . You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation. 

Do you have 10 minutes? Allow me to come back with a vengeance.

Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice is yours.
YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old. 
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage. 
YOU say that the phones don’t work, the railways are a joke, 
The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits. 

YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it? 

Take a person on his way to Singapore . Give him a name – YOURS. Give him aface – YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best… In Singapore you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground links as they are. You pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road ) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity… In Singapore you don’t say anything, DO YOU? 

YOU wouldn’t dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai . 
YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah . 
YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds ( Rs.650) a month to, ‘see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.’ 
YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop,’Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so’s son. Take your two bucks and get lost.’ 
YOU wouldn’t chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New
Why don’t YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo ? Why don’t YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston ??? We are still  talking of the same YOU. 
YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India ? 

Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay , Mr. Tinaikar , had a point to make. ‘Rich people’s dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place,’ he said. ‘And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the 
officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan . Will the Indian citizen do that here?’ He’s right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. 

We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. 
We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. 
We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. 
This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like those related towomen, dowry, girl child! and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? 
‘It’s the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons’ rights to a dowry.’ So who’s going to change the system? What does a system consist of ? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. 
When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England . When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out 
to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money. 

Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a greatdeal of introspection and pricks one’s conscience too…. I am echoing J. F. Kennedy ‘s words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians….. 


Lets do what India needs from us.

Dr. Abdul Kalaam.

PS : I dont know if this could be published here without any copyright issues!! I am not aware of any and the mail said forward it to as many as you can!! So I am posting it here!! I am sure I shall respect copyrights if any are brought to my notice!!


10 Comments leave one →
  1. renuka permalink
    October 15, 2008 4:56 am

    I read the email too. It was very thought provoking. As you mentioned, this has to be done at individual level. Lets make sure we do the right things when we are back home. [:)]….

  2. October 15, 2008 9:50 am

    Yes we need accountability at personal level. It is so true but not the following…


    What is so great about these eternal colonial powers. They have made this earth hell. Let’s not become like them… prosper at the cost of others.

  3. October 15, 2008 1:22 pm

    A thought provoking speech. We represent India not only our home. So its our own responsibility to keep our nation clean and work towards its development. Nice post 🙂

    Me too posted a similar kinda post in my blog yesterday:

  4. October 15, 2008 1:42 pm

    Nice post, Nice email… every1 has to understand that one can njy his rights if he fulfil his duties 🙂

    and yes you have been tagged!!I would be glad if you do the tag.

  5. October 15, 2008 3:05 pm

    Yes, it is a thought provoking e-mail forward that has been doing the rounds for a long time . . . I don’t think there would be any copyright issues with this one 🙂

  6. October 15, 2008 6:55 pm

    I forgot to answer the question.
    WE can do two very difficult things:

    !) Corruption – avoid easy ‘short-cuts’.

    2) Vote – not on caste/religious lines. This is almost impossible for most Indians.

  7. October 15, 2008 9:43 pm

    @ renu…..I am soo happy to see u commenting on my blog darling!!

    @swaps…..Ya thats a good point i missed….but i think he must have meant it to be position/power/prosperty…anyways…i too think personally that we by no means shud take them as role models/targets….rather we could take China/Japan.

    About what we can do abt it?? I feel….it should start with one being just with themselves ….rest cud follow 🙂

    @Kanagu … nice point….I believe this is something achievable….dont you think so? What we need to bring out is some awareness among people!! Also, in this speech, Kalaam targetted the educated public of India….so i felt he is hinting at educated part taking responsibility to make the uneducated/under previlaged understand this!!
    I will be glad to read ur post 🙂 Thank you

    @ Sharad….. Thanks for the comment….I feel we have the potential to live upto those dreams ….it needs a start somewhere….:)
    Thanks for the first ever tag I recieved…I hope I understood it correctly….will soon post 🙂

    @ Raj….. Ya its a forward….but i guess we should not take it as just another fwd…:) I dont know yaar, I feel rather helpless sometimes here in UK when I see certain things/hear about Indians….They are not good to feel great…they are not false to strike of/show resentment!! Feel like telling them, its all gonna change soon!! somehow….i feel, we can bring change soon….all it needs a start spark!! 🙂

  8. October 16, 2008 5:18 am

    so it s very simply what this speech is asking: to be the self (equals to and to be the spirit). when an individual is completely integrated with its on spirit he/she will blossom automatically and rise very high in all his her dignity connecting to the highest forms of behaviour and undertanding,so again automatically one will start to focus 100% on good things cutting out all the negativity from inside. it s cool to be good and a whole nation can shift to a new level of positive transformation. thanks alot for posting this!

  9. October 16, 2008 8:11 pm

    I always think that I will see a cleaner India soon. And as Kalam suggested we must take the responsibility and take our nation forward.

  10. October 19, 2008 3:33 am

    Sahaja, we don’t need any model nations…..certainly, NOT China. It is ridiculous. Yes, we should learn social justice (inheritance tax) from Japan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: