As an upright, upstanding citizen of Bangalore, I am very much upset at Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) actions these past few weeks. Fustofall, I must tell you, I am not one of those people who go around always criticising the country. For your information, I am very proudest Indian. Everyday I am doing my duty by forwarding emails about the greatness of the country. For example, I am forwarding email about how rangolis (kolams) are scientific. Because, you know, no other culture, in the history of the world, has ever created art that is symmetrical and has squiggly lines. Actually, everyday, many articles are coming about how our ancient culture is based not only on science, but also nanoscience and even pseudoscience.
But coming to the point, I am upset by how irresponsible BBMP have been. How it is possible that they embarked on a cleaning drive without giving sufficient notice to the public? Who do they think they are, some kind of civic body? Citizens like me were left shocked and disoriented for many days because they cleaned some arterial roads. You can understand our plight. See, even for courier company fellows, we have been giving directions like, “Turn left at the garbage dump that looks like an elephant–no, not that one, the other one. Then, where you see a man doing su-su, you do u-turn.” Now, how we simpletons can proceed if all such city landmarks are removed?
I am reading in the paper this clean-up drive is because some big-shots were coming from San Francisco to make Bangalore their sister city. Apparently, BBMP’s good people have said that they wanted to project a clean city to them. Since when, we Indians have been worried about impressing Westerners? We are such a proud and ancient country. I mean, it’s not like we worry about which movie to send to the Oscars, is it?
Actually, Indian culture is the greatest when it comes cleanliness. You are not seeing all the posters we are putting up or what? “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, “Don’t commit nuisance here”, and so on. We are the only ones in the entire world who take a bucket-bath everyday. More than half a dozen rituals we are having to purify ourselves before pooja. And also, we’re the only ones who leave shoes outside the house, use left hand for cleaning our backsides, etc. Inner beauty is what matters. Outside the house and all, is really not our problem.
Without understanding this, so many of our fellow Indians are bent on criticising the country. Again and again, these waste-fellows are focussing only on bad things. They are like that Naipaul who said, “Indians defecate everywhere”. How dare he? Just because 620 million Indians defecate in the open, doesn’t mean you can make baseless statements like that. That’s only 50% you know!
Such people want to change everything. It is very anti-Indian actually. We are so perfect, why to improve? They keep saying things like “Don’t throw kumkum-smeared pumpkins on the street during Ayudha Pooja”, “Don’t dump Ganesha idols in the sea”, “Enjoy cracker-free Diwali” and, lastly, “Tell husbands also to fast for wives on Karva-Chauth”. Come on. Why should we change tradition just because of some jujube noise and pollution problems? Is it not more important to uphold our adamantine principles? And since when did a little bit of patriarchy ever hurt anybody?
Last year, some Chinese website had put all photos of dirty places in India, and all our fellow Indians were sharing it. I am cent-percent sure all the photos were fake. Whoever heard of corpses rotting in the Ganges? Why would we do that to our sacred river? And anyway, Chinese have no rights to comment. I have been to China, and not one restaurant was able to serve a decent Gobi Manchurian. How to respect people who ignore their own heritage like this?
We need a movement to bring back our pride of Indian culture. There is so much the West can learn from us. Next time, a foreign delegation visits an Indian city, no sweeping all our garbage under the carpet. Let it all be gloriously on display. We are not ashamed of it. We should tie one lime and chilli to their car mirror, put a lime under each tire, and then break one kumkum-stuffed pumpkin in front of them. Maybe then they will stop thinking all rubbish things.
This is the unedited version of my column published in Asian Age/Deccan Chronicle on 8 Dec 2013
Links to some stories referenced above: