Friday, July 26, 2013

The Foreign Fixation

Duncan Fletcher chosen as the new coach of the Indian cricket team, Michael Nobbs to coach the Indian hockey team, Hyderabad sun risers team reins handed over to Tom Moody, Inter college cricket teams namely Spartans, Titans, Phoenix, and Orion to fight for the coveted inter-college champion’s trophy, latest popular game show on Indian TV inspired from popular game show from Poland.

What you decipher from the above examples? Did you get it? No? OK I will tell you, in all the above examples you will see a foreign hand being introduced. At first look, to me and to everybody it looks, sounds very innocuous, nothing to prod over or think. But if you think over, it does ring alarm bells for me.  Now you might think what is so alarming about it, there is nothing to worry about and we are in safe hands or nothing looks ominous. To that I would say yes we are in safe hands, but why this obsession with everything foreign.

There is plethora of instances where we are reeling under this foreign fixation. Take a simple example of our national cricket team. Time and again we have been relying on a foreign coach. Why do we have to resort to a foreign coach when we have stalwarts in our own country? They are no push overs and have proved their mettle at international level for years. Who better than our own cricketers can understand the mind set and psyche of our players? These cricketing greats can be a great asset to the Indian team, but that’s not what BCCI thinks. I am not denying the fact that earlier and even now a foreign coach has been instrumental in bringing in accolades, success to the current Indian team, but can’t we have our own coach who can extract the best from our players and help them reach the zenith? I am not going to buy this theory, that we need a foreign coach to perform well and be world beaters; this is plain colonial thinking I guess. In the past we have burnt our fingers by hiring a foreign coach (read Greg Chapel).  It is known fact that some of the team members were not comfortable approaching Mr. Greg as they could not understand English and Mr. Greg our language. I think its lot to do with our colonial past that we still think we can be better handled (ruled) by a foreigner. That era has gone; we are a free nation now and have proved to the world, we are as good as them or even better at times.

Another example is IPL, look at the bevy of foreign coaches warming the team dug out, the support staff, bowling coach, batting coach, fielding coach all foreigners. Do we really need so many coaches for a twenty over game is a separate topic of discussion altogether. Every Tom, Dick Harry who has played some county cricket or some “Galli” cricket (There are exception though) for Australia, England or NZ is a head coach of the franchisee team. Believe me they are having great time raking in lot of moolah and laughing all the way to the bank, thanks to the BCCI and our parochial thinking.  It’s a poor sight for me at least, that our Indian coaches who are as good as the foreign coaches are assisting them and are happy doing the job, at least that’s what meets the eye. Same is with captaining the IPL team, anybody who is a foreigner is handed over the captaincy irrespective of them having the required credentials or not. Why one Steven smith, Cameroon White need to lead the team, who are they? What are their achievements to hand over the captaincy, don’t we have Indian players of the same talent as these gentlemen or even more in the team to lead?  We were made to believe, IPL came into being to provide a platform for young budding Indian talent to show case their skills. But that’s not the case. IPL should be rechristened “International Phoren League”. Why Why this favoritism for everything foreign is beyond my understanding. In saying so I am not at all ignoring their class or talent. My only angst is we have enough talent but we don’t want to give them a chance for we are still reeling under the colonial mindset. I may sound jingoistic here but no harm in being one if it’s going to provide the platform, opportunity to our people, countrymen, for they have in them to be number one.

Can you ever imagine Kapil dev, Sunil Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar coaching Australian, English, NZ or SA national cricket team? Are they not the champion of Champions, world number one who have terrorized the best on the cricketing field, don’t you think they can bring a lot onto the table for these foreign nations? But no they won’t let it happen ever? Why do you think so? Because they consider themselves the Supreme, the best of the best, and they won’t want an Indian, or for that matter an Asian to teach them or coach them. Would you call this jingoism on their part? I am sure you won’t, then why when it comes to us, why this bias when it comes to our own people. Think Think Think and you will find the answer. Colonial past is deep rooted in our DNA and we are not able to eschew it even now after 66 years of independence.

This is a common sight in any school, college, office, club where various competitions are held, and the participants have to suggest a name for their team. Invariably the names that pop out are the hackneyed ones, the Spartans, Titans, Phoenix, Poseidon, Zeus, Macedonians, Amigos and what not. You would never see a name like Maruti, Shankar, Parshuram, Balaji, Shivaji, Sahyadri, or Himalaya being suggested or used? Why so, these are also the names of the gods, people we highly admire; the only difference, these are Indian gods and not Greek or Roman. I have observed this time and again we take immense pride in using these Greek, Roman, French, German and all other names but Indian. Why so? Now you would say why I am debating on such a trivial matter. I would say I am not against the usage of these foreign names, rather I am against our mind set, attitude wherein we favor, like, revere everything that is foreign. Believe me we are ashamed of using names like Maruti, Ganesh, and Shivaji or for that matter anything Indian, for they do not sound classy or modern, they are not in vogue. I am pretty sure you all have experienced this. Again think about it and then you would understand what I am trying to say.

Even with our movies we always need an appreciative label from the west to prove that we are good or even better.  So n so movie screened at Cannes or Berlin film festival or short listed for Oscars is a tag line you often see in promotions of many Indian movies.  We think this adds to the weight or aura of the film. Again don’t get me wrong I am not against going global or being judged by the west, I am against this very mind set of accepting something, only if it is backed by west or by a foreign entity.  Mahesh Bhatt once said going for Oscars and promoting our films is like licking a white man’s arse. I am sure what he is trying to imply is our slave attitude, parochial approach and nothing else. In this age of globalization it’s important if not must to have a global reach and acceptance, but at what cost? Any discard from Hollywood or west when comes to India our film fraternity treat him like a king just because he is from west. He has no standing elsewhere but we shower all the niceties on him. No doubt “Athithi Devo Bhav” is our motto, but not to the extent of giving in to our self-esteem and pride.

No wonder we have no or very less say in world matters, for we are busy promoting things which are not ours be it language, ideas, views, people etc. We need to be proud of our things and stand by it. We don’t need anybody’s certificate to demonstrate what we are capable of. We are a proud nation and we can do wonders in every field which was a prerogative of others, earlier. We just need to get rid of this colonial mind set, which is prevailing even now in most of us, this is what I think is the impediment in we growing strong and a name to reckon.  These small things do matter in a bigger picture in deciding who you are, is what I think. What do you say?

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