Do we have any sense of national pride left?

News reports tell a shocking and sordid story. The response of our Government and its minister in charge of External Affairs is even more so. On 31st Jan 2011, he calls the tagging of Indian students in USA, an inhuman act. Today, he asked the media to report it keeping in view the perspective of an estimated [because he does not have the exact number] one and half Lakh students in universities in USA. He underplayed the tagging, saying, “Of this huge number ‘only’ 12 of 15 have been tagged”!

The perceptible change of stand, within a day, could not be self -driven. Who then has the steering wheel of the foreign ministry? Who is the ‘master’ in this gramophone mouthing, ‘His master’s voice’? (Such devices are obsolete in the market, but still found in political arenas.)

To our foreign minister, the degradation of a dozen or so of Indians is of no consequence and hence, does not warrant strong action. He must have misunderstood his role, of a foreign minister, as meaning, behaving like a foreigner. Perhaps, he would take some steps only when a significant number of Indians suffer the fate of these hapless students.

Contrast this with the arrest of a single US embassy employee in Pakistan. The US government has asked for his immediate release.

India has given up its socialistic pretensions. Socialism is a word found only in the Preamble to the Constitution. There it remains, safely ensconced from public gaze. India now follows the ‘free market’ economic policies closely behind USA, which it tries to imitate in every way. By the way, there is nothing ‘free’ about ‘free markets’. These too, are controlled, not by governments, but by mystical powers that operate behind smokescreens of ‘efficient market’. Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is quite visible in India in the Radia tapes. Closely following US in economic theory and practice, steered by eminent economists at the helm, from the Prime Minister through his able adviser in the Planning commission, to the erstwhile Finance Minster, who is a Harvard law graduate, India looks like the ‘Wild West’ of the 18th and 19th centuries. Life (of people) here is cheap, as it was in the ‘Wild West’ and living is costly. The lives of politicians are precious. They are guarded round the clock by gun-trotting NSG soldiers, paid for by the people whose lives are cheap.

The US State Department spokesperson clarified that tagging is “standard practice” and that “it does not imply either culpability or suspicion of criminality”, “it allows for freedom of movement and is a positive alternative to confinement”. How do we accept such blatant lies? Radio tags are used for known sexual offenders. Under what law in any civilised nation would such tagging be done on victims of a fraud? The US government perhaps, thinks that this nation of ours is run by a bunch of timeserving sycophants. They are indeed right.

A US embassy counsellor thought radio tags “Mod and trendy, like Hollywood stars”. The Indian Foreign office woke up to the crude joke and lodged a protest.

Boswell was called Johnson’s cur. Does the simile apply to the relationship between India and USA?

‘Times Now’ covered the sad story very well. Please follow this link to read the ‘Times’ coverage.