Saturday, February 21, 2009

Are We Indians,Err,Uncivilzed? - Part II

Does anybody remember the furore over a comment made by a Delhi based Dutch diplomat Arnold Parzer a couple of years ago? The offending comment: Delhi is a 'garbage dump'...I don't see anything wrong with his thoughts but apparantly our over sensitive government did...The Dutch Embassy had to intervene...My question is : why take offense when offense is due?What was wrong with what he said? India is a filthy country - that is a fact...We, the citizens, have made it what it is, not foreigners...

India assaults all the senses...The streets are filled with stinking rotten garbage, human feces and holy cow dung from holy cows that wander around freely...Who hasn't experienced paan stained-urine smelling buildings? And what about people urinating on the streets? Ugh!!!

Why are we so insensitive to our surroundings? Why don't we take pride in keeping our country clean and free of diseases?While we like to keep our personal spaces pristine, we have no compunctions dumping our refuse on the roads...Poverty, population and the lack of good sanitation systems are not the only reasons for this mess - the citizens (rich and poor, educated and uneducated) are equally to blame...Filth is present not only in slums but also in posh areas like Malabar Hills and Chanakya Puri...Other poor countries like Vietnam are cleaner than India...Why? Is it a case of being desensitized to the issue or not really perceiving it as an issue...Or is it something to do with our culture?

I think the hierarchical nature of our caste system has something to do with the problem and the desensitization to the issue...High castes are associated with purity and cleanliness and low castes with filth and pollution...Therefore, a high born person will avoid involvement with ritually impure substances like human wastes and household garbage...If the sweeper doesn't come to clean his bathroom, the bathroom will remain dirty because it is beneath his status to clean it himself - it is not his job, it is somebody else's job...It is this attitude (keeping the country clean is somebody else's problem,not mine) that has made India the mess it is...

What do you think?