Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Sep 07, 2002
Columns - Say Cheek
The foreign angle
THE name of the new fever around is `foreign'. One calls another by the `f' word and then others join in too eagerly, and it soon looks like a bunch of people each with a stone in hand and aiming at a common target.
While it is saddening that in a world without borders, questions about religion and nationality can raise stubborn walls, what is equally frightening is the rarity of bystanders many give up and follow the mob psyche to become eligible for the `patriot' tag.
Ultimately, it boils down to where a child is born. Something that the child itself has no control on. Nobody decides in what religion to be born in, nor in which country.
To be branded a foreigner is to be punished for something one didn't do. It is unfortunate that, for Sonia, there was no Vasudeva who did one of the legendary child-swaps. Nor a helpful Registrar of Births in a remote Rajasthani town, say, to cook up the papers to show what would take the wind out of everybody's argument.
But this origin business is queasy stuff. Because nobody seeks to know the origin of many other things. If one could be comfortable with a Chinese dentist, Sri Lankan receptionist, British surgeon, American professor, African dancer, Thai masseuse, Mexican singer, Pakistani bowler, Irani teamaker as with Korean cars, Swiss chocolates, Japanese toys, German tools, French fries, and so on why not an Italian PM? To be consistent, the desi dons should be speaking against other foreigners who `invaded' the minds of many the Besants, Niveditas, Teresas or the Mother.
Nobody does a research whether the water we drink off the bottles is from an enemy's well, or whether the rice we eat was harvested by an outcaste.
Or, for that matter, the air we breathe is made of what must have gone in and out of many others' lungs.
Open the computer cabinets and you would find half a dozen countries' names one on the chip, another on the port, yet another on the RAM and so on. And not all the notes in your wallet are fresh from the press.
The continual tirade against foreigner angle makes one think of Antonia Maino as some pirate who is going to put our country in a knapsack and head to Corsica.
Also, that there are all those patriotic selfless sons and daughters-of-the-soil who want to serve the people.
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