Wanted: A Better India

Rupa Gulab

So what if India is being hailed as a growing superpower by a rapidly weakening western world? We can't lazily sit back on our laurels or else when Martians ask to meet Planet Earth's leader they will be introduced to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. There's a lot we have to do, some big things and some small. So let's roll up our sleeves and start making improvements now!

A new course in India's training school for diplomats: Apart from political skills and the refined art of tact, Indian diplomats are apparently taught social graces as well. Crucial things like how to use posh cutlery like fish knives, open a bottle of wine without shattering the cork, silently swallow burps after deeply satisfying meals et cetera. Recently, however, the behaviour of an Indian diplomat in the UK revealed that this is just not enough. Male Indian diplomats must also be taught not to physically assault their wives. As I write this, Anil Verma, the diplomat who dramatically revealed what they don't teach you at India's diplomat training school, has been recalled by a shame-faced nation. If I can find out when he will arrive, I will be waiting at the airport to give him a very warm welcome indeed. I do hope the scorch marks will be permanent. Hey, I don't care even if he says in his defence that his wife provoked him. You just do not hit women, okay?

A new leader for India's oppressed caste: UP Chief Minister Mayawati has proved that she is not a very nice person yet again, sigh. It's hard to believe that just a few years ago she was Newsweek's cover girl and was celebrated as the champion of India's downtrodden caste. I wish I hadn't sold my copy of that edition to the raddiwalla because I need it desperately right now. Like a lot of outraged women in India, I have this overpowering urge to jump up and down on it, then crumple it into a ball, pour kerosene over it and strike a match. About a month passed before she took action against one of her party members for raping a Dalit minor and incarcerating her in jail on false theft claims. It's no secret at all that she eventually got him arrested only because of the public outrage, bah! She should sack the rapist immediately - and while she's about it, she should sack her jewellery designers as well -  heck, those ugly diamond-encrusted ear-rings she flaunts are so ridiculously large, she may as well wear frisbees on her ears. 

A new way to promote tourism in India: While I'm delighted that international non-fiction writers continue to write reams about India's success story, I have to confess that words like GDP are not exactly snappy page-turners. Also, I'm getting a little bored of reading the same thing about a minuscule percentage of India's population again and again. How about if we promote Writing Tourism instead? We offer international fiction writers six-month to one-year stays in villages like Banda (where Mayawati's rapist party member lives) and they can get fabulous, sensational and heart-rending material for their next great literary works. It's not difficult to disguise non-fiction as fiction, after all. Hey, why do you think so many Indians win the coveted Booker prize? See, if this plan works we'll get more money in the kitty and perhaps, if our greedy ministers don't steal all of it, we can use the rest to actually improve the lives of Indians who have absolutely no clue that the Indian economy is booming. 

New ways to solve old problems of corruption: I've got a brilliant idea that, if executed, may revive the image of the scam-ridden UPA. It's so simple, I wonder why no one's ever thought of it before! How about they actually make at least a few of their corrupt icons like Suresh Kalmadi, A Raja and Ashok Chavan give up khadi kurtas for striped pyjamas? That may even inspire die-hard cynics like me to vote for them again. 

New career opportunities for Indian citizens: Get over this IIT-MBA obsession. There are many other fields out there that are booming, like the CBI. I suspect those poor overworked chaps are on a desperate hiring spree now, so do apply!

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: FEBRUARY 2011