Portrait of the new Indian

Portrait of the new Indian
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First Published: Fri, Jan 11 2008. 10 18 AM IST

Updated: Sat, Jan 12 2008. 12 22 AM IST
We’re barely into 2008 and there’s already a slew of data about the way we are. Here’s some stuff I picked up in the first flush of January:
We love our jobs
And why not, the economy’s booming. Asian employees are more engaged than employees in the US but less engaged than employees in Europe, a Watson and Wyatt’s Work Study found. Within Asia-Pacific, India leads with engagement levels of 78%, followed by the Philippines. Another International Business Report (IBR) survey by auditing firm Grant Thornton found that Filipino businessmen were most optimistic about business and economic opportunities. India came in at second place.
We’re jingoistic and racist
We are always the first to point fingers at others and whine about how we are being mistreated/being discriminated against because of our Indian identity. How dare the Orient-Express say no to India. How dare Steve Bucknor be allowed to get away with his anti-Indian bias. But hey, we’re free to be racist ourselves. Last week The Australian pointed out that most Indians deny that racism exists, especially if it is a Westerner making accusations.
The Australian said: “Indian commentators disingenuously suggested ‘monkey’ was a normal term of abuse for somebody misbehaving, somehow erasing the whole dismal history of this episode and taking it all back to where we started. Strange that the only person labelled monkey in the Australian team is the only black person.”
Which reminds me of the Veneta Cucine Claymation television advertisment. The only “dark” person shown in this kitchen is the maid, scrubbing the floor merrily.
We’re adapting
The other day I was at a McDonald’s drive-through in Vashi where two families, one on foot and one in a car, were greeting each other without a care for the traffic jam they were causing. The driver stretched his arm out from his car window and “touched” the feet of the patriarch outside. Who said we’re not adaptable?
We’re the new big spenders
We’re investing in cars, houses, luxury goods, and hey, even in better quality of life. A horse owner I met earlier this year in Matheran, a sleepy hill station two hours from Mumbai, says for the first time in 30 years he’s seen people from nearby towns and cities flood to Matheran every weekend for the fresh air (vehicles aren’t allowed in this picturesque hill station). “And they don’t bargain; they’re willing to pay any price I ask for a horse ride,” he said.
We (still) hate women
A Hindustan Times—C-fore survey found that 46% of men felt that women are “asking for trouble” if they go to a pub with friends. And this next one is from a United Nations report: Around two-thirds of married women in India are victims of domestic violence.
We’re ethnocentric
We’re not angry that two women were brutally molested on a busy street in cosmopolitan Mumbai. We see it, instead, as a Marathi vs non-Marathi clash.
Clearly, it’s going to be another exciting year in India.
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Jan 11 2008. 10 18 AM IST
More Topics: India | Women | Cricket | Marathi | Matheran |