I know there are bigger things happening in the world. But this is a blog, not a news portal. And on a Sunday afternoon, I felt I would write about this small but very telling contrast that really caught my eye this morning.
It was about a Michelin Star chef called Vikas Khanna and his encounter with BBC.
The BBC anchor, who has achieved nothing in his life beyond being born white, saw that he was interviewing an Indian chef.
India? Food? Oh, he knows India. He knows they don’t have food over there. Or at least that’s what British society told him. So he goes straight and asks: you must know hunger because you are from India.
At some level, we can understand. Put yourself in the shoes of a Brit. Seven decades ago, your country ran the world’s biggest empire. Now you are left with one island. Let alone being small, most people don’t even consider you a sovereign country, but an appendage of the United States. You have to conjure stereotypes inside your head for emotional security.
Right away, you could see the pain in Vikas Khanna’s eyes when they insulted India. And he replied that he remembers hunger from his time struggling in New York, not India.
You can feel right away that Vikas Khanna has India in his heart. Maybe he is an American now — it doesn’t matter. Foreigners can also have India in their heart. Nothing wrong with it.
It reminded me of another interaction with BBC — that with Kerala’s Communist Health Minister, K K Shailaja.
You know who doesn’t have India in their heart? The Communists. Just see the exchange.
In fact, BBC was praising her. But look at her response. Cheap. Narrow minded. Pointing fingers at the Central Govt. Making a completely bullshit claim about Goa and saying they don’t have decent hospitals.
It doesn’t matter if she wanted to say Goa or some place in Puducherry. It’s about her thought process. In her mind she was thinking like: So cool that BBC is praising me! If I say some negative things about other Indians, will they like me better?
This is what happens when you don’t have India in your heart. And this is what I simply cannot stand about the Communists. They don’t have India in their hearts. When the Communists speak of “Kerala Model”, the Communists always try to belittle other states in a below the belt manner.
Competition is great. When Modi used to speak of Gujarat model, he always spoke of development of Gujarat for the development of India. In his manner, he never conveyed contempt nor condemnation for anyone else. This is what gave rise to the Modi phenomenon across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar and Jharkhand. And of course Uttar Pradesh, which has adopted him as a son. All through the UPA years, Gujarat was No. 1 in GDP growth, but the BJP govt of Gujarat never spoke in a demeaning fashion about any other state govt.
But when you compare to the Communists, the difference is stark. In the Covid crisis, Kerala did decently well. Many other states did better. In fact, big ones, like Karnataka. And now perhaps even Uttar Pradesh. The test positivity rate in UP is now 2.9%, compared to 3.3% in Kerala. In fact, Madhya Pradesh has a rate of 2% and has flattened the curve. And I am not just talking of BJP ruled states. Congress ruled Rajasthan and JMM ruled Jharkhand have done a fabulous job as well.
Sure, when something goes well, a government should publicize it. But no other state govt, whether BJP or Congress, went about it in the narrow minded, belittling manner that the Communists chose for themselves.
This was apparent in the interaction between Communist K K Shailaja and her counterparts in both Karnataka and Maharashtra. As a matter of courtesy, she should have said that they mutually shared ideas on how to fight Coronvirus. But because common decency does not exist among Communists, all she could say was that Maharashtra minister Rajesh Tope learned from her and praised Kerala govt. Ha!
What if the Maharashtra govt had paid her back in the same coin? And said that the Communist govt should learn how to set up a single industry in the state? When is a Kerala minister seeking an audience with the Maharashtra govt to learn about that?
But see, the Sena, Cong and NCP govt would never speak like that, because they have basic courtesy. Communists have no grace and no courtesy.
With the Karnataka minister, her tweets were even worse. Here is a state that is decades ahead of her in industrialization. Here is a state which has actually done better than Kerala in tackling Coronavirus. And a BJP govt which has the humility to want to learn anything of value. Rather than return the humility with grace, Shailaja puts out an equally arrogant tweet about the interaction with the BJP minister. Incidentally, the BJP minister is Dr. K Sudhakar, an actual doctor. He doesn’t have to affix stuff like “teacher” to his name to be taken seriously.
That’s the problem with Communists. They don’t have India in their heart. Well, if you think about it, they don’t have a heart at all. And I have spent part of my Sunday talking about the language used by Communist minister Shailaja. Only last week, she was praising a convicted murderer from her party. Joke is on me, really.