Saturday, May 28, 2005


Everyone (in India) has heard of NRIs - Non-Resident Indians, Not Required Indians, and so on. In this post, I want to talk to RNIs - Resident Non Indians. This is a category of people I've met only recently (during the past 3-4 years).

The breadth of knowledge of an RNI is amazing. S(he) is usually an expert in everything 'global' - global warming, the effects of Monsanto on agriculture, the Iraq war, NBA, European League Football, Kosovo crisis...the vishwamanava of Kuvempu's poetry. But when it comes to India, be it the Emergency, be it Cricket, be it Indian music - s(he) knows nothing. Now, I am not against knowledge of any kind, but shouldn't one know basics about his/her own country while knowing so much about a foriegn land?

This is an attitude fostered by our news channels too. The Schiavo case made headlines on NDTV, the newsbar keeps talking about trivialities of US society like which actor married whom, or who is giving a concert somewhere. Nowhere in these news items will you find mentions of people like Somender Singh (from Mysore) [See story in this blog on engine efficiency], or Rajaram Bojji (the 'inventor' of Skybus), or any of the people that truly make India great.

What a shame!


H said...

I had noticed a lot of people who belong to this category since school days. Most of this is fuelled by the popular media which shows people who know a lot about other countries, other cultures as cool.

One example :-

When I was in school I remember attending Quiz contests where all the questions were on foreign cultures/their History and their Music albums.Not one question was asked on Indian History, Current affairs etc..

There are lots of examples like this. I think the RNI people are mostly insecure.

Vikram said...

I think its mainly due to a misconstrued concept that 'Modern' (or 'Being forward' as some call it) is everything that is not Indian.

Take yoga, for example. How many of us practice yoga? If you ask today's teenager he's more likely to say that its mis-spelled 'Yoda'!! But ask him about 'Talwalkars' and he'll go on for hours on the different fitness regimes there...

kattricker said...

Couldnt agree with you more Gops. Its quite irritating to hear to NRIs India bashing and ignorance of whats latest in India. I have however also been irritated by the blind patriot lot outside India. What I have not seen too often is that lot who are practical about our country and the opportunities and advancements. Its also this minority that is responsible for many good things that have happened to us in the last few decades. Its interesting that quite a few foreigners are also in this minority.

Regarding RNIs my take is that the temptation for them to yeild to everything western is too great. Its also the attitude to take positions - good or bad, nothing in between. I am amazed at how bad we are at this really - a person is usually termed good or bad "totally". So while all Indian is bad, all western becomes good.