Corrosive Thinking

13th April` 2020

William Shakespeare said about 400 years ago, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet.)

The mind set people easily settle with more often than not, is seen through the prism, and narrative of the mind of others, which at times is completely at odds with the situation and ground reality. Fuelled by social, digital & print media the mind plays truant, and when done collectively across communities, with political twists and intonations it can be very dangerous. Be careful what you think about.

The immediate result of the lockdown, is the burgeoning of new terms one never heard before, such as Islamophobia and Carona Jihad. For goodness sakes what do muslim milk sellers in Punjab or Jharkhand have to do with Carona in India ?

For close to twenty years I lived in Auckland New Zealand. I arrived in Auckland in 1989, for a holiday, with a few hundred dollars, and ended up staying  for almost two decades. Three successful businesses, were set up from scratch, the most interesting and competitive being in Information Technology. I also ended up winning and securing two prime SAP implementation projects at Reliance Industries and TELCO, now Tata Motors, Mumbai.

One thing which I recall vividly is that whenever multiple Indian friends would get together for a drink or a meal, more often than not, the conversation would almost always veer towards an outright comparison of Indian or desis with the Kiwis or Pakehas, a comparison that always went in favor of the Indians. How caring Indians are, how well they look after their aged parents, unlike the Pakehas who put their parents into old age homes, how thoughtful Indians are and how much we love our parents, as opposed to Kiwis who are heartless. The near manic like rants would only increase with the lowering of the whisky levels. Why the heck are you guys New Zealand, you don`t deserve to be here, return to India and stay there, I would say…….no one ever did.

This is an event which routinely plays out in New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Europe, and just about anywhere and everywhere there are Indians who sincerely and devoutly believe that Indians revere their parents more than Anglo Saxons; that as a race Indians have a patent right on, “revere and respect”, period, only we (Indians) know how to look after parents, after all that is our patented birthright !

No no no, we do not have biased double standards, its just our thinking is so. They say that a mere six words can change your life; “you become what you think about”. In November 2001, President George W Bush said, “you are either with us or against us’, and what followed was; a sovereign Country was totally decimated.

Fast forward and about nineteen years later in India, a fiery political community tussle is tearing the secular fabric of the country apart; is gaining alarming propensity, timely ignited by Carona is set to explode.

Over the course of the last year, I have been constructing a Convention Centre in Ranchi, its close to completion. The majority of the skilled workers on the project, are muslims, several of my personal staff are muslims, my driver in Goa is a muslim, would you believe, My aging Jeep mechanic, who has steadfastly maintained my Jeeps for the last 35 years is a muslim.

William Shakespeare was right,  heck thinking can be corrosive….think right.

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