Indian Platter – The Underdogs

Among their many dreams, most have one common – To be appreciated as a hero. But then either the besieging circumstances or underdoglack of will power just keeps it to that- a dream. Hence, no surprise that we always root for the underdog.  And in Arvind Kejriwal (& AAP) – the underdog – besides being spectator to his heroic ascendancy, the aam aadmi (commoner) has also heard its own voice, so much so, that in an unprecedented referendum when AAP asked the people to voice if it should form the government, the majority (at least that is what AAP says) has responded in the favour of the formation.  But then, for any underdog, the real challenge begins when it becomes a winner more so if winning is achieved by compromising on those values which were pivotal in its ascendancy. AAP which till the time was showing the teeth has to actually bite the bullet now after its marriage to congress. A marriage which I believe will not last longer and will also result in benefitting BJP. If not anything, this entire episode of an underdog becoming the CM will teach us something, either to aspire more or to never compromise on values.

When talked about underdog and values, which is that story that comes to the mind? Who has not heard about the story ofinfosys morphosis of Infosys from an underdog to an IT bellwether!! And who is unaware about the unshakable value system of NRN (Narayanmurthy) which guided Infosys to a veritable gold mine – for employees and investors alike.  In span of 15 years NRN and his equally determined colleagues weaved a legend that resembles a fairy tale. But times changed and the competition (especially TCS & Cognizant) became more aggressive and perhaps Infosys never realised when its unshakable value system got rusty and gave way to rigidness, to an extent that gold mine started sagging. And then, in another potential fairy tale build up NRN makes a comeback from the retirement to revive the company.  And what happens next? More chaos. The company has seen as many as eight high profile exits since June (time of NRN’s return), the latest and most shocking being that of V. Balakrishnan, the next CEO in line. The reason cited is the perpetual affection of the company to the conservative approach and surprising show of nepotism by NRN towards his son.  Corporate world is bit intolerant towards the nepotism.

And how badly we want that intolerant attitude in the matter of our country!! Congress it seems is all set to anoint Rahul Gandhi as Rahul gandhi for PMthe next PM candidate. Too obsessed with Gandhi/Nehru dynasty, the party seems to ignore the voice of commoner. There was also a grapevine, though of smaller proportion that congress could name the minister in charge of AADHAR cards, Nandan Nilekani as its PM candidate.  Coincidentally, Nandan was the co-founder of Infosys and as a legend he is considered next only to NRN in the pantheons of Infosys.

Both Infosys and Congress are too big to fail and neither do I wish failure for either. And since both are undergoing transition, I wish that they emerge as stronger entities.

TejasNo doubt though, that Indian Air Defence from being a dependent underdog has emerged as a much stronger and self reliant entity after the induction of the first indigenous combative aircraft Tejas. Tejas claimed to be the best in the business, marked fruition of an elusive dream that spanned across three decades. The induction of Tejas will not only boost the defence mechanism but also save huge amount of money for the government, to an extent of INR 50,000 crore.

Shifting focus to the perennial underdogs in the foreign soil- Indian cricket team.Kohli Ton vs SA After the dismal performance in ODIs, no one, including me, gave even a fighting chance to the Indian team in the test matches against SA.  And once again our team surprised everybody. Had it not been for the week Indian bowling, Kohli and Pujara almost won the test match for India.  Although, too naive and early to compare but they look like the ideal replacements for the God and the Wall. And do not get bullish about Indian bowling. Neither do write off Dale Steyn (is there any sight better than looking at Steyn bowling at his furious best). Next test India bowling should be back to its generous self and Steyn to his furious self. And what a mouth watering contest it promises to be- Kohli and Pujara against Steyn at his best!!

There is another furious contest going on, and it is for the Indian diplomat in the foreign soil. The treatment meted out to Deyvani Khobragde over the nannygate issue and false documentation has seen an otherwise timid India taking a furious stance against USA. Perhaps, India wants to show that it should no longer be regarded as an underdog.  And the self assumed preserver of the morality and the self proclaimed guardian of human rights, USA, have once again resorted to double standards.

But before passing the judgement let us understand the International Law pertaining to officials in the foreign soil. As per the law there are two types of immunity provided to the officials

  1. Diplomatic Immunity – which says that if you are a diplomat abroad you can even get away with a murder.
  2. Consular Immunity – which says they if you are a counsul then you are only shielded if you break the law while working.

Since Devyani worked as deputy counsel general US is saying that she didn’t have the complete immunity against the law.  Though on its part, India has never differentiated between the two immunities for any US official. 

Yes, US has gone too far in strip searching and handcuffing Devyani and it is good to see the Indian government taking steps to ensure restoration of her dignity.  Her transfer to India’s permanent mission at UN will fetch her diplomatic immunity.

Sadly, there is no immunity against the ill treatment meted to a common woman in India. And there are only few who fight to restore her dignity, if lost. One year back that grotesque incident of gang rape shook the nation. Though there have been many positive developments in the anti-rape laws but as a society we still treat women as underdogs and to make matter worse we rarely root for them. To borrow my friend’s words “Why is it that the same men who are used to worshipping goddesses find it so difficult to respect their women?” I have no answer. Do you have??

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