WHEN Barack Hussein Obama became the President of America, irrespective of his religious background many people – even me – felt that new world order has place for all those who work hard and mean well. Both countries with which his childhood was associated – Kenya and Indonesia – had and have their own serious problems regarding progress of people. Many earlier generation people in Bharat did recall Kenya’s vicious ethnic cleansing where millions of Indians had to flee leaving their belongings back. Indonesia is no different even today. But seeing that this young man President Obama spoke of the things that not only every American, but also every Indian would like to hear – change, bringing the world together, hope etc, many like me thought that this new America might be congenial to Bharat. It was – in the beginning, when the USA offered Bharat nuke tech. But then came those fine prints as well, where they seeming shrugged off their responsibility towards any civil damage due to their nuke tech. Bharat shivered. Union Carbide disaster is still fresh in many people’s lives in Bharat. But yet President Obama harped on hope and Bharat hoped against hope that his hope may not be that hopeless. One example cannot be a rule – so Bharat waited for the best treatment from America from this Harvard Law graduate who came up in life against all odds. His credentials were shining and his election speeches as well as his victory speeches were impressing the world.
And there was the catch. Mere rhetoric can never be the fact. American craving for change was for various other reasons that may not be Bharat specific. So also that was the first time that rather than condemning jehad and jehadi nations or criticising the opposite party, this young man had blamed Bharat for America’s economic problems. Even in his election speeches and then in his victory speeches he blamed American companies outsourcing to Bharat and our Hi-Tech industry for the job slump in his country. When pockets pinch, such words sound great and so they did – to America.
In my earlier article on this topic (American Economy Upside Down) we saw in details how wrong his fuzzy math was in this issue. Bharat’s IT industry (which in American lingo is called Hi-Tech) was furious when they were squarely boycotted by Ohio state and the President himself kept degrading the industry and even mentioning Bengaluru in a bad way! Yet when he was to visit Bharat, all well meaning people thought that something meaningful would come out of his visit.
Here comes the issue of credentials and credibility. Shouting from the roof-top that we are largest democracies in the world is OK for oratory skills (any child in a debating competition has that) but fuzzy fiscals and frivolous adjectives do not make and build nations. His agenda was clear and he achieved it. To get jobs for Americans. How? He got one of the Indian airlines to promise that they would buy few Boeing planes – thereby the Boeing factory and admin office in America will create many jobs! Same with the defence equipments. And yet same with opening up Bharat’s core sectors to America like Agriculture, Education, and Retail, etc. Without seeing how William Colgate looked like, without knowing what all goes in their toothpaste, Bharat has been giving that company trillions of dollars by buying their tubes, without knowing who exactly Mr Procter or Mr Gamble were Bharat has been buying Head and Shoulders like shampoos made by them without verifying their claims. Ask President Obama, WHY Boeing factory in Seattle was in shambles in 2000 and why they needed to shift their HQ to Chicago in a jiffy that time. If Boeing could not manage their labour issues, production problems and marketing matters than how is Bharat responsible for Americans losing jobs in Boeing? It was Boeing America’s failure to manage their company at their end and President blamed Bengaluru for that. It was not Bharat that forced Boeing to set up factories at Nagpur in a five star industrial estate or in Bengaluru to make their plane’s doors and their handles! It was Boeing mismanagement in America that made them shut HQ in Seattle and run away to Chicago and subsequently to start manufacturing in Bharat for lower labour costs. They saved big bucks by doing it, Mr President. So now there is no reason for punishing Bharat and forcing an Indian company to buy less leg space, not liked by Boeing passenger just because the President promised America that he would create 50,000 jobs for Americans! What about trillions of dollars that were saved and made by paying lower to Indian labour? Calculate the difference in wages of American Boeing labour and Indian labour – would President Obama pay to each and every labourer that differential?
Worse affected would be agriculture sector of Bharat if Bharat opens this sector to America. Bharat has already been facing severe crisis regarding land damage, water contamination, crop disasters and fast deteriorating land quality due to America’s BT dirt, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Instead of following Bharat’s traditional agricultural practices (that enhanced crop productivity with low water usage) adding to them apt indigenous technology, Bharat is being forced into America’s faulty agriculture styles. If they had so great agro-systems, then why their vast farms are not producing enough jobs for Americans? Why they need super stores like COSCO to dump substandard grains, fruits and vegetables cheaper on to consumers?
Many of us with whose ideology, our learned finance expert PM does not agree, too wowed our PM’s upright and accurate stand when he snapped at President Obama – “India is not in the business of stealing jobs” or when he said clearly, “No talks with Pakistan while the terror machine there is still on.” We all are now hoping that since our PM is from Punjab, he would see the intrinsic danger in opening agriculture sector to America!
I am not even referring to the large number of cancer patients in certain areas of Bharat due to BT crop’s demonic hunger for strong pesticides! But we must save Bharat’s land, water quality and not allow America to throw splashy words like ‘evergreen revolution’ and eat up the only few great natural resources we are left with – our fertile land, quality water and of course the traditional wisdom of our farmer!
Same is the case of education sector. Indian students mainly go to America for American jobs and to settle there or to make big bucks. There are few exceptions to this, I am aware, who go there to study some tech. But mostly it is a distant American dream that gets our students there. For years students from Bharat have subsidised American students by paying almost double the fees than their American counterparts. Now opening education sector of America in Bharat would be disastrous to the very core of Bharat. As it is the history is being distorted by the so-called high credentials – low credibility vote-monger politicians. Now with American educational institutions coming into Bharat would kill our IITs, IIMs and the small-medium schools, colleges that are doing great work in the rural and semi-urban areas. Discarding and degrading all that is in Bharat from ancient times, has become a fashion these days – limit this tendency to this level only. But if that becomes a norm, then Bharat would stand up against it united.
With supermarkets and sparkling malls, Bharat’s corner store is still surviving. But if the retail sector is opened up for America then Wal-mart, COSCO, PayLess, etc will eat up Bharat’s strong retails and distribution networks like pests. Let us ask the basic question: Do we really need all this? What do they have that we don’t? Their consumer is buying less now due to less cash and restrictions on plastic money! So, dump their goods in Bharat? Make Bharat buy things that are not needed and in the monstrous quantities to enhance the volume game of American companies through coupons and other luring gimmicks? Bharat’s core economics do not permit such fuzzy fiscals. It will hurt Bharat’s middle class that is truly reeling under price hikes. So hope that our learned finance man PM would see through this dirty American design and do not let Bharat succumb to America’s marketing monsters.
Defence sector is a critical area and its sensitivity is ‘non-tradable’ for any technological help from anyone. We pay you and yet you access all our secrets – will no more happen. Bharat will not let it happen – not even with the carrot of UNSC seat. Bharat is bound to get it – with her own strength. Bharat is diplomatically strong enough to garner support for it. Bharat would be proud to get UNSC seat not as alms from a super beggar, but with her own superior diplomatic skills.
So, however great academic and social credentials anyone has, when it comes to credibility, Bharat’s common man has very strict standards. As a guest, President Obama is respected; but as a super salesman, Bharat does not need his goodies as his credibility as a representative of his nation that helps Pak despite jehadi attacks on Bharat, is all time low.
(The writer is a renowned Cancer Surgeon and International Secretary General of VHP [email protected])