Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Overnight Fame

Disclaimer: Writing an article on sensitive subjects like this are risky and intimidating. I've tried to maintain the article as neutral as possible, in other words, it's not against Sasken, not against Kannadigas, not against foreigners, not against North Indians (if anybody tries to give that angle for the article). It's just a means whereby I've shared my feelings about the unfortunate incident. Critiques and comments are more than welcome.

The farmer in the remotest corner of India may not know what ISRO or BEL or ISI are, but he surely would know what on earth Infosys and Wipro are. But there are certain IT companies in Bangalore which silently does quality work without much pomp and pageantry and undoubtedly Sasken belongs to such category. At certain times, there are certain elements inside the company who're not too happy about the low profile maintained by the company, in either good bad or ugly ways, they would want to make the company 'known' to the aforesaid farmer in the remotest land. A spark of misfortune was kindled by few bad elements which now has set the entire company into an inextinguishable fire.

When I said hello to my parents on skype this Monday morning, like I do every day, the very first question my mother asked, "Do you know what happened in Sasken? Members of Rakshana Vedike are ransacking the office and we're watching the report on TV9 constantly." It not just puzzled me, but hurt me too. By this time if you would have guessed that I'm a Sasian and am not in Bangalore, you're not wrong at all. Despite couple of call drops, my mother revealed more information from the TV report and she was mediating between the TV and the computer to deliver me the news.

A Canadian loser by name Lee (no clue about his prefixes or postfixes), had parodied the state anthem of Karnataka, calling Kannadigas "little white poodles". Scroll down for the entire transcript of the poem. Now that Sasken has agreed to take action on him, I'm not sure how the company is gonna deal with the insulted Kannadigas. What stupefied me more than a Canadian bastard composing such song, is the fact that he made the employees sing it in Nazi style with hands on their chests!!! Instead of pondering over the fact whether it was sang by Kannadigas or non-Kannadigas, I was wondering how on earth could we commit such an act of cowardice. Don't we have self-respect? Don't we have balls to say NO to such things? I feel the bigger crime is committed by the singers than the composer. And the fact that it happened in my company hurts a tad more. I presume without any doubt that all the involved would be dismissed by the company, but am not sure if anything else would be done to them at all? Would the Canadian be prosecuted or deported? Would the singers be blacklisted? Would they apologize? I have no answers to these questions. But in case, any of those singers are reading this article, my advices to you are:
  • Quit having regional thoughts and think of India as ONE
  • We're too diverse to be united, but give it a try atleast
  • Just the way you're kind to your parents, be kind to the state or country you're in
  • Have self-respect
  • Don't get enslaved by a foreigner like this in future
  • Behave!!!
Let me now put myself into the shoes of a foreigner who would feel, "What's the big deal? Why such a big mess out of something trivial?" It's hard for the foreigners to comprehend or reason such acts of ransacking or demonstration. Karnataka is the state which pioneered the so-called IT revolution in the whole nation. Bangalore was, and still is, the silicon valley of Asia and Kannadigas were extremely hospitable to the herd that IT brought along with it to Bangalore. Just like yin and yang, the herd contained bad and good mortals. The glorified IT bloated up pockets of many Indians, at the same time made the lives of middle-class, non-IT crowd very miserable. It provided job to millions, it starved millions. The life-style in Bangalore is now so cosmopolitan, so expensive and so IT centric that it made lives of ordinary people very poor and pitiable. Being that the case, Kannadigas expect the 'outsiders', if not to be kind and generous, to behave at the least. The popular statement of resentment among Kannadigas is, "Outsiders want land in Bangalore, food in Bangalore, money in Bangalore, job in Bangalore, home in Bangalore but not Bangaloreans!!!" When conditions are like this, not many people tend to have patience. Yeah!!! Not just Bangaloreans, the whole nation of India is very impatient. We first hit and then think!!! Hope that helps to reason out the ransacking that happened.

And in the above paragraph, I've not tried to justify or support the ransacking by KRV but it's just an attempt to make my non-Indian friends comprehend as to why such things happen in India. It was really difficult for one of my Mexican colleague to really digest this news, for he told me that they wouldn't have done any demonstrations had someone ridiculed their national anthem, which doesn't mean that they don't respect it. A more peaceful demonstration would have been warm and welcoming than ransacking and destruction.

Here is the complete transcript of the poem.

Soldier of Karnataka

I have often told you stories
About the way I lived the life of an immigrant
Waiting for the day
When I"d speak of noodles

And sing you songs

Then maybe you would say

Come stay with me in K…k…k… arnataka
And I would surely stay
But I feel I"m growing older
And the noodle songs I"ve sung
Echo in the distance
Like the sound Of a patriotic Karnatakan
I guess I"ll always be
A soldier of Karnataka
Many times I"ve been a traveler
Enjoying speaking of noodles
In days of old

When noodles were cold

I wanted to come home

But being here in my home

Had to always remember
This is the land of noodles
And little white poodles
Now I feel I"m growing older
And the flags of the yellow and red
Wave in the distance

Like the sound Of a patriotic Karnatakan
I guess I"ll always be
A soldier of Karnataka
Yes, I can hear the sound
Of a loudmouth Karnatakan
I guess I"ll always be

A soldier of Karnataka


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