At a Slumdog afternoon in China…‘is this real?’



“India is near…Nepal?’’

The question came from Stuart, a Chinese final-year business management student whose English name was John until he watched the Hollywood movie about an animated white mouse called Stuart Little.

“But I used to think that Mumbai must be just like Beijing,’’ said wide-eyed Susie, a final-year English major sitting on the edge of my couch.

Susie and Stuart, who watched the Oscar awards twice, had taken a break from the despair of job-hunting to ride the subway to my apartment, excited to watch the movie the world raves about — the movie that has not yet reached Chinese theatres.

Like any other young Chinese, the duo rarely has India on their mind. It is a faraway nation that loves to dance rather than a competitor along one of the world’s longest disputed borders with their own country.

They have visited the US but not India, and they rarely find news about India in the local media. Many Chinese have not heard about the November terror attacks in Mumbai, and they don’t know the meaning of a slum.

Everybody’s parents have watched Raj Kapoor’s Aawara but the young Chinese experience Bollywood only if a movie shows on China Central Television, where the impatient censors tend to snip the songs to keep it short.

Imagine what happened to Devdas.

Susie said she had watched a Bollywood movie. “It was about kings and queens, a forest and palaces,’’ she said animatedly. “It starred the most famous man in India, whose picture we saw in a shop that day,’’ she added helpfully, hoping I could remember the name of the epic that so impressed her.

Shah Rukh Khan in Asoka.

The morning after the Oscars were awarded, I had walked into the grocery store in my apartment tower in Beijing, sure that I would find the Slumdog Millionaire DVD (for 10 yuan or Rs 70) on a rack opposite the ice-cream counter and beside the toilet rolls.

I found it on the third row that day, after weeks of waiting. The DVD had actually landed much earlier in a rundown market for designer knock-offs, which thrives next to a new glass mall for genuine designer goods. But the crowds and winter chill had put me off going there.

As I pressed Play, Susie asked if the girl on the DVD cover was the phone-a-friend. Game shows are popular on Chinese television, and the winner wins a wish for every successful round.

“Does Mumbai really look like this?’’ asked Stuart. As the policemen chased the slum kids, he moved with my bowl of nachos from couch to carpet to sit cross-legged too close to the television.

Stuart later said he would like to visit Mumbai, but not the slums. (An Indian businessman in Beijing once told me that Mumbai drivers who pick up important Chinese clients at the Santacruz airport are instructed to try their best to avoid driving past slums).

“I used to think that a slum must be just like a poor Chinese village,’’ said a visibly shocked Susie. “And I used to think that Mumbai city must be like Beijing.’’ The average Chinese village is an idyllic and safe park compared to Dharavi.

They were befuddled by the riot scene and Stuart tended to use the polite word ‘accident’ instead of riot. After the movie, the discussion ended up in good-humoured banter with Susie, from the majority Han Chinese community, badgering Stuart, a minority Manchu, for the privilege that he would be allowed to have two children if he married a minority girl.

While Stuart and I had reflexively looked away during the child blinding scene, Susie had no idea of what to expect and watched on. Both have not seen child beggars during the last five years in Beijing.

“But how come the government allows the bad stuff to be shown?’’ she asked. “If this was China, the movie would have never gone to the Oscars!’’ Stuart started waving his scissor-hands in the air, pretending to cut, cut, cut.

They were rivetted through the movie and left with a lasting impression that the truth was not sugarcoated. Susie also wondered whether the Jamaal-Latika love story could ever happen in real life.

The scenes of poverty did not put them off or inspire touristy thrills. Stuart, who had received a multiple-entry US visa that week, stopped smiling when he put it this way: My American friends tell me, America is not heaven.’’

Post-Oscars, the China Film Group Corporation announced that China, which imports only about 20 Hollywood films per year, would bring Slumdog Millionaire to Chinese theatres by March-end or April.

In the words of Weng Li, the Group’s spokesman quoted in government-run media reports, the movie will be imported because: Its artistic value has already been proven by the Oscars. Its theme is positive, healthy and inspirational’’. The last movie I watched at a Chinese cinema was Quantum of Solace.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.78 out of 5)
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  • Babu Syed

    for review of the movie slum dog, pls visit http://babusyed.blogspot.com/

    [Reply]

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    One of the perks of being in a ‘real’ democracy. Interesting read on Chinese teenagers. We never get to hear anything about China apart from Business stuff or exotic locales and traditions. Keep em coming. I loved the part where it says “how can you allow the bad stuff to be shown”? amazing.

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    stuart Reply:

    hi~nice to meet u here~
    i read the blog.
    feel great, and think back the day what happend~
    wish you every thing great .
    India i will be there ,future~
    best wish to u

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    Reshma Reply:

    thank you and the very best wishes to u too…reshma

  • Marisha

    “How can this be shown?” Zhen da ma?
    Hmmm…maybe it has something to do with being a democracy, haha

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    Bunny Reply:

    Really enjoy your blog, Reshma. Kind of like my favourite China book, River Town, for its insights.

    Write more.

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    Reshma Reply:

    Thanks Bunny, u just made my day : )

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  • Matt

    Great blog – very entertaining.

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  • Samar Halarnkar

    Excellent blog. How did these two students come to be on your couch?

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    Jay Reply:

    I am surprized that your Chinese guests were candid enough to comment on their own government. My experience is that the Chinese will go out of their way to deflect criticism from anything and everything Chinese including the government.

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    Reshma Reply:

    I enjoy talking to Chinese students, they are friendly and candid and interested in knowing more about life outside China. The students knew I would blog abt the discussion

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    praveen Reply:

    I have never seen any image of poverty in china,unlike india where bbc,cnn and now sdm showcases it like a landscape.china in movies and tv is always majestic and beautiful. Its not possible for china to be made of gold when their economy and people are not much ahead of us in a lot of ways.Do you think we should have more real pics from china rather than manufactured pics from zhang yimou and cctv

    Vikram Reply:

    Praveen, this has to do with the fact that China has lept decades past us. In India extremely poverty is still very common not only rural but metros while China has largely eliminated extreme poverty. Even the poorest village in China is decades ahead of the wretched poverty in India. So to answer your question, yes China’s economy and I would even add social thinking in some dimensions is way ahead of India’s.

    Reshma Reply:

    thanks…i was looking for the chinese perspective on the movie and mumbai for this blog, and i couldn’t wait till it reached the theatres. so i invited them to watch the movie and chat about it.

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    Helen Reply:

    I’ve been to India before. Lived there for two month, in Jaipur. But didn’t go to Mumbai. It is usual that seeing children everywhere come to you and ask for money and food. It is usual that seeing people just set there home, which is ectually just a temp on both sides of the street. But, it’s a little strange. When I come back to Beijing, I miss that India very much. Want to go back. Modern means something, while for someone, it may mean nothing.

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  • http://HT Sarita

    I like your perspective. The wait for the next blog is always worth it.

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    Reshma Reply:

    thanks, that reminds me i have no idea what to write for the next blog…

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3J34VOUONTK3EKEGVNIAYIEFTE shq13

    How sad and Pathetic that India and Pakistan can kill millions of people just because of few nut cases.
    I guess the real Mastahs had this very well planned when they divided us along religious and ethnic lines.
    Wake up people before it is too late. If you need an enemy to fight,there are many like Poverty, Ignorance, Environment, etc etc.

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    Ddnetizen Reply:

    shq13 either you are a cowardly **** or a shameless commie virus.

    **** terroristan has been attacking and murdering unarmed Indian civilians. You have any shame? oh, never mind you are a cowardly **** or a shameless commie virus.

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    engrich Reply:

    wars did not happen because 85%bahujans who are creator of wealth wqant peace.brhmncl hate spewing and war cry has no taker in rular india.

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  • Vijay Murugan

    India almost went to war with Pakistan not just once but many times. Probably it is our weakness and Pakistan knows it well that we are in no position to dare Pakistan. That is the reason we always step back.
    Each time India would take very strong position, but would do nothing else. The maximum we do is … we go to Uncle Sam and complain of Pakistan, just like a kid would complain about his sibling to his/her dad. Then we get a candy from dad and we think we won a jackpot – Not even bothering about whole bag full of candies is being given to the other sibling by the dad.
    Until and unless we get developed, get self sufficient and grow to be a real power, we should rather stay shut. As our credibility is gone, we always talk tall but never able to do anything practical.

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  • Riaz Murtaza

    War is not a game or fun. It is a big disaster for both India & Pakistan. Both the countries need to sit down and talk and solve all the long outstanding issue.
    The route cause of terrorism is required to be addressed to route the terrorism out of
    South Asia. Anyhow, it is not wise to wage a war just for some stupid nut terrorists.
    Pakistan itself is a victim of terror. This all terrorism is a product of after the invasion of Afghanistan.

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  • aks

    What scum the pakistanis are, and I wish Bhagwan, Allah and God – by whatever name we call the Almighty, takes ample revenge for their heinous acts on the Pakistanis -”shooting children and the women in their private parts at Kaluchak”. Absolute scum the Pakistanis.

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/2EEEO3IWUNFJIR5HTH7MDTZ5EE ParminderS

    Not really! Did they know before hand about Pokharan2 ?
    They did not.
    India has been able to keep a lot of secret where it has to.
    Let the book come out and see whether there are going to be any denials, may be they will keep mum.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/nischal.sepahiya Nischal Sepahiya

    War is must now for India. No matter nuclear war. Lets our generation suffer for next 50 years. But there will be peromane solution for world. Lets remove pak out of world map and make one one bangladesh or give it to afhganistan. ISI and Pak army need a lession. No economy, no food, no education and daring to fight agaisnt India. Cut therie private parts and make them actiual HIZDA

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakil-Ahmad/1269925364 Shakil Ahmad

    These writers are real friends and chamchas of Rich companies. They do not want poor Indian farmers to prosper. If this writer arguments is correct then all the farmers in America and Europe must be the poorest of all. Because there, veggies are sold in super marts owned by retail chains and not from the basket over head or a thela. If the retail sector comes to India in an organized way, farmers will be able to get sell their products at one point and get their cash. There time will be saved which they can spend on forms cultivate even more. Their products will not be spoiled and rot if they are not able to sell. Quality of product will improve due to competition. I see that it as another step getting closer to developed economy.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Excellent reply Shakil.

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    Chetanchauhan Reply:

    i wrote that farmers will gain. comparing US and Indian farmers is not correct. In US, 80 % of farmers are big with huge tracks of land, In India, close to 90 % of farmers are small and marginal farmers owing less than five hectares of cultivable land.

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  • http://rohanabraham.tumblr.com Rohan Abraham

    At a macro level view, wouldn’t this create more demand? As prices will be competitive and goods will be easier to obtain for the consumer.

    More demand would lead to more consumption. More money flowing back to the retailer and supplier. While I understand some of that will be kept by the retainer, lots of it would go back to the supplier as well, right? Isn’t it better to have that, than to sit back and say no we cant do it because the farmer will lose? I think that’s quite pointless.

    Using that logic, we should close down large malls, multiplexes etc. Pointless again.

    This is just my opinion.

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  • Anish

    Not sure how this gentleman even allowed to write misleading blog.. Its common sense that this will bring huge investments for creating supply chain, cold storage which will create huge jobs.. Kirana stores are cheat.. they sell inferior good at high price .. with no return policy. If you want to return something .. you are doomed … do you suggest , India should shop all over life in such a manner.. ?? When global retailers come.. competition will increase and consumer and suplier 9 farmer) will be benefitted.. If you are crying for those corrupt middleman than its fine .. they just contorl the supply and artifically increase the price … please do some research and then write… when computers came to india .. these kind of people said it will increase unemployment.. now India as over 25 M in computer related industry .. This is good chance to get rid of this corrupt trader lobbies.. I am coming from farmer background .. and traders will simply refuse to take your stuff if you ask good price … in the end you do not have choice to sell at reduce price as it will rot..

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Eventually this will turn into a farmers vs corporations battle with the govt. on the side of the corporations. This battle is in a advanced stage in America, with the corporations close to winning. See this:
    http://www.healingtalks.com/health/decades-of-suppressing-and-now-criminalizing-of-raw-milk-sales/

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  • Anonymous

    These were the same concepts backward thinking folks always had , when computer technology & communication techology was freed and opened up in india 20 years back – their theory was india will lose lakhs of jobs…what would’ve happened to our youth of india today if then we had listened to them. Let the customer decide what they want and let india have investment in logistics and supply chain and customer front infrastructure…it will be best boon india could have when we look back 10 years from now in both manpower work force it will create and also the modern techology it will bring from Farm to the customer !!! The naysayers will always be naysayers….who have their own vested interests to keep the same old hoaders and middle man traders who are pinching money from both farmers and the customers

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    Rohan Abraham Reply:

    Well said!

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  • Chetanchauhan

    Guys this article of mine was based on experience of big companies like ITC, Reliance and Adani buying apples directly from farmers in Shimla. Farmers have got higher price but it did not result in consumers getting apples at a lesser price. We have farms in Himachal and I testify this with ground experience

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    Anonymous Reply:

    So farmers did get a higher price? Sounds like farmers did get benefits. It takes time for things to trickle down. Once 3-4 big players become dominant, it will put downward pressure on prices. On the specific question of apples, more data is needed to determine causality. There may be other factors in play. But, one the whole, small farmers and small retailers are inefficient users of resources and are a cost to the economy. I get the moral argument. But, inefficient resources should find a way to get new skills, or be simply left behind. Yes – the world is cruel, I get it.

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    NITYIN Reply:

    Very aptly put Chetan. I too have apple farms in Kotgarh area of Himachal Pradesh. Adani is the main buyer in the area followed by Mother Dairy. Some things from a farmer’s perspective I have observed are:

    1) Marginal farmers are at a loss when selling to Adani. Firstly the reason being the quality. Having low produce, they cannot cover there losses in another lot of good quality as the produce is limited.

    2) It is mainly the bigger farmers who sell to Adanis. Now one would ask why?Main reason is that Adani does not procure apples packed in cartons. The produce is plucked and transported in cartons. With shortage of labor, bigger farmers are the main suppliers to Adanis who do not have means to grade, pack and transport apples to the market

    3) Pricing is again a bigger issue. Adani opens it prices in the 1st-2nd week of August. By this time, the plucking in lower and half the middle belts in the region is almost over. So these farmers cannot sell to Adani. Once Adani declare prices, it is 3/4 or 1/2 of the prevalent marked prices. This has happened in past year when the overall production was quite less. In a way, Adani is asking small farmers to not sell to them and only seeking bigger farmers who have no option as stated above to sell to them.

    Small and marginal farmers will be at a big loss once MNCs step in. It is ok to say that they will procure directly from the farmer but at what cost? Adani’s experience has not been good for average farmers. But the biggest threat for apple farming will be what if these MNCs start flooding Chinese apples in Indian market. This would be a death knell for our farms here in Himachal.

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  • Anonymous

    Whatever paul…i too stay in usa for last 12 years and u are absolutely wrong. The single biggest reason for low food inflation in usa is Walmart’s every day low prices and highly efficient technology and logistics efficiency and smaller mom and pop thrives here too. There will be always be small nbr of haters of a company due to their vested interests…you cannot change their mindset. India needs to remove the 5 to 10 touch points between Farmers and consumers. The baniyawalas and trade mafiya unions have been making lot of profit by not paying the farmers and then making consumers asking high price to customers with low quality stuff this has been going on for last 60 years…. In case you do not know 40 to 50 % of india’s vegetables and fruits are damaged before reaching customers. I accolade this FDI opening rule change…this is the best change indian farmers and customers will have…competition is always a good thing. Do not make it far fetched by connecting walstreet demos to these…. You are correct this will be a big inflection point for india…but for good though…

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    Paul Reply:

    ratz,

    You argue that small farmers will benefit from large corporations. Could you tell me how many small farmers or for that matter family farms exist or are profitable in US? The biggest players in Agriculture market continue to be other corporate farms who have been taking over family farms. I live in an Agricultural state and have seen this first hand. The Agriculture subsidies is a s/ham and finally Americans are waking up to the reality.
    I am no socialist but at the same time want a captalist system that that is fair and open.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    paul,
    You are mixing Apples and Oranges. The FDI opening rule is for FDI in retail frontend and not for taking farm land from farmers !! In USA for generations it has been big land owned family farmers. I believe this fdi opening is fair and open and will benefit both in the increase of jobs for workforce in future and also improve our supplychain logistics.

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  • Ram Singapore

    Bhaiya you are right Congress party and NCP honcho Sharad Pawar are behind this game. All this policy has done has confirmed they have done backroom deal with BIG FDI retailers and Indian corporate and mid term elections are around the corner. Congress LADLA Rahul GANDHY and Ms,Sonia are making HAY while Govt is stil in their hands KAL KA KAUN JANTA HAI!

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  • Alexmon

    i feel i will be benfitted by the move to allow foreign direct investment since i will be able to get quality products at a cheaper price. iam sure that farmers will get better price for the products. also wastage of food grains will be considerably reduced

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Eventually this will turn into a farmers vs corporations battle with the govt. on the side of the corporations. This battle is in a advanced stage in America, with the corporations close to winning. See this:
    http://www.healingtalks.com/health/decades-of-suppressing-and-now-criminalizing-of-raw-milk-sales/

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  • Alexmon

    sir,

    the middle man and the small time traders are also not into the bussiness of helping the so called aam admi

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  • hh

    if u eliminate the intermediate 3+ retailer, u are talkin about complete collapse of economy of atleast 30% population, plus the economy of population{doctors, small hospitals, nursing homes, CAs, lawyers, almost all other smaller professional services, esp in smaller cities} which is dependent on this very 30% population….

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  • Anonymous

    The logic applies to Congless too, my bengali friend. Congress is the original Baniya party, and they also get hafta from shopkeepers, more so than any other party. So your informed analysis, is really, just a pile of dung.

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  • Anonymous

    Eventually this will turn into a farmers vs corporations battle with the govt. on the side of the corporations. This battle is in a advanced stage in America, with the corporations close to winning. See this:

    http://www.healingtalks.com/health/decades-of-suppressing-and-now-criminalizing-of-raw-milk-sales/

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    guys this is a post by somebody from australia from another news blog

    prakash234 (Sydney Australia
    13 mins ago (09:06 AM)
    You are a fool if you believe that opening up the Indian retail sector will create 10 million jobs. The multinational retailers may employ these many people but it will render many times more unemployed. The biggest losers will be small business owners and ever bigger losers will be the growers and small manufactures. These giant multinational retailers will squeeze the local growers and have no interest in dealing with small to medium manufactures who cannot supply them at the scale and prices these multinationals will get from China. This will render tens of million of small manufacturers out of business while further blowing out India’s already precarious current account deficit. It is true that these multinationals will employ many people but these shop assistants and cashiers are the lowest paid workers how have no further career prospects. A many large business moguls had started their career from a corner shops. Shop assistants and cashiers will not get any opportunity to become the future entrepreneurs. It is pity that the Indian Government did not have the courage to stand up against the tirade of these multinationals. The whole country will pay the price for this timidity for generations to come.

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  • Anonymous

    YOU GUYS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY CHECK WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FARMERS IN THE US.

    Farmers in the usa are now practically slaves to Walmart and Target.

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  • Rodsamuel

    Your comments though correct but are out of context. Where is question of government control or socialism exist in retails sector in India? The retails market in India is driven by private sector and based on market forces. India also has few big retailers- reliance, etc. The issue is of allowing foreign companies. If you think US model is so good then why US is facing unemployment and stagnating economy. It is for these reasons that US is pressuring India to allow its companies to set up shops and boost US economy. The Indian SME sector will suffer as these retailers can and will easily import. Benefits to farmers is unknown at this stage but definetely harm the self employed retailers. New job creation is doubtful rather it will be shifting of employment from small stores to big retailers.

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    Guest Reply:

    If we are serious about getting the market controlling the prices, then let it be a free market with competitive pricing, who can reduce more middle man that the others.
    Reliance or Walmart or Metro everybody an Corporation they look after their own profits , how come reliance be good and the others are bad. Also the cold storage infrastructure are not developed in india yet.
    US unemployment is because of housing market where they had too much supply of houses between 2003 -2007 and not because of Walmart or Target.
    To tell a benifit of this big retaliers the price of a loaf (pack) of bread 7 years back was 79Cents and now also you will find bread for 79Cents. Can we say about the price of our staple food Rice?
    Self employed will still have their space.This benifit will be consumers who will have more choices and competitive pricing and fruits or vegetables which will otherwise gets rotten will be preserved

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    Anonymous Reply:

    I don’t think any country’s model is good or bad. I do know that the free market should set prices. Capital should flow to wherever it is used most efficiently. If this means individual retailers will lose jobs, or small farmers will suffer, then that is what it will be. I’m sorry, but people should acquire new skills and make themselves more competitive. I’m not sure where you are going with the US pressuring anyone. The US has been a market to all countries and has allowed all producers to sell their products. In return, what have the other countries given? A whole boat load of protectionism. If now the US asks a country to open a market in return, what is the issue? If this whole process exposes India’s sub par productivity and underemployment, so be it. It cannot be sustained forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Check this out why indian states need to participate in Retail modernization otherwise only those states people will be doomed when they look back at other states which welcomed this….
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/services/retailing/fdi-in-retail-to-immensely-benefit-states-like-up-says-cii/articleshow/10894881.cms

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    Anonymous Reply:

    1. CII is a lobbying body. Their statements are self serving. They don’t give a sh*t about the small retailers in India.

    2. All this is happening just to allow walmart a foothold in India.

    3. Small retailers and farmers are not equipped to handle competition from companies like walmart.

    4. Efficiency won’t increase magically by just hand waving. There’s nothing walmart can do that we can’t do ourselves.

    5. When Walmart begins to have lot of stores and thus more clout in India, they will become a MONOPOLY. Then they will start to pay farmers LESS. This is what happened in USA. It will happen here.

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  • JJJackxon

    1. I agree that US Republican economic nostrums are crazy but Republicans have a global vision which places India near the epicenter (including a Japan-India-Australia-US alliance of democracies). India can really use US support to slay its own demons, for example, the politically paralyzing fear of China and of FDI in retail and to move toward a strategic alliance with Vietnam and yes, Taiwan.
    2. As long the US is kicking *** with Pakistan, Pak will try to make nice with India. The moment that stops, Pak will be back to its hate-India, terrorize-India institutionalized habits. Indian policy should be to quietly build offensive military and anti-terror capabilities and encourage the break-up of Pak. After so many years and so many wrong turns, there simply is no other way.
    3. India does not have to match China’s military power at every point but it does have to do so at the BORDER and in the NAVY. China does not want to occupy India; their policy is to cow India into psychological submission so India does what China wants without the Chinese having to attack India. Strengthening the border must include capabiity or offensive retaliation as well as political and military readiness to liberate Tibet (dont scream). As Indians and Chinese see that India is serious about defending itself, China will begin to accept India’s rise and Indian citizens will become less hysterical re Chinese intentions.

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  • Abu Ahmed

    Exactly – the West Asians not only absorb millions of our work-force, they are also a very big market for our products; its another matter that we are not pushing our products there as much as we should. And we are also dependent over their oil. What more quid pro quo status are u looking for? Do u realise how much US$ we are receiving from our work-force based in the West Asia – all white money, hard-earned and squeaky clean. Israel is dependent over us for its defense products – we are not dependent over Israel for anything at all, apart from pleasing the Americans Jews and following an anti-Muslim line. Don’t fool yourself, it won’t take u any further – whereas West Asia is the place where we can export our labour as well as agro- industrial products.

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  • Gt12563

    Both Democratic and GOP have same policies towards India and whoever wins in next election will not make much difference but most probably Mr.Obama will win because GOP does not have any strong candidate.Regarding China we have to take care ourselves on eastern border by strengthen our armed forces with latest weapons and modern infrastructure and ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons.America always thinks her own interest first and there is no permanent friendship with any nation in their books and generally do not change its foreign policy easily.What Mr.Bush did it was good for both countries and not alone for India.My guess is Obama adminstration was disappointed when India decided not to buy 126 fighter planes and change his adminstrations attitude to wards India but it may change soon.

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  • Anonymous

    This is perhaps the stupidest article I’ve read this month. The best corrective to the flawed nostrums about the true nature of the Republican Party is to be found by watching any of the dozen of the debates among the Republican candidates. Almost without exception, their number one priority is to side with Israel to the exclusion of all other foreign affairs. And they have been vocal in their intentions to start war with Iran if possible. They propose doubling down on Bush’s disastrous economic policies and deficits for as long as the eye can see, which needs must cause a drastic retrenchment of any US activities in the Pacific theater. Put very simply–and entirely from an Indian perspective–if you were to side with Republicans, you would lose medium-term certainty of an American alliance (surely you remember that China holds much US debt and may not continue to bankroll its own entrapment) and you would probably also lose attention in the short-term, since they are much worse at prosecuting the wars to your west THAT THEY STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. If all the treasure rests between Israel and Iran, you’re only lucky that Obama is ending the Iraq war now so that maybe there can be some oxygen and political capital to tend to the Indian-American alliance.

    Just remember: the mountainous debt problem that the US finds itself in was incurred because of Republican policies. That, and the expensive and distracting wars that the Republican war machine started in Southwest Asia has weakened America’s financial (and thus, military and diplomatic) position, exposed it to weakness via China, and distracted America from more determinedly cultivating relationships with partners in South and Southeast Asia. Note that the spiralling debt under Bush was enabled by China and the contours of that relationship allowed China to keep their currency low and embark upon a decade of economic growth by exporting to America. Thus, to the extent that Obama is able to reverse all of Bush’s messes, India and America may very well be brought into closer harmony. (You will remember that without a war in Afghanistan the Pakistan-American partnership would not have gotten so much play over the last decade, especially as India was liberalizing and could have served as a more preferable economic trading partner to China.)

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  • Marc Levy

    Why would you “love” Obama? He’s owned by the same private central banks he decries in his two-faced bs speeches. He’s taken more rights from Americans than Bush ever did with indefinite detention. He’s caught red-handed running guns that were used to kill police officers, and who knows who else, to Mexican drug lords; then has the nerve to use it as pretext to take more rights away from Americans. If you can’t see by now that Obama is not the swell guy he poses as for the fools, you’re a fool. He needs to go, and Ron Paul is the only choice that isn’t cosmetic and insignificant. The ONLY choice.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DLQATMMACSKP7ZAHYWR7BDSHMI Bharat

    On the balance of things, President Obama is likely to win the next Presidential term. This article has too many suppositions, assumptions, and presumptions. Even factually, everything may not be correct!

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  • R.Kannan

    Arnab Mitra is assuming too many issues. India – US relations reached their nadir during Nixon (Republican) presidency. George Bush inherited good relations from Clinton (Democrat). The assumption that Bush always supported India has also been laid to rest with the amount of military aid that was given to Pakistan despite evidence of same having been diverted to sponsor terror attacks against India. The real issue is not US position – Obama has also expressesd the hope that India gets ready to take on China & promised support for the same – but of Indian political leadership. Indian leadership has always been timid and this reflects in current lack of strategic intent in the government. Unfortunately, the entire political spectrum , including the Communists,BJP & all other parties, share almost the same thinking in foreign policy matters. The problem is not economic or military strength – India could easily sign a pact with US to counter a China specific aggresion – but unwillingness to take a stand & the resultant leadership role. India’s unwillingness to counter Pakistan’s terrorism by reasonable strong arm tactics – as opposed to its perinial pleadings to the International community top pass meaningless resolutions – is the reason why thousands of Indians have died in terrorist attacks every year for the last several decades. When India , at long last, found a Home Minister who took his job seriously, we find all politicians baying for his resignation. PC has easily been India’s most effective Home Minister, in the last 3 decades, and we see attempts being made to make CRPF & other para military organisations more responsive to internal security challenges. Yet , instead of allowing him to do the job, political parties are more concerned about how to dislodge him. China will be happier with this than with who becomes the US president.

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  • Anonymous

    India should never go on muslim line India should support isreal , then to support terrorist muslim nations

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  • Abu Ahmed

    I am definitely interested as a Muslim in having good relations with the west Asian countries as Indian Muslims have to go on pilgrimage to Makkah & Madina! That does not mean that we have to be enemies with Israel, not at all. Israel is a foreign policy arm of the USA – when it goes to war, it is akin to the USA being at war with Israel’s imagined enemies. Iraq or Iran were never and will never be any threat to the US – but it destroyd Iraq and is now at the verge of launching a war against Iran – all in the name of defending Israel! Whereas the easiest route for Israel to keep peace in the neighbourhood is by accepting the Palestineans rights and allowing them to have a state of their own. However, the whole point of creating Israel in the middle east is altogetherly different, with which we have nothing to do. The Arabs and Muslims have lived in peace with the jews since the advent of Islam all over the middle east, whether in Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, algeria, Morrocco, Turkey… u name the Muslim country and there you would find Jewish people. Whereas Jews were persecuted all over Europe throughout history and were finally kicked out and sent to a newly-created state of Israel as good riddance. It is the extremist Zionists who in their quest for power, are creating mischief and trouble in that part of the world. Arabs and Muslims have no fear of neither the Zionists nor the RSS, we can easily take care of any challenge – the need is to balance things in India’s favour and that requires having best of relations with West Asian countries without licking the zionists’ boots.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A34THPGSJZOZVPEDR3O2JYV7VM edward poe

    Please give the whole neo con agenda the proper salute that it merits. Flush the toilet and go on with your day

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  • Anonymous

    State collaborated?

    Individual ministers in Modi & Rajiv Gandhi govts collaborated in riots. HKL Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler were union ministers for heaven sake, just like Maya Kodnani etc.

    The reality is both 1984 and 2002 had some level of state complicity. The difference is there is no evidence either Rajiv Gandhi or Modi were directing the massacre of people.

    But, only Modi is targetted.

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  • That Rydah 50Cal

    Prem is one of the greatest villians to ever grace the screen. You knew in a movie that when he was around even his best friends could not leave him alone with their wives or their wealth. Not being Indian or Hindi speaker I feel very blessed to have witnessed this actor demonstrate his craft on the screen – with the help of subtitles of course..

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