I won’t deny the validity of the comment made by the Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel, completely. Yes. India has a humongous number of poor people. Everyday, millions of people go to sleep without being certain of what they would eat the next morning. I agree. But please, India is not just Slumdog Millionaire, it is Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gam too(where the son return from college in a chopper that lands in the backyard).
And someone like Spiegel needs to watch it intently! Cmon, aren’t those reflection of society too?
I feel that these opinions aren’t formed by some economical statistics only. But rather by how we, or any country, are being represented on the global stage. I’m not saying that CEO of such a huge firm doesn’t know his maths. But if that was the sole basis (not some stereotypical assumption ) then he must have known that India is the country with over 1.7 million IPhone user the for fiscal year 2015.
According to Apple CFO Luca Maestri, iPhone sales were up 76 per cent in India for the quarter, while sales grew around 45 per cent in Korea, Middle-East and Africa. In Mainland China, sales grew by 18 per cent. Based on the numbers shared by Apple, India appears to be the region where sales have increased the most, despite the exorbitant pricing for Apple’s iPhone 6s.
That was just iphone. The number of smartphone users in India is around 300 million. A number larger than the entire population of Germany, UK, France and Italy taken together (Four most populated nations of Europe).
India remains the biggest market for WhatsApp, which had 160 million active users in the country last November. Even after an economical surgery of Demonetization last year, the number of e-wallet user is near about 150 million, as in last November. So if anyone doubts the technical literacy of the nation he/she must think twice.
So my point is that: Yes, we have a continent of people inside our country who couldn’t afford a fancy car. Millions who don’t have shelter. Thousands are without sufficient food. But if some entrepreneur, sitting across the Atlantic, wish to expand his market in this poor land, then we have enough people to make him rich.
There’s a great gap between the number of rich and the poor. And that’s a fact. But if 1.3 billion people run a race, it is impossible for everyone to come first. Segregation is unfortunately an obvious phenomenon. Countries with half of our population have similar economical segregation. It is there in country like US, it is also there in the nations like Russia and China.
But the point is not just about economics. I am more concerned about the impression. Let’s keep Mr. Spiegel aside. It is not the first time that India has been understated. Remember when ISRO launched the Mars Orbiter Mission? There was a cartoon in some western newspaper that depicted India’s stand in the space race. Though Times Of India cartoonist Sandeep Adhwaryu brilliantly replied to that as ISRO launched multiple satellites in one go.
It is not what we are. It is their assumption about what they think we are. Remember Indiana Jones: Temple of the Doom? One with the legendary Amresh Puri in it! Brilliant performance I must admit. But, think about the characters. The way in which India was portrayed in the movie:
Barbaric people killing, sacrificing, enslaving others and feasting on snakes, spiders and Monkey brains. That’s what George Lucas and Spielberg thought of India(though I do love and respect their works). But, sorry, just can’t digest this one.
It was not the only one. In Avengers their was a scene of gloomy Kolkata that was actually shot in Mexico. A Bond flick is also on the list. Remember Octupussy? In that one too, the director deliberately carried the batten of Grossly Depicted Indian cuisine even further. There is a scene in that a royal Rajput family offers a sheep head to Bond. Find it funny?
There are numerous such movies, literary works, even tampered historical accounts. For decades they had been dumping shits to make a giant mountain of disgrace. Now just thought about the millions of people whose only sources of knowledge of our country are the movies, books, cartoons and comments of famous people.
Thankfully, in recent time, there had been a slight deviation from that cliche mindset. You can see a Satnam in 2012; Piscine Patel in Life Of Pie and several more. I mean where do you think they come to know about India as a Spiritual hub? Eat, Pray and Love and Steve Jobs obviously.
So likewise, we need more such cards on the table, to drill holes through the century old shithill. They had their turns. Now its ours. And That is why I feel that beside Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, they should also get a regular dose of IPL and KJo. I am not saying that we must overlook the mistakes. If there’s anything wrong; we must mend it. But a balance is what I wish for. Unbiased (totally Satya). So they must know that Indian can afford Europe tour too (DDLJ). You see, we need Self IMage and Respect of this Auspicious Nation(SIMRAN) back on the train.
And, in the end, I would love to quote the great words by Indian Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi:
“Our country used to play with a snake, now we play with the mouse.”