His takes on crabs in the bucket, FDI, institutes of higher learnings, entry of foreign universities into India, name changing companies, all appear filled with so much commonsense that one is left wondering why does it happen? Common sense is not every common. So is our behaviour at railway crossings. We risk our limbs and lives only to save a few seconds! One should see the confusion and chaos at the gate of a just lifted railway manned crossing to see how well India functions or does not function.
Raghunath takes on another of Indian’s peculiar traits. We are great talkers. Television is full of people who keep talking about all and the sundry for hours together. The juicier the talk better are the ratings. It is not for anything that Amartya Sen dubbed us as the ‘argumentative Indians’ we can talk the hind legs off a donkey. Talk, talk and more talk.
We brazen things out, we lie with gay abandon, have no sense of fair play and dangerously as a group we have come to accept these. In modern India corruption is seen as a necessary evil. Corrupted people are not only tolerated but even admired. The honest ones are pitied. “These guys are fools, they don’t know how to take advantage of the situation” we seem to be saying to ourselves.
So which India would we want to live in? India that we are justifiably proud of or an India that grabs attention for all the wrong things. Like 26/11 attack or something else that could have been avoided easily if we were vigilant enough.
Love him or hate him, like the book or hate the book, agree with him or disagree with him, one cant ignore neither the book nor its author. Raghunath raises very pertinent questions. If we are the way he says we are then it is time for us to improve. If we are not it is up to us to prove that we can stand up and be counted as decent and good citizens of this great country. The Indian government could subsidize this book and see that it reaches many more readers. The government would be doing a great favour to it self.
A book of this magnitude is too important to be written only for English readers. Efforts should be taken to see that the book is translated into all the Indian languages so that the message reaches even more people. All in all a seminal book about Indian behaviour in public. One of the books that administrators should read and keep as a ready reckoner.