Do you know Kailash Satyarathi?
Asking this question today would surely be an insult to the latest icon that India has added in its otherwise lackluster list of crusaders who stand a good social cause. But did you know Mr. Satyarathi before 10th Oct, 2014?
The answer to the question would mostly result in a firm no from most of the people. What describes this better than a quote from www.time.com , “Since early evening on Friday (Read: 10-oct-2014), many in India were furiously searching the web for the name “Kailash Satyarthi” as it started trending on social media. This was right after the Nobel Prize committee in Sweden announced that Satyarthi, from India, was one of this year’s (and India’s second) Nobel Peace Prize winners”.
The Nobel peace prize has created a demi-God status for Mr. Satyarathi in India. Now many people in India have started questioning how come Indian government and authorities missed to spot this great talent which the world has recognized and has given the most respected prize in the world i.e. Noble Peace Prize.
There is no denying the fact that the work done by him deserves praise. But do we really need an endorsement from outside to recognize a person like him. Is Mr. Satyarthi’s work great or the fact that he has been given the prize makes his work great? While this may be debated in the days to come, it is very much possible that the government in India may confer some prizes to Mr. Satyarthi.
Now look at another case to understand this well. Mr. Modi was leading in the race for “person of the year” race for Time magazine. Many Indians who had never seen a copy of Time magazine went ahead and voted for Modi in the contest. The way media in India was covering this contest gives an impression as if there was a lot of stake for the country. Modi without a Time person of the year would be a different Modi.
Finally Mr. Modi didn’t win and “ The Ebola Fighters” were declared the winner. This resulted into a pall of gloom for Modi supporters often referred to as “Bhakts”. Some thought it to be a big debacle and started cursing the magazine also.
In India, there has always been a strong desire to get the endorsement from west, U.S.A. in particular. Many Indians start with the assumption that foreigners are better than us, especially if they are fair skinned. There are many offices in India which get regular foreign visitors these days as many offices operate as BPOs and KPOs. When foreigners visit India in these offices, response of office staff tends to reflect that deep routed inferiority complex. An English speaking foreigner is assumed to be a more learned man than an English speaking desi. This gets manifested in many other walks of life.
Being a great movie star is not good enough in India, you are not great unless you win an Oscar. That hankering for a foreign award such as Oscar weighs heavily in the mind of all Indian film stars, even some of them may deny it. The other side of it is equally interesting. When Maria Sharapoa refused to recognize Sachin Tendulkar, we reacted angrily. What did that indicate?
There was a feeling of getting hurt. But once again it manifested the same thing. How come a foreign player didn’t recognize supposedly the greatest player that India has ever produced? Many Indians thought if Sachin Tendulkar is not recognised what about ordinary mortals. The fact remains that Sachin Tendulkar will remain as great as he was before Maria made that statement.
There is no doubt that everybody wants an international recognition but an absence of this should not make anybody a lessor mortal. In India, deep down somewhere there is a feeling that unless you get recognition from outside the country especially the west, you are not great.
India is an emerging economy and has many things to offer to the world. There is a need to recognize our own talents internally and start believing in ourselves and our capabilities. This hankering for foreign recognition is not the best that a country like India needs to think. China has shown to the world that world needs China and it is not the other way round.