Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Saturday, May 17, 2003

India as a punching bag.

Bashing India and its culture or the lack thereof seems to be a popular sport all around the world these days. In just the last couple of days, two incidents have incited some irrelevant and arbitrary people to hurl some vitriol India's way.

First it was the "heroic act" by 21 year old Nisha Sharma, of reporting her husband-to-be to the police and getting him arrested on their wedding day for demanding dowry and mistreating her father. Quite a courageous act!! There was a mention of this news on Metafilter on May 15 2003 and a few comments appeared on that. That should've been the end of the issue.

But no!! just the next day (May 16 2003) the same news (although from a different source) was posted on Metafilter by a MeFi user named elpapacito.

First point about this post by elpapacito was that he, quite idiotically, had made a double post since this story had already been posted on Metafilter. But that was the least of his brainless acts!!

I quote from the post made by elpapacito...
Not surprisingly she is a "software engineer" student probably a programmer with some clue. Groom goes to jail. On a tangent, your job position is currently being outsourced to this "civilized" country with only 7000 dowry deaths in 2001.
Whoa!! ... and since it was a double post... Double Whoa!! *complete with a What-the-fuck?! look on the face*

Now what the hell has her being a software engineer have to do with her guts? Since coincidentally I am a "software engineer" too, I wonder if I missed something along the line. No one taught me how to be brave and stand up for yourself during my college years. I mean it certainly wasn't in the curriculum... nor was it in the job description when I took on the job as a "software engineer". So what is this "elpapaidioto" trying to convey?? Does it have any relation to the news or is he just trying to take a potshot at Indians in general. Quite clearly any dumb person with half a brain will tell you that "elpapaidioto" has been afflicted by the sour-grapes syndrome. He is just whining like a low-life. And trying to link two altogether unrelated issues.

Well "elpapaidioto", the reason why Indian "programmers with some clue" are getting your jobs is because we have "some clue"!!

Does this idiot know what he's ranting about? Making a reference to the 7000 dowry deaths in India he gets on the high horse and questions the civilized nature of the Indian society. As an Indian, I'm deeply ashamed by the practice of dowry deaths as I am by various other retrograde practices attributed to religion and culture. But what the hell is all this about?!!

Civilization cannot be quantified so easily, as someone rightly claims in the flame war started by that idiot's post. And "elpapaidioto" seems to agree as he says,
I think that unless we all use the very same function to evaluate what is more or less civilized, we'll never be able to quantize a "civilization" level and express it with numbers, so making a comparison apples-2-apples possible.
And given that death, I believe, it's one of the fundamental , constact factors that excludes absolutely nobody anywhere in the world and that nobody (unless strongly emotionally disturbed) welcomes, we could try to evaluate the "civilization" level of different groups of people by how violence leading to death is tolerated or (sometimes) accepted in their social group.
I think that any group of people that has some rule (written or not written) that allows violence toward some other human being as socially tolerable/acceptable can't be really considered "civilized".
Isn't that lovely??! Such a clear cut definition of "civilization"!! Now... I'll produce some facts and figures. Lets see!!
* In 1999, there were 28,874 gun-related deaths in the United States - over 80 deaths every day. (Source: Hoyert DL, Arias E, Smith BL, Murphy SL, Kochanek, KD. Deaths: Final Data for 1999. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2001;49 (8).)

* In 1999, 58% of all gun deaths were suicides, and 38% were homicides.(SOURCE: Hoyert DL, Arias E, Smith BL, Murphy SL, Kochanek, KD. Deaths: Final Data for 1999. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2001;49 (8).) Do you realize what that means??... It means in 1999, there were almost 11,000 fatalities due to gun abuse, in USA!!

* In 2000, 75,685 people (27/100,000) suffered non-fatal firearm gunshot injuries. (SOURCE: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reports for the United States: Crime in the United States 2000: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Justice; 2001.)

* USA tops the list of nations with the highest gun deaths in a year. It boasts of a rate of 4.08 gun deaths per 100,000 population. Canada comes in next... with the figure of 0.54 per 100,000. (SOURCE: Data collected by Philip Alpers, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and HELP Network)

Above data taken from Gun Control Network
And if you look at the spousal abuse, a recent press release by Amnesty Internation states, and I quote
Violence against women is one of the most pervasive, yet hidden of human rights abuses. It is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women their fundamental rights. No political or economic system or culture is exempt when it comes to allowing and justifying violence against women - in USA a woman is raped every six minutes, in Russia about 14,000 women are estimated to be killed in domestic violence annually. This year, more than 15,000 women will be sold into sexual slavery in China.
And if you want more...
According to the Uniform Crime Report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 30% of women killed in the United States die at the hands of a husband or boyfriend.

The FBI reports that between 1976 and 1996, domestic violence claimed the lives of more than four women each day (SOURCE: Lawrence A. Greenfeld et al. (1998). Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends. Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice. NCJ #167237. Available from National Criminal Justice Reference Service.)
Civilized society, eh?! Highly civilized I would say!!

I have nothing against America or any other country for that matter (except perhaps against Pakistan... but that is entirely a separate issue!). But if someone tries to put down India, then that really gets me worked up!! My only advice to those who like to pick on India is... Don't fuck with us!!

Another instance of needless India-bashing was the linking of Vijay Singh's (the golfer) comments about Annika Sorenstam's decision to play the men's circuit, to his Indian roots. In case you haven't read it yet, here is the story. As much as I would like to rip up those arguments by the racist columnists, I shall pass on that opportunity since I've ranted too much already!!


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.