Features Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 05:30
By Dr. Munish Raizada Desis rue a lot about standards of Indian politics Last month, I had to make a two-week trip to Chicago from Delhi. On the day of my return, I called for a Yellow cab for Chicago’s O’hare airport (3rd busiest airport in USA in terms of passenger load, after Atlanta and Los Angeles). The cab was a phone call away and within 4 minutes, was at my door step. The driver turned out to be a Pakistani. We greeted each other in Hindustani language. While seated in the car, our conversation turned to politics in the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan at that time was witnessing nation-wide protests against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif started by Imran Khan and allies.  Hussain, the cab driver, has been a supporter of Imran Khan –led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party. When I told him that there was a similar party in India which was fighting for clean politics in India named “Aam Aadmi Party”, he was familiar with the name and asked in affirmative had they not done well in one province! Hussain was referring to Delhi where the party made history in December 2013 by winning 28 out of 70 assembly seats, leading to Arvind Kejriwal becoming the Chief Minister. The cabbie added spontaneously that initially he was not impressed with Imran Khan’s politics, but then an Indian friend impressed upon him how Imran Khan was fighting an odd battle and this led him to start supporting Khan’s political cause. He rued that corrupt and dishonest politicians had occupied the political space in Pakistan, making tasks for lone fighters like Imran Khan difficult. I stated- as if to support his grief- that the standards of Indian politics were not very different in India too and why there was a strong need of an alternative politics being exemplified by parties like PTI and AAP. When Hussain said that Imran may be a loner in the crowd of politicians, but the people are with him, it reminded me of Arvind Kejriwal. Million Dollar Arm: Few weeks ago, my family landed at AMC Theater in downtown Chicago to watch “Million Dollar Arm”. AMC forms a popular chain of cinema theaters in USA. India does arouse interest in Americans and they know us for a few reasons: doctors, IT professionals and outsourcing. The movie is based upon the real story of how a baseball agent –frustrated with finding a good player for reasonable sign up price- comes up with the idea of finding raw talent (young players) from India for a much cheaper amount and grooming it to the level of professional baseball league.  As cricket is the most popular game in India, so is baseball in USA. The commonality between the two games always interests me. The movie hall was half full, consisting of mainly locals with hardly any other desi visible there. The movie was full of desi flavor interspersed with Hindi dialogues, yet the local audience seemed to enjoy the Indian sentiments and tit-bits as evidenced by intermittent applause and laughter. And that is the beauty of American life. The stage at which life is set here is different, but one never forgets the foundations. Teachers Day: I was in India last week when Teachers’ Day was celebrated on September 5. After a long time, it seems as if Teachers’ Day has been revived to its significance. When I was a child, I remember it being a significant day. But over the years, it seems to have been lost in the midst of other things. Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have resurrected the Day, much to his political advantage! A few of my friends asked me whether such a day is commemorated in USA too. In America, the first week of May is celebrated as Teachers Appreciation Week.  The Tuesday of the week is observed as Teachers’ Day. Students appreciate their teachers by writing thank you cards or presenting gifts to them. However, apart from symbolism, I would say, USA celebrates the success of its educational institutions on a daily basis! I have always maintained that India with a huge pool of young talent and democratic mindset is fully capable of producing world class educational institutions, but the political establishment continues to down us.  Why our graduated have to go to USA and other countries to pursue a stream like MBA that involves no bench research or heavy scientific infra-structure? What is there in understanding basic concepts of management that our students are willing to shell out say USD 20,000 per annum in foreign universities? The answer lies more in demand for a ‘foreign degree’ and that the student might have acquired a new perspective by studying abroad.  Share our similarities, celebrate our differences”. – Scott Peck (an American Psychiatrist) The author is a Chicago-based medical doctor (Neonatologist) and a socio-political commentator. Twitter: Follow @drmunishraizada The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.
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