These days we often see big movie stars ask people not to buy pirated copies of movies, but to go to the movie theaters to watch their films. They claim it is illegal and it is also killing the movie industry. My question back to the movie makers is, you copy the stories from elsewhere, you copy the music from elsewhere, and you even copy movie posters from elsewhere, so how can you ask audience not to watch pirated copies of the movies? Is it not illegal to copy everything about making a movie? Are you not killing the industry with your own hands?
It’s not just about movies. We also master in imitating. We want to be like the West. We like Mc Donalds, iPhones,Toyota cars. Now we also want F1-racing. Whether it is a product or a service, anything we want, we try to imitate mainly from the West, and of course without giving any credit to where it belongs. One of my friends who worked in a pharma firm in India told me that they get the formula from a different country from backdoor. Then they make some changes and put their label on top of it. It is hard for my to believe it was an isolated incident.
What about the language? You go to any service center like a bank or a restaurant; you will be made felt embarrassed to speak your mother tongue, Telugu for instance. That is the case even if you can’t speak English, and even if the service provider can speak Telugu much better than English. Your broken English with a fake accent always gets more respect/service than your mother-tongue.
Going back to the school days, I noticed since my fifth grade, that most of the students, especially the ones who always got either 1st or 2nd in the class cheated in exams, then bargained with teachers for that extra half mark. Our favorite teachers were those who allowed us to cheat, and gave a mark or two which we didn’t deserve.
When I moved to US for my Masters, I realized the name our seniors established for Indian students. Professors thought that it was Indian students’ culture to copy. It hurt me real bad. Of course we had company from my Chinese brothers. They were as good (bad) as us with cheating in exams. Like in India, cheating continues for NRIs outside of the Universities with fake documents for H1, fake experience for job, fake pay-stubs for GC and fake referrals for apartments and so on.
While most of the responsibility is on individuals, it begins with the parents. As long as we have parents who only want to see the marks percentage in the exams, or how much more their son/daughter is making more than the next guy, we will have this dirty blood running through our body. While I am guilty of some of the above mentioned, it has been a constant struggle for me to become a better person, and be less fake. I am not saying this problem is only in India, because it is absolutely not. But I don’t care about others’ problems as much as I do of India’s.
India’s development in last couple of decades is mainly due to the exploitation; exploitation of natural resources by Indians and exploitation of “cheap” labor by the global companies. How long can we sustain this type of development with the limited natural resources and ever competing global market. Living expenses in India jumped up, while more nations are becoming foreign investment friendly. The only answer to this question is innovation. We can’t think of innovation as long as we keep trying to find shortcuts or be copycats.