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Tourism & the !ncredible India mantra

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

I sometimes keep repeating to myself “!ncredible India” after the slogan that has become such a successful ad campaign to draw in tourists to our country. I have to do it sometimes with clenched fists and through gritted teeth.

Especially when I am standing in endless lines in front of a temple or a monument and see the filth in front of me.

Or look at the grafitti carved on the outside walls of our great buildings and structures. Invariably, it is etched into the stone of these monuments by some Romeo expressing his insatiable love to his Juliet. No doubt, it is nice to know that X loves Y with such passion that he had to go to great lengths to carve this out in stone. I wonder where he got the implements to do the carving. Did he plan it all out when he started from home that morning and get himself a chisel to do the carving. Whatever he did,the end result is that he has defaced a timeless monument.

Or see the ceaseless line of beggars harassing you in their quest for I dont know what. It looks like it is not just nourishment that they are after. We went to a religious place recently. We had excess food and when a beggar came in search of alms, we wanted to give him some of the food we had. But the man declined it. He said he wants money. For what? For cigarettes? For Pan Parag? Maybe for that fancy apartment? Na, I dont intend to be callous but it looks like beggars can be choosers after all.

As we approach modernism, our attitudes need to be considerably realigned before we become recognized as the potent power that we claim to be. And most of it starts by sparing a thought to others – to the people next door, to the town or to the country.

Once we do that, the dirt in our streets, the general cacophony of vehicle horns, the incessant spitting and defacing of our monuments will be things of the past.