Some thoughts, Some Feelings July 12
It is time to return home now. I have stayed in South Africa for over forty days. Some thoughts and some feelings coming out of my experience:
– Like whenever I travel abroad, so far I had been to over thirty countries, I feel that their Society cares for the elders and disabled. You see special arrangements for them, which they need, wherever you go. And that this aspect is so glaringly ignored by our government while providing facilities. A wheel chair, for example, can not move easily on Mumbai foot paths. Or move in a bus.
– Like my South African friend was surprised that the Bangalore Airport which was built recently also suffers from this deficiency. She said that she had great difficulty, and embarrassment, when she tried to enter the wash room for disabled on her wheel chair. The wash room’s door was too narrow to allow entrance on wheel chair.
– Like it was interesting to find Hindu girls wearing a ‘bindi’ while dressed in jeans and a top in South Africa. They do it in Fiji too though not to that extent in Trinidad. In India, however, the girls consider the combination [of wearing jeans and bindi] a ‘No-No’.
– Like there are countless followers of Sai Baba and Satya Sri Sai Baba in these three countries, South Africa, Fiji and Trinidad, which have Indian Diaspora. And I have always found it interesting, or perhaps surprising, because Indians went there in the nineteenth century. The two Sai Babas are of recent times.
– Like I was shocked to read that 28% of the 1100+ men interviewed in SA said that they had committed rape; some said that they had done it twice!
– Like the doctors in Durban went on strike. The Government sacked 300 doctors who got their jobs back as a part of the settlement. The doctors grudgingly accepted the pay hike. And now in Mumbai doctors have gone on strike and 3100 doctors have been dismissed. What next? The script of the drama is same, I am sure!
– Like the ‘Cress theory of Colour Confrontation’ put forth by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing is interesting. She postulates that white people are genetically defective descendants of ‘albino’ mutants who had been forcibly expelled from Africa. What happened to browns? I must find out.
– Like President Zuma faced a trial for rape and was acquitted. The common man here is not much concerned. And back home in India we have MPs and MLAs with criminal convictions. The common man is indifferent there too.
– Like this makes me believe that morality and virtuosity are debates and concerns of only the intellectuals and of the middle class people, oblivious of the world ignoring them.
– Like the issues before the SA and Indian people have so much in common that it will be a great idea to arrange a dialogue. Some social activists in SA have recognised this already.
– Like I was pleasantly surprised when I met at least two white persons who denounced apartheid and said that they held Nelson Mandela in high esteem. One of them was an activist against apartheid. And this helps me retain my hope for triumph of good.
– And Finally: I saw Nelson Mandela’s house in JoBurg. It is palatial and well guarded with TV cameras, Infra Red beams etc. I felt that he remains a prisoner, in a different sense, within that house; he is not free like us. One must look up his horoscope which may hold some explanation!
Welcome back to the chaos and callousness that is India. Enjoyed your snaps as much as your Shiney Ahuja post and this one. You are right, Mandela still is a prisoner of people's expectations, perhaps.
And the albino-theory is interesting, although Neo-nazis might not be too pleased.
Welcome back ! And congratulations on the 'milestone post' !!
"Like this makes me believe that morality and virtuosity are debates and concerns of only the intellectuals and of the middle class people, oblivious of the world ignoring them" !
Well said ! Personally, I have been grappling with this thought as well. That the world gets by. Despite all the points, noise and clamour about morality.
Morality lost in point scoring. Point scoring lost in noise. And noise lost in clamour. Such is our state.
Nevertheless, it has been lovely reading your SA adventure. And we await to welcome you back here !
A very well-written post with a sense of humour as well, e.g. you need to find out about what happened to the browns 🙂
About the physically disabled..I can say that none are as insensitive or outright cruel to them than the people of the Indian sub-continent, generally-speaking.
Best wishes 🙂
Congratulations on your 100th post! And welcome back to potholes, traffic,drizzles, etc etc. No, seriously, welcome back to Mumbai.
Your comment on facilties for the disabled in India,just reminded me about somethng. My mother was scheduled for an interview at the US Consulate sometime in 1995. She was in her late 70's. They wouldnt allow bags and other people inside , and so I waited outside on the footpath then , sitting kerbside. Along with several much older Gujarati folk accompanying someone who were inside. By the time my mother went in, there was hardly place for her to sit, and she had to stand for the major part of her time from 9 am to 11:45 am , when her turn was announced.
After her interview formailities were completed successfully, she asked if she could suggest something. And she told them, that for a country, which excelled and was so cognizant of needs of senior citizens and disabled , it was surprising to see that the consulate provided no such facility in Mumbai for the same category of people, and that they needed to do something about it. While the lady official admitted the lapse, she said something was being planned etc etc.
So sometimes the same country has different standards for people outside their country who might just be thought of as less equal.
Today the situation is different, one no longer needs to sit on the footpath, and differently abled people are more comfortable.
But for our own selves, we need to go a long long way to provide acceptable facilties for the disabled and elderly.
So sorry I had forgotten to congratulate you on your 100th. post. CONGRATULATIONS !
Do look up my reply to your comment at my blog.
Best wishes 🙂
Congratulation on 100th post!! That's a true achievement!!
Nice learning from this post of yours!! Thanks for sharing!!
Interesting observations you've made in this post!
Your observation on Mandela's house was touching.
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Human basics are missing And who will implement ?
Leaders ? – I doubt.
congrats..an amazing feat and a return back home..totrally compliments each other.
*snort* Ok, I have to respond! "white people are genetically defective descendants of 'albino' mutants who had been forcibly expelled from Africa." I love it. I'll have to tell Mom that she is part of the defective descendants, her having albinism. Sometimes you have to laugh at the ignorance!
I'm not going to touch on the rape issues. THAT is just downright… HORRIBLE.
Thank you for sharing your observations. It's eye opening.
I liked your blog very much.I appreciate for your wonderful post.As I have become your follower so I will be visiting your blog hereafter.You are welcome in my blogs.
Sir! pleasure to have you back.Well written and thought provoking post is all that I can say.
Quite an interesting, witty and lucid presentation of facts and difference in value/cultural orientation… Amit Das