Don’t Compare Us

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This is officially the most ambiguous bigoted statement that you will ever hear or make if you are an Indian or a Chinese; ambiguous for a whole lot of reasons. Let us try to figure them out. Firstly, let us be clear on one thing – India cannot be compared with China because we cannot pull off an Olympics like the one Beijing has; at least not in next 25 years. However, if we do (hypothetical reasoning), it will take another 25 years for us to be medal contenders in it (Objective reasoning).

Well I can rub it in all I want but the short point is that August 8, 2008 witnessed the greatest event Man kind has ever seen. Period. It was an unprecedented celebration of humanity, courtesy China. To put it differently, China is a superpower now. In less than an hour, China left all its so-called developing partners behind and leapt into the crème de la crème of the First World. China proved that she is a nation worthy of the vetoes, the G8s and the security councils of the world. Ever since they got the bid in 2001, they have worked ceaselessly (creating mega structures like the bird’s nest and water cube in the process) to show to the world that they are finally ready to embrace and put forward a new China. Not to mention that they had to do it against the backdrop of their cold, communist, iron-handed image, therefore their having done is is indeed a remarkable achievement. It is not the sleeping old man of the world anymore; it is the awoken vociferous dragon. India, even in its wildest dreams, cannot think of competing with China as a contemporary or an adversary now (besides border disputes that is). Bitter as it may sound, the truth is that the Chinese have over taken us and so India and China are not comparable.

But I did mention in the beginning that this was the most ambiguous bigoted statement I could ever make. Therefore, I will happily turncoat now and explain as to why we cannot be compared with the Chinese. Firstly, we Indians, free-thinking and compassionate as we are, will never do such an outrageous thing as to replace a beautiful young girl with a wonderful voice from singing her own song because she had crooked teeth! We do not masquerade one thing with the other. We are not capitalist out of choice and communist by heart. We are not free thinking just for three weeks – we are free thinking for life. We are the democracy that everyone wants to be. We do not deal with our separatists as China does. Kashmir and Tibet are not comparable. Our political dissidents are still welcome in the country; they don’t have to flee for their life. We do not crush free speech. We do not pursue confrontational politics on the territorial disputes. For us, force has always been the last resort rather than the first. We are a thinking nation (albeit bizarre) built on individuals not a work-station built on manpower.

Both nations have a lot to learn from each other; India a lot more. China has shown the way to all developing nations as to how to shun inhibitions and history and make a place for oneself in the comity of prosperous nations. India will do well to follow suit.

Prateek Kapil

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