外文标题：Indian Flag, Indian Apathy And Me
I have left Gaogang and have started homewards. We are in a hotel at Shanghai and will take a flight back for Delhi on 10th February. My wife commented that once again, we will go back to unclean environments, flies, cockroaches and filth. I add to this that we will go back to chaos, shortages, dharnas, rhetorics, power cuts, empty promises, quotas, reservations, corruption and lackadaisicalness. Once again we will go to that slow pace of life where getting two jobs done in a single day can be likened to a miracle. Once again we will go back to our country where nothing changes, where nothing is likely to change except percentage for quota.
When we were living at Gaogang, my wife would go to Taizhou almost daily. Before her coming to China she had told me to look for an apartment in a colony close to the road going to Taizhou because last year we were living in a colony which was a little distant from this road and she had to walk to the bus stop. Taizhou is connected to Gaogang by bus service and what an excellent bus service it is! I have never seen a better bus service in sixty years of my life. There is a bus almost every 2-3 minutes. There is a sprawling China Medical City half way between Gaogang and Taizhou. A huge, planned, brand new medical city has come up in the last two years. In the last one year or so, quite some of it has been inhabited.
There is always some medical convention or fair underway here. So at the entrance to the town flags of almost all the countries are hoisted on the poles.
Last month once while passing that city, she noticed that Indian flag was hoisted upside down ( Green on top). She is a daughter of an army officer. Nationalism or whatever infinitesimal fraction of it can be there in a loyal Indian who has seen so many other countries progress by leaps and bounds and has seen their people far more energetic, respectful, sincere and loyal is more in her than in me. Prompted by the feeling of nationalism she told me that our flag is hoisted upside down at China Medical City and we must do something to get it set right.
Since I was very busy last month, I told her that I will try to do something soon as I could. Last week after finishing my contract when we went to Taizhou together she showed me the flag which was still hoisted upside down. Since now I had free time, I couldn’t find an excuse to combat my wife’s persuasion and I decided to write to the Indian Embassy in China about it and I clicked on the website. I was pleased to find “ Contact Us” tab on the home page. I clicked on the tab but it didn’t open any text editor for writing an e-mail, it just gave the information about the address and phone numbers of the embassy which now I have a reason to believe may not be correct.
I wrote the following mail to this e-mail address (the only e-mail address I could find there) email@example.com.
This is to bring to your notice that Indian flag hoisted among many flags at China Medical City (which is on way to Taizhou in Jiangsu province as we drive from Gaogang to Taizhou) is hoisted upside down. Please take necessary action and ask the concerned people to set it right.
Navneet Kumar Bakshi
Navneet Kumar Bakshi
Though it was quite foolish of me to expect “cultural section to entertain my mail but I didn’t know how to reach the right person and who that will be. I wasn’t expecting any action though but still I didn’t expect that my mail would get bounced and will be returned by gmail as a “mailer-daemon”.
I clicked around to look for some responsible guy’s e-mail address but was sorry to find none. I was peeved to find Ambassador’s bio-data at a page and wondered if it was a matrimonial site?
I was very upset at the apathy of an Indian High Office that represents the attitude of the nation. I tried to resend the mail to the designer of the site the ‘web-master’ at the following address. firstname.lastname@example.org. Though I had a mind to give him a piece of my mind but I refrained from it and I just copied and pasted the text sent earlier. I was shocked to find that my mail to the web-master also bounced and was returned with a “mailer-daemon” message.
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain indianembassy.org.cn by mail.indianembassy.org.cn. [18.104.22.168].
The error that the other server returned was:
550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable or not local
Can anything be more depressing for a fellow Indian who takes pride in being an Indian?
I gave up….and surprise out of surprises, when we went to Taizhou again after a few days, the Indian flag at CMC was upright. Maybe someone saw the mistake, maybe the Chinese surveillance reads every mail that I write. Even if it has been set right after reading my mail to Indian Embassy which can’t be accessed and even if all my e-mails are read, I salute the Chinese surveillance.
Everywhere I go, I see hundreds of video cameras and I am sure all of them are working but I breathe freely as does my wife and the girls who travel around fearlessly in the buses without being raped as do the girls in micro- minis doing whatever they want to do without some clergies issuing Fatwas against them.
Before I end this post let me relate another incident which may give Dr. S. Jaishankar, the Indian Ambassador a reason to rejoice over the fact that Indian Embassy is not the only one that is unreachable, there are other non-governmental institutions as well..well if we think Air India is not a government organization.
The issue here is not of the government or non-government organizations, the issue is of general Indian attitude called apathy. When you approach a counter anywhere in India or the one manned or (wo)manned by an Indian anywhere in the world, the person in the chair thinks that he/she is doing you a favour. There is no smile, no curtsy, just a plethora of objections and not an iota of help or assistance- and all that only if you find him or her sitting in the chair at all.
After the travel agent who had booked my wife’s ticket told me that her ticket will have to be extended from Shanghai, I looked for Air India- Shanghai office contact numbers and asked my Chinese colleague to contact them, expecting to encounter gibberish on the other end. He tried and he tried and then gave up because there was no response from the other side. My wife who had gone to Shanghai to see her mother off was in no mood to hear the bad news and in any case she couldn’t be expected to invest some of her precious time at Shanghai for going to Air India office for extension of her ticket but she went and found their office closed. The only option left with me was to ask her to go the airport for getting her ticket re-scheduled. I didn’t try that option and instead chose an alternative of renewing a ticket at much escalated price..when I meet the people abroad I tell them that I am proud of my country- I am a very big liar.
Navneetji, apathy of Indians is deplorable. The medical city is good info to know. Thanks.
Thanks Prasad Ji- Though we are quite inured to this Indian Chalta Hai attitude but sometimes it hurts.
当媒体质问政府官员为什么腐败现象如此严重，得到的回答八成是“chalta hai”。当朋友之间问，为什么不守时，得到的回复通常是“chalta hai”。当上级责问下属，工作怎么搞成这样，得到的答案也往往是“chalta hai”】
I saw the new photo of the flags. They seem OK to me!
Suresh Jee- Your tongue in cheek comment says so much about our blase’ attitude ” Chalta Hai” that I can’t add anything more to it. “Chalta hai” is I think jis se hamara desh chalta hai 🙂
The flag was OK when I saw it last time. May be they turn it around every day. I didn’t know that Webmaster mails are not directed to anyone. As far Indian government offices are concerned I think all mails always go to the “WebMaster” 🙂
Navneet rape is the byproduct of liberalisation and globalization. At least ithe rise in such incidents is. China is not cursed with bourgeois democracy and is not concerned with human rights when handing out punishments. There is no bullshuit about “rarest of the rare”.That’s why Chinese girls travel fearlessly (I believe the punishment for rape in China is death and even some cases of corruption attract capital punishment).. But our system has only produced callousness, indifference, corruption, broken promises and a collapsed law and order situation.
Yes you are right Balaji, the punishment for rape is death as is for corruption in high places and the justice is delivered quickly. There is no dithering and no dilly-dallying. China doesn’t care about the world opinion or the human rights or the organizations and commissions whatever they think or say.
Sailor Uncle, again comes a very detailed and realistic blog from you. What should i say? I think people like me have become ostrich because there is nothing else we can do. Becoming more observant and energetic will only lead to more frustration and stress. So jesa chal raha he chalne do.
What to do Ashu. Blogs are all that we can right but we can’t set the things and the people right. Ham nahin sudhareinge…
Finally happy to find our flag flying right and high….Yeah we too had similar problems like you,my daughter booked in AIRINDIA from singapore to chennai and back.Due to the strike she had to come by another flight and they authorities said they will give back the money and know what two years now and they did not when asked here they said the tickets were booked in Singapore ,so she went there they said only online,when she mailed they said come in person and she gave up..as for the telephone numbers I feel they give some random numbers just to decorate the site and live undisturbed…
Hello Mangala- I don’t know why we are so. Everywhere else in the world, you are served with a smile. The staff is so courteous and helpful but in India they are unwilling to help and rude and crude. You find long queues and the person missing from the chair or talking on phone for hours. It’s so frustrating at times. Why can’t things change in India, I fail to understand.
Thanks for your blog highlighting the lapse of China in honoring our nation’s flag.
The efforts put in by you to salvage it ,merit commendation.
It is a sad commentary on the working of Indian Embassy in China.
We are ashamed to know that your efforts to reach the Embassy became futile.
In my opinion you must inform the Ministry about your sad experience .
The ills of the country are bound to be removed by patriotic Indians like you.
Let us work towards that goal.
Dear Swarajya Ji- I am not sure if I write to MEA anything will come of it or whether anyone there will read the e-mail or not. Believe me that if our ministries were alert or interested or if our media watch dogs were as alert as they are in China they would have taken note of my blog and done the needful. What hurt me most was that on the embassy’s website there is not an e-mail address that can be used for writing to them. So obviously they don’t want people to write to them or they expect that those who need to have anything to do with them should visit their office. Well that’s all the difference in attitude..all the difference the change in attitude can make- but will the attitude ever change in India. Last time when I was in India, Chandigarh Administration had started some voluntary declaration of Load ( Electricity). The form could be downloaded but there was no way of submitting it online. That means one can at best print it at home and then stand in the queue for submitting it. I wrote about this to Chief Engineer of the board but obviously there was no reply. Does the Chief Engineer of an Electricity Board care about an e-mail from me. Nah! He won’t.
I think too much of democracy is ruining India.A few years of DIctatorship will do some good
Yes Sanjay you said it. Thoda Danda to zaroori hai 🙂 As far as congress is concerned they are working under dictatorship anyway.
I fully agree with you that the people who are supposed to give service are totally indifferent towards clients.
Whenever I want to lodge a complaint to BSNL, or get some information from railways , coded message comes asking us to press 1, 2, 3 etc. In case of BSNL it goes upto 9.
After satisfying their requirements the call is passed on to the attendant , but the music goes on for a long time. No body attends the call.You really get desperate.
In my opinion these are the ways they escape giving service to avoid botheration.
Invariably more cash is being deducted by BSNL making you run to their Customer Service Department.
Banks are no better.
Customers are always taken for a ride.
Everything so well said,Navneetji.I had been to India in Nov Dec 2012.Some change is there in Banks and other institutions,but so much more needs to be done.That so much more will not be done?
Sir, I’m very sorry the flag that thing, this thing is just that communication between us is not enough.
Each country has the good man, also have the selfish people, China is the same.
Do you think the right things, do something meaningful in their country.
Yes I understand Yangwei and I am sure it was a mistake and someone had not done intentionally but I have tried to bring forth the apathy of foreign offices of the governments in foreign lands where people can reach for help. There should be a contact number or an e-mail address.