Yes, there is!

US president Barack Obama. Photo courtesy:
Speaking to top Indian businessmen in Mumbai yesterday, visiting US president Barack Obama commented on the potential for increased trade with India, using these words:
"Our trade with India is still less than our trade with the Netherlands. I have no doubt we can do much better -- there is no reason why this nation can't be one of our top trading partners."
It all looks sufficiently motivating in a boardroom, but fact is, there is a reason why this nation can't be one of the top trading partners of the US. Read on to know what that reason is.

First of all, over and above a comparison of numbers, there is a qualitative difference between US trade with the Netherlands, and US trade with India: the Netherlands sells mind and India sells matter. And that is so, because the Netherlands has no matter to sell and India has no mind to sell.

Just to clarify, by mind I mean knowledge, and by matter I mean natural resources. By knowledge, I don't mean the knowledge of the Infinite Being, which is what India has indulged itself in from time immemorial. I simply mean that knowledge which helps one lead a better material life, a hedonistic life, if you will.

So, when Barack Obama gives a call for increasing trade with India, that can only be fulfilled today by selling more and more of our natural resources to the US. Why? Simply because India is shamefully short of any knowledge capital. We don't have a working education system, simply because we ignore the languages which Indians speak. There is not a single university in India today, which offers any materially significant university education in any Indian language.

Whenever a relatively knowledgeable nation trades with a relatively ignorant nation, the latter ends up buying trinkets which amuse the senses for a relatively short period of time, and pays the former with precious natural resources. Thus, it is inevitable in such a trade for hard material - such as minerals, metals, oil, etc to be moved away from the ignorant nation to the knowledgeable nation.

When such trade progresses, the ignorant nation increasingly depletes itself of precious natural resources, and those ignorant people who depend solely on such resources are choked to death. Some are displaced by dams, some sell their lands to malls, some sell their lands to airports, and some take to guns and get beautiful and charismatic women to advocate their cause in front of absent juries.

There is one argument against all this, which never stops boring me. And that is, that I'm ignoring the great tide of the Rising and Shining India with its burgeoning cash-rich English-educated middle-class. I don't deny that such a class exists, or that that class can actually trade enough mind to surpass the Netherlands in its exports to the US.

But, is that class all of India? What about the other billion Indians who don't speak English? Should India increase its trade with the US when the only thing those Indians can sell is natural resources, which can be equated to their lives themselves? The answer is clearly a no. No, we must wait until those other billion Indians also obtain some knowledge which they can sell.

And that can never happen as long as we neglect the languages of India in our education system. It is high time we take our languages seriously and reform the education system of each linguistic State.

Thus, there is most certainly a reason why India cannot be one of the top trading nations for the US right away: the reason that we need to uphold ethics. The reason that we need to safeguard the lives of a billion people and not sell their sole means of life - i.e., natural resources. It makes no difference that it can be made to seem as if those billion people are ready to sell their lives voluntarily. Voluntariness in a market transaction, after all, does not guarantee that ethics is upheld.

And, as far as I know, I think we should uphold ethics.


Anonymous said...

Language has no relevance with foriegn trade.Stop complaining about the system and start becoming the agent of change. Action speaks better than words.

- Tamilan.

Kiran Rao Batni said...


Please explain why you think language has no relevance. I've explained why it does have relevance, so it's fair that you explain your stand.

Don't come to the conclusion that all I do is complain about 'the system'. I am working in my own way to make positive transformations, both with and without Banavasi Balaga. But yes, not many think those are positive, though!

And yes, I do complain a lot, because there are things to complain about. Also, I have to complain for many who don't realize the problems with 'the system'. It is both my right and my duty to say what I believe is right.

If I had lots of things to be happy about (when it comes to Kannadigas in particular and all humanity in general), I'd be writing songs of love and beauty, setting them to music and uploading mp3's or music videos.

Janaki said...

I appreciate you whole-heartedly for stating the need for providing high quality education in Indian Languages and also for highlighting the need to stop planning export of India's Natural resources to US under the name of 'Trade'.

You are a real social thinker. Today people carry on their day to day chores mechanically and are just functioning like a Robot. We hardly could see people who use their 6th sense. This absence of 6th sense in people just remind me of a MGR Song - "Aaru arrivil ore arivu OUTu. Meedhi Indu arivum irukumuna adunvun kooda doubtu". It means that "Out of six senses, one sense is gone and whether the remaining 5 senses will prevail or not is a doubt"


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