I’d like to sincerely thank the economically-and-culturally under-educated folks who created the misinformed yet derogatory ad shown below:
That ad was the last straw which finally motivated me to start this blog.
“Thank You, Culturally Myopic Yet Economically Under-Educated Attack Ad Makers!”
Erroneous Aspects Of The Ad (Video, above).
Error #1: “Bangalore Needs Many, Many Jobs” (per ad script, and Indian-looking man in the video)
Reality: Bangalore HAS many, many jobs; in fact, Bangalore, and other economically-booming areas of India, have so many jobs, they’re creating some in the United States as well, in a new trend called, appropriately enough “reverse outsourcing“. Yes, India is creating jobs in the United States. “Thank You, India!”
Bangalore is a city; Arkansas is a state, yet they have similar-sized economies (annual GDP in the usd $100 Billion range), with one key exception: Bangalore’s annual GDP is growing at a rate of roughly 10.3% annually, while Arkansas’ is … not (“slightly worse than neutral” is how one carefully-worded analysis put it).
Error #2: Related mailers that went out as part of the same ad campaign erroneously featured Devanagari script, the script used for Hindi, Sanskrit and other North Indian languages, along with mangled Hindi phrasing, thanking “Bill the Whip”.
Reality: The city of Bangalore is part of Karnataka state in South India; the native language in that region is Kannada, and it is written in a script called Kannada, as well.
Bangalore does have another major language which is spoken and written more than Kannada; this language is English. And so, if the good people of Bangalore did indeed wish to thank Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter for the jobs he brought to their region, while he was working for a technology company, they would likely do so in English … especially considering that Bangalore has a higher English literacy rate than Arkansas.
Error #3: Based on the actors and street scenes in the ad, Bangalore, India seems to be a bit of a third-world backwater.
Reality: Is it? Well, thanks to YouTube, we can see for ourselves.
So, what’s Bangalore actually like?
A bit like this ….. (i.e. at least as much as, say New York, Chicago or San Francisco are as they appear in a sports commercial, featuring actual street scenes from the given city) ….
(Wow .. what do you know; not a single stray dog in sight, or earshot (per the way Bangalore was depicted in the ad at the beginning of this post); no clearly impoverished and evidently unemployed Indian people either; strange …. those anti-Halter ad folks must know something that the good people of the city of Bangalore do not ….. or vice-versa).
Check out the Bangalore Royal Challengers Official Website; strange … not a Hindi word in sight … nor a word in Kannada for that matter (hint: notice the team name … Royal Challengers)……. India is the largest English-speaking nation in the world.
By the way: for the exceptionally detailed-oriented among us: Yes, the video above does have an opening graphic that says “Hindi” and much of the song sounds like it’s in Hindi [to my less-than-Indian-language-converse ears, anyway], though I do recognize a second language, which sounds a lot like … English.
Here’s the deal with that: Bangalore has over 8 Million people in its greater metro area, and is very much a regional hub, similar to, say Houston or Miami ["major Southern city"] in the United States. And so, like the Atlanta Falcons, or Miami Dolphins, the Bangalore Challengers have a regional and even national fan base, which extends to an area far greater than Bangalore itself, where an English-Kannada mix would have probably been “safe”, everybody-able-to-understand-wise.
And for those who may be interested in further facts and figures on Bangalore, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article on Bangalore, aka “the Silicon Valley of India“.
And now, since we’ve seen how certain Americans misperceive India, let’s take a look or two at how India perceives herself, these days:
Hm. Nice video (many people with authority over vast sums of money, who viewed the video at the Davos Economic Forum in 2006 thought so, too, and invested accordingly), but is this just a one time shot? Or is this type of “Indian view of India” something that those of us living outside of India may have just been kind of …. missing … for the last few years?
Wow. I don’t know about you, but until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined India as being remotely like this; nor Indian ads being like this … so inspiring … so well-produced …. so … in English.
But wait ….. isn’t there a dirty, smelly, crowded, noisy India? Are these newly inspired Indians just kind of ignoring reality? Not exactly. Not exactly at all.
And so, Anti-Bill-Halter, Anti-Economically-Educated, Anti-Culture-Respecting Attack Ad Makers …. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but not only is your ridiculous yet offensive ad laughable, it’s inaccurate as well. Indians aren’t concerned with thanking a single board member of a small technology company (aka Bill Halter) who outsourced a few jobs to Bangalore while working for a small technology company, when nearly 100% of the Fortune 1000 and the Global 3000 outsource to India as well, because India is the nation now creating the technology companies. They’re buying up entire industries.
Are they deluding themselves? Not exactly; India is now poised to be the fastest growing major economy in the world within the next four to five years.
And to end on a lighter note …. economics is not the only area where India is excelling.
Amazing what you can do when you’re not busy pretending the global economy isn’t.
And speaking of which (global economy), for those who may be thinking that this Indian success is some kind of a fluke, please allow me to point out that prior to some aggressive, although violent and greedy, North Atlantic Islanders (aka “the British”) deciding that India had really nice stuff, and that they would have it, by any means necessary … India controlled between one-third and one-fourth of the world’s wealth (i.e. a higher degree of economic power and control than any other nation … ever), and had done so for the preceding fifteen hundred years (i.e. for a far longer period of time than any other nation held economic power and predominance … ever).
(Source of the information in the paragraph above: Wikipedia Article – History of India )
And so, while I’m as aware of anyone that cries of “racism” can be cited in ways that are out of context and out of place, and often simply untrue, in this case (the specific portrayal of the city of Bangalore and its people), is directly derogatory toward Indian and Indian people, and portrays them in inaccurate ways. If that’s not literally racist, it’s close, and at the very least, it’s significantly xenophobic. On top of that, it’s disrespectful; of India and Indians, and of Bill Halter, as well.
I know next to nothing about Bill Halter, but accusing Halter of giving away jobs which would or could otherwise have gone to people in Arkansas who needed them is simply inaccurate. When the only “dirt” someone can reveal about a candidate is centered around something that’s essentially made up … that seems like a person who may be, at least, a relatively decent candidate … because, if they weren’t, detractors could focus on facts rather than accusations which have no basis in fact (and I don’t live within a thousand miles of Arkansas; I don’t even know anyone there, and so, have zero interest in whether Halter wins or loses, in the upcoming election).
Finally, economic protectionism indicates a woefully inadequate understanding of both (economics, and what actual “protecting” involves), and ads like the one featured at the beginning of this post ad to a sense of “Anti-Indian Backlash” among certain misinformed segments of the American population.
Reality: Our economy is global, and the globe, by definition is round … there is no other side.
There is no “them“; there is only “us“.
What would life be like if we all started to realize this?
It might be interesting to find out. I’d like to suggest that we do; we can always go back (quote-unquote) … but we won’t … because the resulting peace, prosperity, enjoyment of life in general, and inherent sense of rightness and fulfillment is just too strong (those of us who have experienced the shift from disharmony to harmony in any area of life know what I mean).
And, as with everything else in life, harmony is the underlying principle, here.
The way to get past unwarranted and fallacious attacks in politics; the way to get past viewing quality services at good prices (i.e. those provided by Indian BPO firms) as a problem for anyone; the way to stop disrespecting those we perceive as “other” (whoever they may be), is to stop reacting, and to start creating.
By solely reacting we effectively erase everything that makes us human; paramecium react every bit as effectively, and as consciously as humans do.
By creating, we uplift all involved in any given situation.
So, Arkansas has almost 65,000 people unemployed? Bill Halter is the Lt. Governor? Bill Halter knows people at Webmethods, where he was on the board of directors? Webmethods has an office in booming Bangalore?
Just a thought …. but maybe …. just maybe ….. working together with people and companies in both Arkansas and Bangalore, some joint ventures could be created, which could create a great deal of economic prosperity for people in both places, and presumably others (whoever buys the products or services created by the joint ventures).
From Reacting to Creating; heck, there aren’t even any new letters to involve … there’s just moving the (willingness to) “C” to the beginning; one tiny shift …. whole new paradigm.
Here’s hoping and intending others are willing to understand this, and act upon this. Are you? Please leave a comment, and let me (and everyone else reading) know.