April 09, 2005

Speech Therapy

The Telegraph, 09.04.2005

André Béteille points to certain obvious points, without qualifying them. There is no doubt that Indians are poor listeners. This habit in part stems from an ostrich mentality — that is to be in a perpetual denial mode so that one’s fallacies are not pointed out. There is also the not-so-well-concealed arrogance. Most Indians claim to be patriots, and their love for the country is displayed by criticizing and ridiculing foreigners. Not once is the criticism directed at oneself. But if we do not keep our eyes and ears open to learn from the mistakes of others and improve upon the successes of others while acknowledging our own drawbacks, how do we progress? Perhaps we need to recall what Mahatma Gandhi said, “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible.”

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