Does America mimic India?

Does America mimic India?
Highlights

Does America mimic India?, India shields Devayani. The victims in the incidents hail from educated Dalit groups of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh respectively.

There are cases of indiscipline and corruption charges against a few diplomats including career ambassadors who were suspended/ dismissed from service

The Hans India daily has published two episodes, one on the front page and the other prominently on the fifth page of December 19. Both are interrelated. The former is on “India shields Devayani” and the latter relates to “Dalit raped as her son marries upper caste girl”.

The victims in the incidents hail from educated Dalit groups of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh respectively. This reflects the contemporary social reality which most of our intellectuals and experts refuse to recognise. It is also a warning signal to the exuberant Dalit capitalists that money and power do not get them a visa into mainstream and might ultimately make them to prostrate before racial and caste hierarchies. Interestingly, the US officers who are associated with Devayani arrest, Preetinder Bharara , Nisha Biswal and others being Indian born upper caste American citizens, questioned on the social media as prejudiced. Strangely, the socialite and progressive commentators of a particular group pampered by media in Delhi have voiced deleterious views, saying that it is competitive politics that made the issue trivial. Is it true?

The Devayani case has become so popular today that everyone knows her as Deputy Consular General of India in New York was handcuffed, strip-searched and placed in a cell (ignoring Vienna convention) of the court house on December 12 on charges of underpayment of wages to her maid. Her father in India, a retired civil servant shattered after the news of her daughter subjected to cavity search, perhaps reminiscent about the Khairlanji incident in his state where the Bothmange women were given similar treatment and killed in 2006. Since it has happened in the USA, the most civilised country of the World, the naughty boy being Uncle Sam, the treatment is perhaps little sophisticated. But the episode is evocative of America mimicking India in social norms while India is copying their economic structure. This way both the nations are benefitted helping about 30 lakh Indians settling down with nearly 30 Indian-American officers in US administration, exchange of agents etc. I had a mistaken impression that America was only an extension of Europe without the Atlantic sea, is now seen accommodating nations that are geographically far off but similar in taste and mindset. Thanks to economic Globalisation, this is a great boon to India and a windfall to USA.

We do not know why the Ministry of External Affairs and the political establishment reacted leisurely one week after the incident. It is increasingly believed now that Diplomats and other staff postings have become political appointments and the poor bureaucrats in the MEA are helpless. In fact, the ministry is still following archaic structures with little support from the IAS-dominated bureaucracy (some allege) with modest cadre of IFSs.It is contended by some of the officers that the missions abroad do work under great economic strain,shortage of staff and insufficient allowances. There are cases of indiscipline and corruption charges against a few diplomats including career ambassadors who were suspended/ dismissed from service. We know very little about the kind of politics and diplomatic games played by some of the seasoned and influential personnel of our missions abroad with political links to occupy important positions in government.

Experts of international relations feel that there is a need to review the edifice of the Ministry in view of the shift in the functions of the missions, overburdened with more economic and business issues and less of customary roles. Naturally, there is a possibility of disharmony of interests leading to acrimonious incidents. Devyani case is not the first incident in the USA, her predecessor Prabhu Dayal from whom she took charge was subjected to similar charges in 2011 and Neena Malhotra in 2012. It is contended that none of them was given the kind of treatment that this elite dalit girl was subjected to.

There are fascinating interpretations about the incident in our media including denunciations and aspersions on Devayani mentioning about her social background and the treatment given to Sangeeta Richards. But, the fact of the matter is the US government particularly the Indian born American Attorney Bharara who is reported to have claimed that “America’s Law is law for the rest of the World” did not use it against the Russian diplomats for medical insurance fraud. The social media is flooded with cases of similar nature that were disregarded in the past. An interaction with some Hispanics in Tampa (Florida) recently helped us to know how the US economy survives particularly in the semi-skilled jobs, with millions of underpaid undocumented residents. Of course, the Law enforcement agencies in the US impress that they are very strict and rely heavily on the trained attorneys in the market. It is here we got a hitch how the Richards seem to have approached private attorneys in the US to get out of the hands of Devayani on the way to acquire the Green card. This is one of the routes many non-residents use to change their status from illegal to legal category, making in the process the naïve personnel of the foreign missions victims of greed. Or, it could be, as Devyani’s father claims that the Richards being adept employees of the American mission in Delhi bowed as CIA agents. The way the Richards were evacuated from Delhi by the American embassy just before the arrest of Devyani is anybody’s conjecture.

The incident, as some commentators claim, is an indication of the end of an era of Bush-Manmohan Singh friendship in our relations with USA. But Manmohan Singh was immediate in his reaction saying it is “deplorable”. We may go beyond this and see the implausible hidden message. The globalisation project jointly operated with Indo-US and some other countries has stimulated every sundry person,particularly from Asia to enter USA, steal their jobs and get the advantage of differential pay/wage. Devyani episode may be a case to send a strong message that no one particularly the diplomatic community in New York could take liberty with US Laws and play with their domestic helps. That is alright, but why a Dalit Diplomat who married an American citizen with two children is subjected to this treatment? After all what is globalisation without free movement of labour? Is it to facilitate free flow of Finance capital?

We can see a veiled strategy facilitating the fusion of races/castes that subscribe to self-interest, inequality and discrimination under globalisation passed off as values of efficiency. The irony is that how the minority of settlers/outsiders, as in India, enforce such measures on the natives?Are they justified in picking Indians with different social backgrounds (in Devyani case) as their experimental group?

chalamks@hotmail.com

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