Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blind Spots and Khobragade

Thanks to a lady named Sangeeta Richard, its a lot easier now to drive around in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Gone are the ugly concrete barricades painted in blue-red. Private security guards have been hemmed in; an encroached avenue has been restored to the public.

USA needs to be thanked for reminding us that we too have rule books. And for telling us on our face that they care two hoots for India's laws and regulations.

One thing that amazes me about this controversy is  the blind-spots that figure in arguments put forth by those who stand on both side of the divide. In almost each and every article I have read in the Western press, there is no mention of the fact that the maid's family was sneaked out India by the US embassy officials, two days before the 'arrest' and cavity searches (for what? unpaid dollars??). Not one mentions the fact that the employer-maid dispute was already sub judice in an Indian court.

On the other hand, in India, most of our commentators seem to be closed to the possibility of the maid having a genuine grievance with her employer. To them, she is just another opportunist fishing for a US green-card. And lets not even start on Preet Bharara, that despicable quisling desi trying to lick up to the goras.

If Devyani Khobragade falsified her documents, there is no doubt that she should be punished for it. What rankles Indians is the fact the the US State Department was sneaky about the whole thing. Instead of keeping their counterparts in the loop and easing her out of US, steps were taken to deliberately embarrass India.

As Mukul Keshavan pointed out, it is silly of US to talk of law enforcement and justice after the Raymond Davis episode. Ultimately, everything seems to come down to the motto,  ‘Don’t do as I do, do as I say’. Preach from a high horse when an application form is fudged, but when it comes to murder, damn the laws and regulations of other countries!

The Khobragade episode has served as an enema for all those who had rosy notions about India's diplomatic services and India-US relationship. Now that all the crap is out of the way, we can get down to real business in the true Spirit of Reciprocity.

You respect my laws, and I'll respect yours.



Kishore Mahbubani, Indian Express, 13Jan14 --

Shashank Joshi, The Interpreter, 13Jan14 -

Ellen Barry, NYT, 10Jan14 --

Mukul Kesavan, The Telegraph, 9Jan14 --

Sandeep Roy, FirstPost --

Life in Privelege -

Entreprenur's 'Letter to an Indian nanny in New York'

Former diplomat Prabhu Dayal's oped

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