Diplomatic Status For MPs

Actually, till one (or more) of our honourable members of parliament (MPs) were found running immigration rackets, I did not even know that they carried diplomatic passports.

I reckoned they could breeze through security, customs and what have you (with and without guns depending on the time and ocassion) and generally make everyone's life miserable. No, I don't mean all of them are like that. Obviously there are some very good eggs.

But good or bad, why diplomatic passports ? Specifically, this is how I am affected. I know MPs do not have to get a emigration check not required (ECNR) stamp on their passports. I know I have been running around for some three years to get it done. The lack of which makes me run around even more when I have to visit countries like China, Korea or Dubai. And guess what, a trafficker of humans can sail through where I can't. I am asked for every damn certificate since I was born and nothing seems to work, at least till now.

Tax Paying Citizen !

I point out that I am a tax paying citizen - please check my PAN (Tax Dept) number - but no, we are the ministry of external affairs and that is the ministry of finance. So we don't talk to each other. So because we will not talk to each other, it is your problem to figure out how to prove to us that you pay taxes, have passed a miserable exam and generally, are not a threat to some other country. But are'nt you the same government ? "We don't know." This by the way is not an imaginary exchange but an exasperating encounter with a real, senior official in the MoE.

I must credit our honourable MPs (those discovered so far) with some intelligence. In the scale of value addition, human trafficking must be the most lucrative and rank, in my estimation, above drugs, gold and currency. Maybe the only thing more lucrative would be gun-running. But there are physical constraints to the smooth practice of this activity, as you might imagine.

On The Shilpa Shetty Episode

How quick we are to jump to our countrymen's defense. Particularly when it involves something emotive, argumentative and is addressed with a volley of hurriedly issued statements. And then the matter dies down, the soap opera (quite literally) ends and life goes on.

What did you do dear Minister in your tenure ? Well, my biggest achievement was that I protested the indignation a paid and willing sufferer in a circus had unfortunately to undergo. From whom I ask ? Well, from another performing monkey, but this time from the wild. Well, what do you expect when two different breeds of performing monkeys meet, I ask ? And lets put nationality aside for a moment.

Am I condoning racism ? Obviously not. Am I wondering whether every act of speech anywhere in the world demands immediate response. Yes, I am. Because, I would argue that there are lots of things around that revolt me which you, dear Minister, do nothing about. None of them involve performing artistes in circuses.

But they do involve things, little and big, that I see around me everyday which get me so angry that I wish I could lodge daily protests and get the kind of public attention a television episode can. Obviously, I won't and it can't. I presume you know what I won't or can't. And yet, I must protest because that's the least I can do.

PS: Yes, I have been away for a while. The Shetty rant written when the matter was hot. Obviously, star weddings are what's keeping the nation, or at least the nation's media, busy today. More on that later. I've been travelling a fair bit, including out of the country. I have so much to say that I don't know where to start, nice excuse hah ?


Shantanu said…
Good to see you back again!
Roy said…
cool post!!
Anonymous said…
Good to see you back. I moved to the US a month back after being unable to take Bangalore as it sank in it's muck.

Well, the US is a much more organized place, people are more prosperous but the media is clueless here as well. Most news stories are just raked up for emotion sake. Like the just concluded Imus issue. There's drama everywhere - some are based on political correctness as in the US and some others, as in India, on 'the world is trying to screw our culture' idiocy.
Anonymous said…
Shame on you PS. You ditched our nation. You have been educated at our expense, and now you leave and contribute to foriegn economy. You NRIs ar ethe biggest parasites. You want help from India-jsut see how the British doctors behaved. Yet you will never have any loyalty to this nation. You are much worse than any MP
Anonymous said…
The above poster is correct - NRIs are the pits.
ankurindia said…
is not india getting worse day by day
Arun Cavale said…
welcome back.
Consumer said…
PS, as you can see, you can leave India, but India won;t leave you;)
Anonymous said…
What’s wrong with being an NRI – you have one life and an entire world to choose from? Why on earth would you chose to live in a pot hole ridden country where they can’t even get the roads right!!

If you have a choice, what’s wrong in choosing a life where you and your family get to enjoy what in India we term as luxury as the basics- if I can have a nice bungalow with a garden in a nice clean neighbourhood rather than a tiny flat if am lucky minus mosquitoes, and a rent that does not wipe more than half my earnings, why not? Why should you expect patriotism to rule over basic human needs – if I have a chance to give my kid’s a good education and save them from the trauma of school admissions minus interviews, roads where school buses have the first right of way etc. why not?

Honestly, half the people who curse the NRI’s are the one’s who wish they were given a chance at a better life! We have one life and there is nothing wrong in seeking opportunities in the place you believe gives you the best you can afford - that does not make you less patriotic, it makes you human. You care about yourself, your family and you want the best for them. If you think the best is bad roads, poor or no water supply, electricity which is luxury, poor public transport then its for you to take that…. Am sure given a choice, everyone will think first for themselves and their family and there is nothing wrong with that.

It’s the moral responsibility of the government to get the basics right and give citizens their due – 60 years into independence and we can’t get the roads right even in our financial capital.

The problem we have here is that in the name of patriotism and this silly sense of how great India is we don’t demand what’s rightfully ours – we let stupid administration make every day life worse than it ever was. Maybe the patriotic feelings should be channelised more to demanding where is the money we pay taxes for going – I refuse to think the current civic amenities are worth the money am paying!

In conclusion, nothing wrong with NRI’s – they got a chance to give their families a better life, they chose to do so – just because we cannot immigrate for a better life, does not make us more patriotic. If your son got a chance to study in Harvard who you tell him in lieu of patriotism to let go of the chance or even if you let him go ahead and he got a job in the US would you insist that as a true Indian he needs to come back? Chances are when it’s you and your family, your views or feelings of patriotism will be slightly different.

Love for the country is when we don’t sit like silent spectators while the government continues to misuse funds and not give its citizens its basic fundamental rights -

Dream Catcher
Anand Gadiyar said…
Good to see you back... But hey, your excuse us pretty lame. I'm sure you have a notebook and wireless net at any major hotel you stay in on your travels abroad. :)
Anonymous said…
Well put Dream Catcher.

I didn't want to reply to those two comments. I have heard this whole patriotic argument many times from many people with questionable abilities at thinking rationally.

An American colleague I met today was talking about her visit to India. She said that some of her worst experiences were at Indian airports which she said were smelly and disorganized. She said the bus that took her to the plane from the terminal got into a traffic jam. Imagine that! We have traffic jams on the tarmac!

What's the use of India's economic ascendancy if we are not using it to better our cities, towns and villages? What's the use of patriotism when you have to wade past garbage overflows, pot-holed roads, dogs and cattle on the streets, horrible pollution levels, relentless power cuts every summer, corrupt government officials and cops, etc. Patriotism doesn't eradicate unemployment or feed India's poor.

In fact I don't think this is patriotism, it's chauvinism. It's jingoism.
Anonymous said…
Dream Catcher,
If you think that person should only think of HIMSELF and his family, you are incredibly selfish. Waht about the thousands who toil for India daily? Will you tell the jawan in Siachen, shivering in the cold that it is your right to better your own life without thinking of hat your countrymen? What will you tell 3 honest IPS officers, who going govt. service despite being well able to earn far more in the private sector, killed a dreaded extortionist, and are rewarded with criminal cases against themselves and villification? What will you tell chairmen and senior officers of many central PSUs who earn peanuts, despite heading some of the best performing companies on the BSE Sensex (compare the BSE PSU Index to the BSE Sensex)? All these people have SACRIFICED to serve all other Indians, including ungrateful people. Be inspired by them and follow their example.
Look at the Infosys founders.At a time when a phone was unavailable in India, they laid the foundations of a global company. In the beginning, they had to sacrifice greatly. Now of couse, they are richly rewarded, but look at the benefits they brought our nation.
Not all NRIs are bad. Many contribute to various charitable causes in India. Hats off to them. My only crib is with NRIs who take advantage of all facilities in India, but then give NOTHING back in return.
Also remember, if USA is great today, it is because their forefathers SACRIFICED and worked hard to make it that way. The current crop of recent immigrants has contirbuted nothing much to making it great.
If you are an Indian, make India great, not foriegn nations
S Mokashi said…
It took me a day to get the ECNR stamped on my passport and when I renewed it it came stamped. I don't know any politico or any officer at the passport office.
Anonymous said…
Shame on NRIs
Anonymous said…
As you pass the immigration in a country as Malaysia, the punishment for illegal trafficking is simple- Capital !
"Death is the penalty for drugs or lethal weapons' trafficking"- not the exact words, but that's the message!
You'll hear the message being announced in the aircraft in the same voice modulation as the weather condition, safety instructions and even in-flight shopping information. As easy as that!!

(A response to your year old post!)
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