Rs.1 lakh car, Racism and Thomas L Friedman

With all due respect and after P sainath if ever there is somebody I feel like imitating (frnkly I swear) it is Thomas L friedman but one thing I hate about this man is (apart from envy for his riches) his typical orientalistic attitude of wearing the glasses of his racial bias.

Now I know I am getting closer to being racial myself but not necessarily dont u think? I am concerned of the intentions behind the piece atleast the last two paragraphs.

Look at this piece

In a New York Times op-ed he argues that

“If it (India) applied itself to green mass transit solutions for countries with exploding middle classes, it would be a gift for itself and the world. To do that it must leapfrog . . . It will also be an India that gives us cheap answers to big problems — rather than cheap copies of our worst habits.”

See this criticism by the rediff columnist Mrituinjoy Mohanty

It is not very clear what Friedman means by leapfrog. Does he mean not use cars as a form of mobility? Or does he mean tax the Rs 1-lakh car “like crazy” so that the market does not grow until a mass transit system is in place? One thing, however, is quite clear: he does believe that the Rs 1-lakh car is a cheap copy of some American car (or idea).

Read the original article from NYT

Why should you care what they’re driving in Delhi? Here’s why: The cost of your cellphone is a lot cheaper today because India took that little Western invention and innovated around it so it is now affordable to Indians who make only $2 a day. India has become a giant platform for inventing cheap scale solutions to big problems. If it applied itself to green mass transit solutions for countries with exploding middle classes, it would be a gift for itself and the world.

To do that it must leapfrog. If India just innovates in cheap cars alone, its future will be gridlocked and polluted. But an India that makes itself the leader in both cheap cars and clean mass mobility is an India that will be healthier and wealthier. It will also be an India that gives us cheap answers to big problems — rather than cheap copies of our worst habits.

I am not personally against the environmentalists or their fight but when somebody calls it that a certain country can innovate or will make a copy cat its is an insult on the people and their abilities. Mr Friedman better knows what he is talking or all we can do is pray for some wisdom to dawn on him. While he makes important and valid suggestions on developing a mass transport system and reducing pollution the only hurt that he and his likes affect on us is his views that imply though not in black and white. It is not the first time they have done it with Tetley, arcelor, corus and whenever there has been the so called Developing world looming large they tried to play the Racist card.

Also see the cricket controversies whenever there is a violation on the part of the so called white skin (sorry to say, I know I am being racist but thats how it can be put simply) its being undermined and if somebody from the subcontinent does a minute of the mistake (like for example Harbhajan of course he says he said nothing offending) it is magnified and suddenly the ethics of the game and the code of conduct is dawned upon by the ICC.

The Indra’s Drishtikon is another interesting read

Much before Ratan Tata announced his project of Rs 1 lakh car, I used to have discussions with my friends about an Rs 1lakh tractor. I wrote too. Few months ago, I heard of one company that had started offering Rs 1 lakh tractor. I wonder if the company is doing that with commercial success. But it is a shame that none of the many big companies in India that manufacture tractors took up the challenge to produce a reliable tractor that could be affordable too for the millions of farmers having pitiably small holdings and money to spare. Unfortunately banks also hardly provide the credit to small farmers to get the credit at lower interest for buying the tractors. If Tata can think of a car for the people, why can’t Mahindra do the same for a tractor?

Yeah and there is some serious blogger analysis on this TATA car that will revolutionalise the car market and auto industry as a whole and there are others who feel Friedman is right like churumuri in his blog.

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