Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sri Suki Sivam’s main message (Sun T.V. Dec. 2009) was ‘boycott Chinese goods in order to compete with them in the global economy’. However, I doubt that such an appeal, with a spirit of nationalism and commitment to our country, is possible in a country like India where there is ‘moha’ (lust) after ‘foreign’ goods of every kind.
Once, when I was returning to India from Nepal I noticed some Indian youngsters who were bribing the customs official, so that they could bring in the 'foreign' jeans that they purchased in Nepal. As they were triumphantly beaming at having managed to buy and bring 'foreign' jeans with them, I told them, “Why are you taking so much trouble to smuggle these 'foreign' jeans from Nepal? Just go to the Old Delhi Tibetian market, and you will be able to buy in wholesale jeans from any country for much less.” They were shocked to hear this. I also told them that these jeans are made and sold wholesale. They have labels such as 'Made in Germany', and 'Made in France.' They would sew these on to the jeans and export it wholesale to Nepal. Similarly, synthetic saris are imported from Gujarat by shops in Nepal and sold as 'foreign' saris to Indian tourists. For as long as we Indians continue to have ‘moha’ for ‘foreign’ goods, countries like China and Taiwan are going to dump their products on us, and we will continue to be cheated.
Now, is it possible to appeal to the common sense and moral commitment based on such artificial ideology? Instead of appealing to people based on such ideology, why not ask our Government directly to stop importing them? Many such products made in China and Taiwan are not smuggled; it is easy to dump these in the Indian market because of the new trade agreements.
Real growth in economy is possible only when we challenge our local manufactures to compete with such products, but we Indians have failed in this miserably and I do not have to elaborate on this point. There have been all kinds of malpractices, which led to a compromise in quality a number of times, and this has impacted our export potential. We Indians are used to such products and so we expect others as well to accept them. This reminds me of something I read in Salman Rushdie's novel, Satanic Verses. When a character in the story tries unlocking a door after losing its key, another character uses a safety-pin to unlock it and comments, “Made in India.”
Finally, when I get good and useful products that meet my needs at affordable costs, I will buy them. For example I have a ‘rechargeable electronic mosquito swatter’. It is a Chinese product. This product was a blessing as it helped me deal with the mosquito problem.
There are many genuine ways to compete with other economies but boycotting is not the correct and effective one.
Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam, December 7, 2009

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