Monthly Archives: April 2015
Any person who has spent even a single day in India comes to understand a hard and sinister truth about the country: it remains an ass-backward place because of, above all else, corruption. On one of my trips, it took not even a day in India but less than an hour to learn this. While trying to go through Bombay airport immigration at age 13 with my cousin of the same age, within minutes after landing from the United States, a uniformed and armed customs official detained us in a corner of the airport in order to shake us down for all our pocket money. We were let go only once we had paid him the absurdly high “tax” of US $100 which we two frightened foreign youths gave up hastily. This disgusting act of intimidation and theft 22 years ago produced a bad taste that never left my mouth and venomous thoughts about what I’d do to that man if I saw him again as an adult.
Corruption contributes to all manner of travesty throughout the country affecting so many parts of daily life: gang-rapes with impunity, dysfunctional infrastructure, poverty, pollution, medical fraud, police brutality, etc. No Indian, rich or poor, or of any religious or ethnic background would dispute this, so basic is the acceptance of corruption at every level.
Americans would be stupid to gloat, or think that they are immune from the disease. The United States is not spared from corruption by any means. Throughout the history of man corruption has helped bring down empires, and I have come to believe it is causing the decline of the United States right in front of our very eyes. Knowing a place like India where corruption has become a high art form, in America I acutely see the warning signs sprouting up even as we speak. There is a saying among Indian-Americans. Corruption occurs pervasively and openly at every level of Indian bureaucracy: low, medium, and high. And in America, it is there but more hidden, nearly all of.it occurring at high levels of corporate and government life. But it seems to be getting worse Stateside, even as there are small signs of improvement in India.
Today, we delve into the sweltering morass of corruption in both countries, and what trends to watch for in the future. Read the rest of this entry
Sim Bhullar, we’ve been waiting for you. I have been quite certain for the last 20 years or so that there was an excellent chance I would die without seeing an Indian play an NBA game. I have been proven wrong, with hopefully some years in my life to spare.
The gargantuan Bhullar, a star high school and college basketball player originally from Toronto, has been signed to a 10 day contract with the Sacramento Kings- owned by Indian-American Vivek Ranadive. This is huge for Indians, and not just because Sim is 7’5″ tall, and pretty wide too for our generally anemic and too often sadly malnourished race. In fact Sim’s width exceeds the height of many fully grown Indian men.
There are players in the NBA from around 80 countries since the last decade or so, when international players became commonplace in the NBA. Till now there have been none of Indian descent. Sim was originally a late draft pick for the Kings last year, but was cut before the 2014-15 season began and thus did not truly complete a stint in the NBA yet. He was sent to the developmental league where he did well enough to get called back up to play with the big boys. Sim has been known to have issues regarding speed and conditioning. Some work in the gym, especially with weights and cardio, should help him immensely.
While a 10 day contract is tenuous at best, like a girl who reluctantly decides to go on a date with you only because you are her BFF’s brother, Sim now has a chance to prove that he belongs in the NBA.
There is no question that interest in the NBA, and in basketball in general, will now explode all over India and the Indian diaspora. Farmers in the countryside will start building hoops on their land for the first time, ever. The NBA has been smart in marketing to Indians- and expanding globally in general, helping make it a truly global league unlike any other American sport. In a few years we predict there will be more players of Indian origin joining the league. Sim’s little brother (as in 7’3″ little) Tanveer just may be one of them.
Kill ’em, Sim.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor