Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: With Raje ordinance, corruption-free India will become India free for corruption

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Protecting the corrupt

This is a novel way to protect corrupt people and the blatant misuse of executive powers devised by the Vasundhara Raje government to throttle those who fight corruption (“Rajasthan tables controversial bill shielding public servants amid opposition”). This puts a question mark on the BJP and prime minister Narendra Modi’s claim of being committed to eliminating corruption in India. – Dharam Prakash Gupta

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This is very bad and sad news. The government is trying to strangulate democracy. – Vibha Bhalla Kakkar

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The ordinance will allow the functioning of a fear-free corrupt regime and the public will sufferer. Where are the claims of transparency and accountability in government work. Instead of “corruption free” we are moving to “free for corruption” regime. – Ajay Gupta

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The media’s job is to criticise the government where required. Modi’s promises of achhe din, Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts and sab ka saath aur sab ka vikas have proved hollow. Demonetisation was a catastrophe and GST a black-mailing tactic. The entire range of reactions of the ruling establishment borders on crudity. There is no dignity of language, behaviour or actions. Criticism of the government is what democracy is all about. Without criticism, govt’s tend to become dictatorships. – Onkar Singh

GST woes

Thank you for bringing forth the delay in our refunds despite a commitment from the finance minister (“‘It will be a dry Diwali’: Exporters yet to receive GST refunds despite government’s reassurances”). One more thing ends to be highlighted. Merchant exporters have been worst affected by this delay, as they operate on a very low profit margin. So, the blockage of working capital of merchant exporter has hurt them the most.

During the October 6 meeting, Arun Jaitley made the wonderful decision of introducing 0.1% GST on supplies to merchant exporters. This will prevent the further blockage of working capital. But there has been no official notification by the government on this.

Because of the delay in refund, a huge part o f the capital of exporters is stuck and exporters have stopped taking orders. The 0.1% GST will act as oxygen mask for dying exporters. – Nipun Kapoor

Demanding respect

I will never forget what my first boss job told me, that respect must be commanded, not demanded (“Stand up, show respect when ministers and MLAs visit, Adityanath government instructs UP officials”). If you are good at your work, your colleagues, seniors and juniors will respect you. – Gopal Iyer

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How much respect do elected representatives show to the public? After all, they are elected to represent the people. – Jashwant

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This clearly shows how India, a great nation which stood for its impeccable moral values, is going backwards. If the MPs and MLAs visit they must concentrate on the job they went for instead of looking for sycophants. They must not forget they were elected by the citizens of this country to serve the nation. – Azad Ahamed

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Respect is earned, not demanded. If Adityanath’s government does respectable works, everyone will feel like respecting them. In fact, it is shameful that secretaries don’t stand for his MLAs and MPs on their own and have to be nudged to do so, it indicates that they do not feel that respect for the elected representatives. The solution is not to demand respect by force, unless the agenda is to create fear and retain power in a dictatorial set-up. – Divya Bala

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.