"India's future: An ugly little man with a lap-top"

The "ugly man" regardless, perhaps we should feel privileged that the Independent, a British newspaper, has at least put the above headline on its front page at a time when most publications rarely mention the elections taking place in the world's biggest democracy.

So who's the "ugly man with a lap-top"? Described by a political rival as a man who looks "like a pickpocket at a bus stop", he is none other than Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. As anyone who has been to India recently will know, Naidu's achievements are becoming somewhat legendary in urban circles. In a short space of time, he has given Bangalore, the hitherto undisputed Silicon City of India, a run for its money by turning Hyderabad into Cyberabad. He has enticed the likes of Oracle, IBM and Microsoft to his state. Roads are being widened and repaired all over the state, and Hyderabad has got 34 new flyovers.

Mercifully enough, Mr Naidu is also very aware that nearly 60% of his people are illiterate, and only by transforming the prospects of the poor farmers can he hope to change things. He has created a "people-centred development process" to make the government sensitive to the needs of the smallest village.

However, Mr Naidu faces a huge challenge in the current elections. His reformist zeal, so beloved of the World Bank (it approved a loan of $540 million to the state, the first to India after sanctions were imposed following the nuclear tests), has resulted in higher taxes, higher bus fares, higher water and electricity charges and lower subsidies for farmers....  No wonder the Congress promises the opposite - free power, cancellation of unpaid bills and other political gimmickry. Further, by aligning himself with the BJP, Mr Naidu has alienated the Muslims.

Peter Popham, the author of the article, was travelling in Mr Naidu's helicopter on the campaign trail. And it is in Naidu's hands, according to Mr Popham, that India's future rests. Why so? Because, "if hope [ie, Naidu] loses, India will remain India and the eternal connoisseurs of muck and mysticism can sleep easy". And if hope wins, "all India may start to change in the same way: the enormous vessel will ponderously begin to alter course".

In what was a fairly balanced article, the only problem was the headline: "an ugly man with a lap-top". Is the issue what he looks like? Can you imagine a western newspaper describing its own politician as "ugly"? Just in case you were wondering, the Independent is not a tabloid that it has the dubious privilege of indulging in imbecilic name-calling. And moreover, if the person in question was female, can you imagine the headline instead, "an ugly woman with a lap-top"?
  Read more 


- Chetan Dhruve in London
  1999

We appreciate your feedback
Name is required
Email is required
Contact is required
Thank you for contacting us
articles  More articles
The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.

Other Links

Famous Paintings Famous Paintings

Find out the history of Indian painting Know more

Symbols Symbols

Find the list of National Symbols of India Know more

Languages Languages

Find the list of Languages Know more

History History

Listing of websites with a focus on Indian history Know more

Geography Geography

Listing of websites with a focus on Indian geography Know more

Facts about India Facts about India

Information about India Know more

Statistics of India Statistics of India

Statistical information of India Know more

Tourism Tourism

Tourism information and packages for your holiday Know more

exclusives More in exclusives

Exclusively Featured on NRI Online Know more

articles Featured Articles

Listing of Interesting Articles for NRI Community Know more

columnists Featured Columnists

NRI related articles by our featured columnists Know more

Welcome to America Welcome to America

Offers resourceful information for people new to America Know more

Immigration USA Immigration

In this channel you will find immigration information in the USA Know more

Return to India Return to India

It has resourceful information for people who are planning to return to India Know more

news

NRIOL.COM, the premier online community since 1997 for the Indian immigrant community provides a range of resourceful services for immigrants and visitors in America.

CONTACT

NRI Online Pvt. Ltd.

Phone: +918041101026

Email:

Estd. 1997 © Copyright NRI Online Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide.