What happens when you see a mirror?

do you like what you see? If no, do you break the mirror?

Well frankly we would love to, but that is not the answer, right?

Similarly when we see filth (Mumbai stinks, dammit) around us, we say ‘Oh Navi Mumbai is not like that’ or some such shit and move on.

As a community we do not really care about India…..but when a gora tells you this, it hurts more…well read on what Sean Paul Kelley has to say.

None of us will like it, but darn truth it is.




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  1. well Mr. subra, Your blog is so wonderful i don’t think you need to publish such articles from a cheap pakistani website. Whatever sean paul said is true but there has always been challenges in developing economies. whole europe will crumble like cookie if they face situation like ours,So lets not loose hope:)

  2. thanks dee. Forget the source, tell me what is wrong with the article. If a place is dirty what PRIVATE INITIATIVE do we take to make it clean? Do you know that the BEST person whom you should ask about any work you do is your ENEMY?

    He looks to find a mistake…so looks real hard, friends just say ‘it is fine’

    so we should keep reading Pak websites if WE WANT TO IMPROVE

  3. Subra sir

    To really understand what he write – you really need to travel outside india. Until you feel or see from outside people will juts blame it as paki/ western/ white…. Though feel proud of my home state after reading in this matter i can point out 1000 negetives about the same place too :).

  4. actually,sean paul kelly doesnt bring any new insight.Kuznets curve already explains this. when the average income of the nation increases,its population starts paying attention to stuff like cleanliness,pollution etc. it has already started in india.there are gated communities where people of similar income lead reasonably clutter free .
    it is not as if dirty surroundings is ingrained in indian mentality.the west was no different 80 years back.the walkways of versailles palace was full of human shit -because it was acceptable.

  5. Subra,
    I have lived in Newzealand for years. Now I live in India in a metro.
    I fully agree with the views expressed. We can not ignore the facts and also can not claim they are normal things. We keep our houses clean but do not care for the outside area.
    Quality of life suffers due to this filth.
    Hope there is a way out of this mess. Otherwise those who can, will opt for the easier way of migrating overseas.


  6. Hi Subra,

    I don’t think it really matter, as to who has written the article. Its visible for all of us as soon as we step out of our homes :-)Maybe it will change with our economic status changes. But I doubt, as I think its more of attitude change that is needed. Everyone has seen ppl thowing things from big cars, coming out of malls and throwing wrappers on roads and so many others things…even if just look at more prosperous strata

  7. Fairooz Kabbinavar

    Another Reality of India:
    Sean Kelley’s article on India paints a harsh picture of India but like all things in life there is another reality of India and about Indians which may be unpalatable to those who enjoyed the Sean Kelley piece. The other India specific reality is that no matter what “mess” Sean Kelley saw, people of India and India itself are thriving and progressing towards a future creating opportunities for its young citizens. No wonder then the world is looking towards India and not looking down upon it. The real mess is the current financial mess that the western world finds itself in; a mess entirely of its own doing. The stink from this hubris has now engulfed Europe but India (with all its problems that are apparent to only to people with a jaundiced eye) appears stable and is still attracting investments in medicine, healthcare, IT, automobile, telecommunications just to name a few industries. One has to just look across the border to see where India is and where our neighbor is in the same span of the last six decades.
    I am sure there is an article or two by some economist that states that India is headed towards doom! Might I remind you that these are the same economists and experts who failed to see the current financial mess as big as the grand canyon! But what really stinks is that US economy has not recovered despite a trillion dollar bail out and Europe is on its knees begging for a bail out even as I write this article. India’s neighbor to the west for the six decades of its existence has lived on hand outs digging itself deeper in a stinking mess with its regressive policies. That my friend is a true rotting mess.
    Pollution is a problem that is not unique to India but is a global issue. Look around the world and every region is beset with this problem. Sean Kelley talks about stench and filth but my advice to people who want to visit Agra is to see the wonder that the Taj Mahal is and not be too bothered by the “filthy” surroundings. Smell the roses and not the fertilizer or the manure!
    Lack of infrastructure, bad roads, overcrowded buses and trains unreliable power supply do not dampen the entrepreunial spirit of Indians. We Indians move on and rest of world moves on along with us. Look at the partnerships that have evolved in India with all the big business houses of the world from A to Z and everything in between. IT giants such as Apple, IBM, Intel are all at home in India. Hollywood giants are shaking hands with Bollywood players. Educational institutions from Harvard to Johns Hopkins to Yale all want to and have opened sister campuses with Indian academic institutions. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Bentley have all set up shop in India. Monsanto, Coke, Pepsi are few more examples of conglomerates doing business in India. If the “poor roads and lack of infrastructure, filth and stink” has not stopped these international business houses from partnering with India do not let a few pot holes and cow dung on the roads stop you from visiting and enjoying India.
    Lack of rural health care laments Sean Kelley but he conveniently forgets to write that despite obvious problems from overcrowding and seam-bursting populace India has kept pace with progress in medicine. It is a hub for medical care in that region where patients even from the US and patients from other parts of the world get affordable health care that is on par with current international standards! This health care extends to but not limited to hip/joint replacements, cardiac bypass surgeries to heart, liver, kidney and bone marrow transplant; again to name just a few! Big international pharma is already in India. Indian pharma is the biggest supplier of US FDA approved generic drugs world wide and more specifically to this country. So next time when you buy generic drugs at your local CVS do not be surprised to see a “made in India” label.
    Corruption is rampant everywhere. If anyone thinks it is only unique to India then they are delusional. Greed is another name for corruption. Look at what this deadly sin has done to economy of the US and Europe! Banking institutions are tottering, hundreds and thousands of hard-working citizens have found their pensions have evaporated because of greed of a few! But we Indians have accepted corruption as another harsh reality of life in addition to many of the problems listed in Sean Kelley’s article but what we do not do is lament, play the blame game, wring our hands in despair about it and wait for someone to bail us out or give us a hand out. Indians shrug it off and continue to work around this scourge of corruption to make lives better and certainly do not depend on or expect dole from other countries for our survival. One needs to not only have open eyes but an open mind as well to see some of the things that have been achieved in the public sector despite the rot of corruption and cancer of bureaucracy. The private sector is flourishing just based on the fact that India is a sought after country by US and European businesses! Money is being poured in India not as aid or bail out but as an investment.
    Sean Kelley says he has travelled over 50 countries and apparently that is what makes him an expert on all that is wrong in India. My suggestion to him is to visit urban areas in about 5 to 10 big cities in the US (or Europe) and he will sure as a day find human excrement, urine, drug paraphernalia, condoms, homeless, drug addicts, whores and rats as big as cats; all this without leaving the shores of this country!
    Every country and every region of the world has its share of warts and pock marks. If Sean Kelley thinks that US shit does not stink then he is genuinely delusional. He really needs to talk all those unemployed US workers as well as those who lost their pensions because of corruption/greed to see what real mess is and how bad this stinks!
    The list of ills that India has is not in debate but what Sean Kelley failed to see or rather refused to see is the indomitable Indian spirit that rises above filth, squalor, bad roads, no electricity, corruption, bureaucracy to not only survive but actually make lives of future India and Indians better. Despite the ills that Sean Kelley saw, India does not just survive but it lives on with a song and dance and festivities keeping pace with rest of the world. India is progressing in the 21st century and certainly not by any means regressing to the stone ages as some other countries seem to be. India has produced Nobel laureates, scientists, poets, writers, artists, musicians, sportsmen, business tycoons that are playing on the world stage. India’s future is as secure as it has been for the last 5,000 years no matter what the dooms day pundits predict.
    So my advice to visitors to India is to catch the beautiful side of India, enjoy the marvel of Taj Mahal, savor the different cuisines, watch a Bollywood movie and feel the warmth of Indian hospitality and like a good guest not kick India on the way out. Even if you do behave like an ungrateful guest when you visit again, India and Indians will still bring out the welcome mat for you but remember the stink that you wrinkle your nose at may be more likely emanating from your self-righteous person and not from India!

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