India needs more positive image

The movie Slumdog Millionaire portrayed India as plagued with unfathomable poverty.
While the country is burdened with crippling impoverishment, many among the Indian elite choose to look the other way.

‘India’s social stratification and caste system keeps the underprivileged from integrating into society,’ finance and accounting junior Hatim Raja said.

India is a rising power in the global community. It has been embraced as a strong developing nation.

The country’s success is not a coincidence; it took advantage of being a democratic government in Asia, and its political and foreign policies have cultivated healthy economic growth. However, the majority of its vast population has not reaped the benefits.
This internal exclusion is not unique to India. Some 12.5 percent of US citizens are also faced with poverty, according to a 2008 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, and the financial have-nots are ostracized here as well.

‘A dirty underbelly exists even in developed countries,’ Indian film icon Amitabh Bachan said on his web blog.

India’s elite is incensed because a developing nation with a tarnished image has more at stake politically and in the global marketplace.

The affluent are quick to claim representation of its country and hope their imposed reality will be accepted by bordering neighbors, and more importantly, by the West.

The reality is a drastic separation of the rich minority and the destitute majority within the nation.

‘If it exists then why not expose it?’ Zuber Allibhoy, design chair holder of the Indian Students Association said. ‘It’s ok to present it in a movie.’

Another country with in-depth ties to a globalized economy, and that cavils at western censure, is China.

China and India hold similar ideas of representing their country.

‘The cultural difference and the foreign relations intertwine with the social mobility within each home country,’ Raja said.

In the US there is minimal government intervention in the capital market. The Chinese government enforces regulations onto its market and media.

China barred most international media from entering Tibet; however, China saw the need for a shift in tactics after the Tibetan revolt in 2008. In Feb. 2009 China allowed foreign journalists into Tibet.

‘The Chinese government does well in providing schooling and opportunities for citizens, but they remain oppressed under propaganda,’ Chang Zahn, president of Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at UH said.

China and India want to celebrate Indian democracy and Chinese economic dominance.

Slumdog shines a light on poverty in India, but does so in a hopeful way, and showcases popular Indian culture through its excellence.

Anousheh Kehar is an architecture sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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