What Price Nationalism!

Even Hot-Selling Holi Products were made in China, are Still Available in Alibaba

Holi has come and gone, but China-made colour powders and other products associated with the celebration are still available in Alibaba. Figurines of all Indian Gods have for long been made in China, sold much cheaper than those made in India.

Indian manufacturers of the same products made locally are thus said to have been hit hard by the Chinese invasion, going by this report in The Times of India.

Be Indian Buy IndianSloganeering Not New: Indians show their nationalism only in shouting their lungs out with patriotic slogans. As for purchases they love those from China. To them, it is price that counts, to hell with nationalism and all the sloganeering! They are just for public consumption to help politicians.

They cannot be blamed if Indian businesses price themselves out. Whether it is their greed or if their costs involve the bribes they need to fork out to politicians and officials ultimately it is the nation that gets hit.

The government may have an easy, convenient explanation. They will say our focus is on high-end manufacturing, not these chota chota (small, small) items. But I doubt India will be able to catch up with China even there as all Western businesses are well entrenched there.

“Yes to computer chips, no to potato chips”: This reminds me of the decades-old slogan, Be Indian, Buy Indian, that older people may not have forgotten. Congress governments of the past have consistently tried to sell India to Indians. They had their priorities right but product innovations were hardly happening.

When the Rao government, with Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, initiated economic liberalisation, the BJP tried to put spokes in the way with such slogans as “yes to computer chips, no to potato chips.” That is just political jargon as such selective opening up of the economy simply does not make sense!

G Joslin Vethakumar



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