Sunday, February 17, 2008

Recycled ideas

The hallmark of self-styled 'secular intellectuals,' in India, is their innate ability to import foreign issues, ideas and supplant them for our own.

Most of the catchy slogans, too, can be traced to their foreign origin. Ideas do travel, but the wholesale peddling of somebody else's ideas as your own, recycled ideas if you will, just betrays plain intellectual sloth.

The plagiarized plots of Bollywood movies--scenes included; the jaded phrases: rainbow coalition, aam aadmi(common man), garibi hatao (war on poverty); the overblown celebration of minor achievements and achievers(a certain sport star on Outlook), etc., these and other such occurrences are a constant, and an irritating, reminder of prevalent mediocrity. One smart aleck is said to have retorted, 'amiri badhao,' to vent his frustration with the Indira-era slogan.

In keeping with this rich tradition, 'eminent' columnist, the bespectacled Prem Shankar Jha, tells us in (T)outlook that Americans are electing a president who will determine our fate.

You think, Mr Jha?! Thanks for letting us know so soon.

I don't recollect when I last read it, but this nettlesome argument has been floating around for a few years now. But when you don't have anything original to say or observe, you invariably end up resurrecting such yesteryears' topic, and champion it as your own. Its termed rehashing in colloquial jargon, and is the signature tendency of mediocrity.

Bah humbug!

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