Although your editor has been in the media business for over four decades, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to retain respect for the schizophrenic, illogical and partisan pundits and journos crowding the print, television and social media. On the one hand, many of them tend to be drum-beating hyper-nationalists proud of the illusory achievements of this great republic. On the other hand, they rejoice when developed countries ease immigration controls and create pathways for India’s most well-educated and talented professionals to work and settle abroad.
If not, how does one explain the gratuitously welcoming tone of the Times of India’s triumphalist headline: ‘In surprise outreach, Donald Trump pledges to reform H-1B visas’ (January 12)? The body text laments the fate of “nearly 400,000 foreign guest workers, including more than 300,000 Indian professionals, stuck in what is called H1-B limbo and their route to permanent residency and citizenship…” The report welcomes US President Donald Trump’s magnanimity (“unexpected outreach”) and quotes him saying that he wants to “encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue careers” in the US.
Far from being good news as the triumphalist tone of the report insinuates, for the vast majority of Indians back home, this is bad news. The point is that if the US needs “talented and highly skilled” Indian professionals, India needs them more. Especially since India’s taxpayers — which includes poorest citizens — have heavily subsidised the higher education of the country’s subsidies-addicted middle class scroungers ever ready to serve in a perceived rose-tinted heaven abroad, than set things right in this country’s neta-babu created hell. For Indian media it may be worth remembering that when things were bad in America, Americans didn’t rush abroad, but rolled up their sleeves to set America right.