India

Update and Great Photo

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I apologize for the long silence. In fact, not much has been happening around here. Well, not much except bird flu, temple attacks, and presidential visits. At this point, nearly two years later, India and Bombay have almost become everyday for me. And, sad as it may seem, there comes a time when you become used to (desensitized to?) chaotic driving, street urchins, milk deliverymen on bicycles, unnavigable, paan juice stained sidewalks, piles of burning trash, incense, crowds, poverty, nouveau riche techies, and holy cows. It’s almost time to move on.

That said, I occasionally see things here that I wouldn’t see anywhere else. Take a look at the photo above, taken by a friend of a friend. That’s an actual billboard (called a “hoarding” here) with statistics that aren’t too far-fetched. I don’t know why the designers of the sign used a coffee cup, but there you go.

By the way, as I seem to have run out of words about India, I may start posting some fun photos on occasion. If I put up several at a time, they may even amount to a feature-length article. Figuratively, that is…

I Heart Outsourcing!

Senator John Kerry came to India recently to discuss, among other things, his opinions on outsourcing. During the U.S. elections of 2004, Indians (or at least the Indian media) never quite warmed to Kerry, so I suppose this was a chance for him to go on a goodwill tour and to see outsourcing at its, well, source.

Of course, outsourcing is a very sore subject in the U.S. and its impact has unfortunatley turned some Americans against South Asians. Its short-term effect has meant that many Americans have lost their jobs to workers in India that can do their jobs, if not more efficiently, then more economically. I even have an Indian-American friend whose relative lost her job to an Indian in India!

After being in India for a while, however, I can’t help but be a little touchy when discussing outsourcing with my compatriots at home. The people that I have met here that work at BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing companies) are some of the most diligent, hardworking people. And they aren’t just involved in the telemarketing fields. BPOs such as Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, e-Serve, and Datamatics have stretched their tentacles to cover industries like IT, banking, finance, government, and entertainment. In fact, outsourcing is involved in almost every industry I can think of (which is even more than the average American can think of), so it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Book Bans and Other Stupid Govt Tricks

Bombay is one of the most progressive cities in India. For most intents and purposes, both the New York and L.A. of India.

It is also the capital of of Maharashtra, a state that is proving to be more backward which each report of a book ban. On Monday, the Maharashtra government banned a scholarly book by James W. Laine on the life of Shivaji entitled, The Epic of Shivaji. The government had previously banned Laine’s other book, Shivaji: The Hindu King in Islamic India, in January 2004. The latter title is available for purchase here.