Outsourcing the outsourced

Outsourced – a sitcom in the sets of an American Novelties Company which gets bangalored (to India) for cost cutting purposes, as its name suggests. Episodes of this revolve around its Mumbai office where an American works with Indian customer support employees and an Indian Asst. Manager. All five major roles of Indian employees are played by Canadian, British and American actors, but not Indian.

Now read bolded ones in above paragraph again. That’s right!. For some reason TV industry thinks it would be great to hire non-Indian nationals (ABD, BBD etc) and ask them to fake Indian accent rather than hiring local talents to act naturally (unlike Outsourced – the movie). I feel they should have given chance to locals, when the role is local. In another way it would have worked out cheaper since Indians are paid in Rupees – Outsourced! That’s the name of the series.

By Source, Fair use, Link

Only relief is, all these five actors have Indian origins (actually their parents), they probably have some clue on how Indians pronounce. Now take this: Recent facebook movie, in “the social network” Divya Narendra’s role is played by Max Minghella!! Couldn’t they manage to find a single ABCD for playing this role?

Perhaps it’s been happening for all non-American roles in American movies and TVs. Makes me wonder – Did Austrian Bruno or Kazak in Borat have their accents right?

Slumdog was almost certainly speaking British, so will Mumbai born Freddie Mercury!

Woman, equal pay and Dagenham

My family profession is Farming! We grew (still do) rice, cashew, coconut, banana, etc., in a village and had cattle too. That’s right! Some of my friends were astonished when I told them I milked cows and chased wild bores out of rice farms. Back in those days we had daily labours for doing various jobs in farm. There were million different jobs in farm as compared to my current profession (developer, tester and manager). Out of them only few men specific jobs, rest were common. Anyway, in any of those jobs women were paid 25% less than men, even if they did same job. When I asked my grandfather about this discrimination, he told “otherwise men will refuse to work! They need this discrimination to work”. Also, he told it is only in some phirangi countries you can expect equality. Now I am in a phirangi country and he was right, there is equality.

Right, now in the context: I went to this British movie “Made in Dagenham”, while whole town queued up for some Zac Efron flick. There was hardly anyone in this screen while I could hear Enthiran beats across the walls.  Anyways, this movie was about a small number of women machinists of Ford factory in Dagenham, making history!. This is where the ignition for “equal pay movement” happened, which swept across industrial world and government realised women deserved same pay as men for same job. Movie review: It’s awesome; I hope it will get some more recognition and awards.

image via filmofila

I was aware that a revolution like this happened in Europe, but I was totally unaware that it happened as early as 70s. That gave me a shock. Just 40 years back in United Kingdom, women were paid less than men, just for one reason – they were women! I was under impression that equality existed since centuries!

I am gonna phone my friends in village sometime and find out if things have changed.


Infographics on “History of women in workspace

Gender games of Afghanistan

Social rules were evolved by civilisations or applied by Governments or imposed by religions. These are supposed to maintain the working system and conserve it. If a new trouble comes up people need to look into these rules and decide how this needs to be handled. If existing social rules does not handle, then rules need to change so that the system works. But, what if the rules are so strong that it cannot change even if the system is collapsing?

Cheat! , that’s what various societies do instead of relaxing the rules a little bit. If you need examples here is one – Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, as you know, is a country run by men. A woman/girl cannot do even 10% of social activities a man/boy does. So obviously it’s better be a boy than a girl. On the other side there are boys dressed as girls to do one thing – prostitution. Rules never changed in Afghanistan for long time, and will never change till some serious influence from outside world takes place on this society. Till then, cheat.

For the first problem, there are girls who cross-dress as boys to help family to fulfil social duties. Here is an article from NY-times. This tradition is called “bacha posh” means dressed up as a boy.

Afghan families have many reasons for pretending their girls are boys, including economic need, social pressure to have sons, and in some cases, a superstition that doing so can lead to the birth of a real boy. Lacking a son, the parents decide to make one up, usually by cutting the hair of a daughter and dressing her in typical Afghan men’s clothing. There are no specific legal or religious proscriptions against the practice.

Afghan Boys Are Prized, So Girls Live the Part
Afghan Boys Are Prized, So Girls Live the Part - image via NY Times

For the second problem, there are boys dressed as women called “Bacha Bazi”. Here is guardian report on it:

The practice of taking young boys to perform as dancers at private parties is known as bacha bazi and is an Afghan tradition with very deep roots. Under Taliban rule, it was banned, but it has crept back and is now widespread, flourishing also in the cities, including the capital, Kabul, and a common feature of weddings, especially in the north. The bacha dancers are often abused children whose families have rejected them. Their “owners” or “masters” can be single or married men, who keep them in a form of sexual slavery, as concubines. The bachas are usually released at the age of 19, when they can get married and reclaim their status as “male”, though the stigma of having lived as a bacha is hard to overcome. The Afghan authorities and human rights groups are aware of the plight of bacha boys, but seem powerless to stop it.

My intention is not to pick Afghanistan, these are just examples. There could be similar stories or variations of these practices exist in different parts of the world.

Babri Masjid, iterations and stuff

“Babri Masjid – Ram Mandir” issue is definitely not going to get resolved for next couple of centuries, as long as religions exist, or as long as people seriously follow religions. A Court verdict is not going to change anything. Either one of sides will to play victim card or appeasement card. Even if court gives a perfect verdict, religions won’t accept them, they can’t, because they are not supposed to!. Remember, these religions (or interpretations, if you want it that way) mandate follower to destroy existing structure and build their own, whenever applicable. It could go for infinite loop, but hey! Religions can’t give up!

Babri Mosque
Babri Mosque - image via wikipedia

Babri Masjid issue is still young, it just going through second iteration! We have bigger examples, one with with seven iterations! Somnath temple! Both Domestic and Middle Eastern Muslim kingdoms kept destroying it, and Indian kings kept building it. Seven iterations are silly and painful! But hey, they are religions – just see what they make people do.

Iterations: Read Wikipedia for more information

Initial construction is in mythology. If history is considered first one was built by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi around 649 AD.

1st: In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. Gurjara Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815.

2nd: In 1024 A.D.the temple was destroyed by Mahmud Ghazni.  Rebuilt by Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhima of Gujarat between 1026 and 1042.

3rd: In 1296 A.D., the temple was destroyed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji’s army.  Rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 A.D.

4th: In 1375 A.D the temple was once again destroyed by Muzaffar Shah I, the Sultan of Gujarat. About 1400 A.D. it was reconstructed by the local public.

5th:1451 A.D the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Begda, the Sultan of Gujarat.  reconstructed again.

6th In 1701 A.D the temple was once again destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb built a mosque on the site of the Somnath temple. Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore rebuilt the temple in 1783 A.D adjacent to the mosque.

In 1947 newly formed Indian government moved the mosque to nearby location and built currently existing structure.
Phew,! See this is the problem with religion. You need to spend whole time building and destroying religious structures, endlessly!

Snake charmers and goat eaters

Previously I wrote about “how great were Mughals”, concerning how two millennium worth of Indian history could have been written in the mercy of few ass-lickers at Emperor’s courts. I missed a little part of after that, about next few centuries. Those, which were written in the courtesy of guests of East India Company. Well, not entirely, but a major chunk of it – its just a thought.

Think about it for a second. In this modern era, our journalists cannot report a single news un-prejudiced. “News” is what editor-in-chief thinks, isn’t it? If you need a recent example, Iranian newspaper calls French first lady as a prostitute! just for being a feminist! We know he is a nut case, because he is alone with this view, as compared to vast majority others in same industry. Imagine, 500 years from now all newspaper databases (and stuff like wikipedia) get wiped out, except for some Iranian newspapers. What would be your perspective then? on French? That’s my point.

Back to those four centuries of Indian history, where India was ruled by west – first by a company and then monarchy. They had no intention of giving equal respect to Indian civilisation, as they did for counterparts in Europe. We had lower per capita income compare to Europe, higher ppp did not matter. Indian religions are obviously inferior to western ones, even for today. Would you feel like writing anything about such a country, if it was entirely in your hand?

Fifty years on some part of the world feel Indians still need to be uplifted. For some, we are country of snake charmers, and we meditate on nailed bed and travel on levitating carpets. While doing that we answer the calls on improper shut downs of Dell laptops and calls on password reset of their credit cards. It all result of  how Indians were presented to outside world. Also, on what story was presented to them before Indians were even reached there.

Stereotyping, is entirely up to who is doing it, they can take it either way. For instance, decimal number system was born in India, Chess was invented here. They could have highlighted this back home as “India has few real smart-ass guys inventing stuff”, but no, “India has snake charmers”!. Again, it’s just a thought. I am not going to lose my sleep over it :-).

Here is an example. It’s a painting by an East India company employee 200 years back. He gives step by step procedure on how this Indian kills a raw goat and eats it entirely including bones.

The utterly giddifying weirdness of India
The utterly giddifying weirdness of India

image via the cultured life

The fact is India has biggest number of vegetarians in the world. Most among the rest of the folk who do eat meat, eat twice or trice in a week. Or… forget it! Whatever statistics you provide, there is no one here eating bones(except for few absolute nut-cases). I am almost certain Indians had same of similar food habits couple of centuries back. Now, in 1820s go back to England and show this image to millions of Englishmen, who know India only by the silk they are wearing, what would they think?