“Be Indian, fly Indian” could have been the subliminal message that they wanted to convey when they (whoever they are) decided that it would be good to change the name of the airline to “Indian” from “Indian Airlines.” As I have pondered that change of name before on this blog, I will move on. I only mention this because yesterday I was flying Indian to get from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar. I am attending the “International Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation” at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar.
Innovation, I suppose, is the opposite of tradition. Some traditions don’t make sense to me, I thought, as I sat back and enjoyed my Indian flight. Why on earth do I have to be informed that the outside air temperature is “42 degrees below zero Celcius”? It is unlikely that I am going to step outside for a bit, or even that I would open the window for some fresh air, isn’t it? It must be a hangover from those days when you could stick your head out of the plane to take a better took at the countryside, and someone yelled at you to “shut that bloody window, it’s cold out there!”
Talking of flying, I wonder when will they stop giving instructions on how to fasten the seat belt. It is as useful as giving instructions to people how to use the loo.
Actually, I spent more time sitting in the stationary plane than actually flying. Mumbai’s airport is congested. It cannot handle the traffic, just like Mumbai roads. We pushed back on time and then sat around for an hour burning fuel before we took off. The pilot informed us of the delay up front. Said that we were sixth in position to take off. Which basically meant that on average around that time, one plane was taking off every 10 minutes. Wow! The Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport is perhaps designed to handle the air traffic around Shivaji’s time.
Talking of which, have you ever wondered why virtually all Indian institutions and major landmarks are named after rulers? They don’t use the names of, say, scientists, writers, thinkers, philosophers, musicians, artists, technologists, sages, gods and goddesses (India has tons of very beautifully named ones). They only use the names of rulers — present day the rulers are called politicians, of course. I arrived at the Biju Patnaik (politician) Airport at Bhubaneswar. I have a theory about this naming of parts.
We Indians are an illiterate lot and have a long history of feudalism and quite a history of being ruled by invaders and then by the British. So Indians know the names of the ones they are ruled by and not much else. If we were collectively scientifically literate, we would hold great scientists in high regard and name things after them, for instance. What we call our cities, towns, roads, schools, universities, stations, airports–the whole lot–speaks to who we are. “Aurangzeb Road” in New Delhi, for instance. A major road in the capital of India named after a tyrant who killed a fair number of Indians. This really puzzles me. Why do they continue to glorily the names of invaders and tyrants? Is it just plain ignorance of history or is it something even worse, such as inferiority complex that makes the collective afraid of acknowledging that sordid past when they were slaves.
Anyway, I am off to attend the conference. I will post something about it the next time. Bye for now.