The twain shall never meet

After all the East is East and the West is West



The ways of life in foreign countries are so different from ours. There is so much of cultural difference that we may feel uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment and we may face a lot of harassment and inconvenience. The laws in other countries could be so different that unknowingly, without any malafide motive we could land up in a foreign jail, or our children could be snatched away from us because of strange child protection laws. About six months back we saw the strange case of Norwegian government snatching away two young Indian children from their parents and putting them in foster homes. There was such a big outcry in India -- there was such a big outrage that the foreign minister of India had to call up the foreign minister of Norway requesting him to return the children to their grandparents in India. The Indian Prime Minister also spoke to the Norwegian Prime Minister for returning the kids when they happened to meet at an international conference. The President of India, herself, took up the matter with the Indian foreign minister after Mrs. Brinda Karat (CPM politburo member) took the grand parents of the children to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The kids were ultimately sent back to India.
          In spite of this outcry only six months ago, another Indian couple thought it fit and safe to travel to Norway along with their two young children, for taking up a job. India has a large number of technocrats and all of them cannot find good jobs in India. When they get a lucrative offer from a western or a middle east country they proceed to those countries without checking up the extent of difference in culture. Indians are very familiar with the British and their ways of life. We know them and they know us. We are very fluent in English, we do not feel that we are in a foreign country. I remember how relieved I felt after returning to England from a journey to France and Italy. Even Ireland is a foreign country for us -- but not England. Recently we saw how an Indian woman had to die in Ireland because the Irish authorities refused to give her an abortion because of strange Roman Catholic laws. Obviously it is not safe for pregnant women to travel to Ireland or parents with little children to travel to Norway.
At present the Indian couple has landed up in a Norwegian jail on allegations of ill treatment of their children. The couple is denying most of the allegations but the child welfare department of Norway is adamant. The government of India is also tired of meddling with strange Norwegian laws and they appear to be reluctant to take up the case of this 'aam aadmi'. When it comes to powerful politicians or their relatives, the present rulers in Delhi do not take more than two or three days to give a 'clean chit' , but they are totally deaf and dumb when the common man is involved. The Indian couple in jail are ordinary people -- they are not relatives of the rulers in Delhi. Otherwise government of India would have moved heaven and earth to ensure their return to India along with their children. The couple must be repenting today as to why had they thought of moving to Norway. They say that they had only scolded and disciplined their children -- which is not an offence in India unless the child is seriously injured. Indians have a lot of trust on the good sense, overwhelming love and affection of the parents. Parents are almost like gods who are to be revered. The holy Prophet of Islam had said that heaven lies at the feet of your mother.  Most Indians look after their old parents and don't send them to old age homes. On the contrary Norwegian children (who are rarely scolded or whacked by their parents) often leave their parents at the age of 16 / 17 and eventually the old parents land up in old age homes to lead a lonely life. In spite of every thing the Norwegians are happiest in Norway, and the Indians are happiest in India. Only due to unemployment in India, a number of Indians move to foreign countries -- otherwise who would have left India to compromise one's position with bizarre laws in foreign countries?
That is why we believe that the east is east and the west is west and never the twain shall meet.

(Amit Kushari  (I.A.S. Retd) and former Financial Commissioner,J&K. Feedback at or contact at 09748635185)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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