Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
In his April 7, 2013 Japan Times letter “Shameful coverage of rape case” Dipak Basu accuses the British media of ignoring “the defects in its own society” while salaciously reporting on the deadly December 2012 rape of a female medical student in India. He doesn’t actually accuse any Britons of committing that crime or any of the other heinous sex crimes against women that have recently been reported there. It only looks like he does.
It might be true that foreign media insincerely reflect on and inadequately report their own countries’ records of sex crimes. But even if it is true it doesn’t seem directly pertinent to reporting the news from elsewhere. It might be pertinent, but it doesn’t seem so. The operative word is “might.”
Basu is a consistent champion of Indian integrity against Western imperialism and its legacy. But it’s surprising how much his positions actually seem to depend on a destructive legacy of imperialism - real or imagined - and the suggestion of a biased foreign media spoiling his country. That is what makes some of his writing sound ridiculous, because it strains credibility to continue blaming foreign powers more than sixty years after independence. As an independent country now India owns its own condition and cannot legitimately blame it on others. They can try, but Indians themselves are their own greatest challenge.
The fiasco of the October 2010 Commonwealth Games that almost had to be cancelled due to Indian ineptness is beautifully symptomatic of that challenge. Unfortunately, that humiliating incident is not at all exceptional. And, the revelation in the April 6, 2013 Japan Times article “India tackles entrenched culture of tax dodging” that less than 3% of Indians actually file income tax returns seems totally unsurprising. It suggests that dysfunction is a home grown condition of native values. If Indians paid their taxes and gave the Delhi government the revenue it needs to enact policy the lives of Indians might improve tremendously. Or not.