Ho hum, here we go again!

Idiosyncrasies of the Indian diplomats at home and abroad

bikram

Bikram Vohra | January 4, 2014



Only Indians in the Gulf do it. Whenever the new ambassador or consul general arrives they go overboard. No other nation’s reps get this kind of response. Full page ads in the local papers like we were welcoming some colonial masters and genuflecting in their presence. This is not Ceasar into Rome after Pompeii.   How much bigger can it be than a full page ad? I don’t mean to be fey or prissy but such good intention is a load of nonsense. Not only is it a colossal waste of money that could be better used for the community but what is the point except the flawed belief that it is scoring points. Why do you need to score points? These are professional officers of the foreign service and they are decent coves sent on a normal posting probably most embarrassed at this barrage of attention. Let them at least settle down before you start the parade.

We are very quick to forget the ones whose tenures have ended and it was well said by a businessman to me the other day: why should I give a party for the guy who is going, I’ll give it to the guy who is coming.

Good thinking…even though it is a measure of the genuineness of affection and an alert to the fresh incumbents that those who will fall at your feet might well be pulling the edge of the rug, so keep them at arm’s length.   

One of my favourite pastimes in the 29 years in Dubai has been taking the mickey out of the consul general of India and the ambassador. It wasn’t difficult. I used to write a column then in the Economic Times and really raspberry them. Like Henry II asking Thomas Beckett if he took being the Archbishop of Canterbury seriously, most of these guys did and they expected courtesies way beyond the call of duty. I remember one of the ambassador’s wives telling people to address her as the first lady. Ha ha ha. The only thing is she was serious.

The Times carried a piece about the Emperors into the India Club which had my byline and it teed off the ambassador at that time because it hit too close to the bone. ‘First lady’, are you kidding me. Jackie Kennedy you are not, princess.  And it was wonderful that so many of them ‘rose (or sank)  to the occasion’ and gave you so much to write about.

It is healthy to see the younger generation be courteous and pleasant to our envoys in this region which is cool but not cowered into some sort of submission. But the older lot soldier on with their ‘Your excellency’ labels and the humorous desire to vie for the captain’s table at functions and be ‘seen.’ No wonder some of the mission heads balloon with importance and they then lose their balance.

In the GCC these positions have a frontline texture where the Indian community in its many wondrous (and sometimes not so wondrous) ways is unique. You are compelled to be judge, jury, arbiter, friend, adversary, umpire, referee, your time will not be yours (especially if the VIP blokes from India keep flying to every country in the world via these countries) and your presence or absence at any occasion will be seen as a slight or a benediction. I concede it can get claustrophobic but enjoy it…any way you look at it this is a rare experience.

Just leave your footprint in the sands…and help your people when they need it.

Comments

 

Other News

Indian Aviation Academy unveiled

Union minister for civil aviation, P Ashok Gajapathi Raju unveiled a new campus of the Indian Aviation Academy (IAA) spread over 5.33 acres. Civil aviation, secretary, R N Choubey said India is poised to attain its coveted place on global aviation arena as one among top three largest aviatio

BHEL surpasses 12th plan capacity addition target

Attributing enhanced focus on project execution as the reason behind Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited’s (BHEL) growth, the enterprise’s CMD Atul Sobti said BHEL achieved a capacity addition of 45,274 MW during the 12th five year plan period (2012-17) and surpassed the target of 41,661 MW by 9 p

No right to plan their families

Bhadiya from Bhanpur Kheda village does not know her age. She has five children – the eldest one is 12-year-old while the youngest is an infant. Considering she got married in her teens – like most women in her village – Bhadiya must be in her 30s. After giving birth to five children she

SAIL to leverage domestic growth potential

Steel authority of India (SAIL) chairman PK Singh expressed confidence on improving the performance of the Maharatna PSU in the current fiscal because of a host of initiatives in almost every area of operations. During 45th annual general meeting of the company, Singh said the world steel as

TRIFED to scale up marketing of tribal products

Ministry of tribal affairs’ PSU— tribal cooperative marketing development federation of India limited (TRIFED) is contemplating to scale up marketing of tribal products through increase at its retail outlets throughout the country. TRIFED plans to scale up the retail marketing ac

Facebook and post-truth

It is not very often that Facebook advertises in newspapers. Last time it did was a year ago when it was promoting `free basics`— a limited internet service provided for free to subscribers of partnering telecom service providers. The internet platform’s reach is unparalleled vis-a-vis to tradi



Video

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter