Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I recently came across a comment on a blog from a foreign volunteer working in India amongst the poor and the needy. Very commendable and all that. But a statement from her infuriated me no end....the commentator called India and my hometown, Varanasi beautiful and ''ugly'' in the same breath!! Apparently, she went to many places and this was her finding on most of India. What's there to be annoyed about you might ask me?? Well, on the face of it nothing really. Any visitor to any xyz country is entitled to his/her own opinions and really, that should not bother us. Why then did this commentator manage to get my goat? Well, firstly because, she is a christian and therefore one would assume have some semblance of compassion and senstivity towards a country she has chosen to work in, on a voluntary basis that too! And secondly, because just like any nation of the world , Jesus loves India!! As simple as that. That nation, with it's more than one billion people, it's flora and fauna, it's languages, it's pulse- all has been ordained by God Himself and no human has a right to denounce it or any country for that matter, in a derogatory manner.

I am Indian, so naturally my hackles are raised on this commentator's views. But really, I am an expat too, living in the middle east. I dont serve in any ministry and I havent gone all out to be charitable and all that here. But I do love and respect this country. Which expat in this world finds it all easy and nice and ''like home'' ? It is not easy being uprooted, displaced and away from ''home'' but any amount of trouble, hardship or feeling of alienation does not give us a right to bad mouth the country we have chosen to put down our tent in. Me and my husband have a very comfortable life here, but that does not mean we are really ''home'', does it? We are aliens, foreigners, expats call it what like. These synonyms dont sound very good to the ears does it...We have had our share of problems and issues settling down here, but in this fallen world, which nation on Earth can claim any form of superiority on the basis of religion, world class medical care, elderly care, education, physical appearances, science & technology, per capita income,safety & crime, moral and social fabric , taxes etc? When we choose to make a particular country our home, please lets accord it respect and affection.

Experts and professionals volunteer to work in some of the world's most dangerous nations, but would negate all their good work if they were to bad mouth that very nation. I have had one foreign worker say to my face that ''India is like a toliet'', I was saddened and shocked. What kind of christian service and heart do you bring to a country which you think is like a toilet anyways? Does God think so too? I seriously doubt that. I am so sick of expats not just in India, but even here in Dubai who have no words of praise but constantly crib and complain about expat living. I am pleased to note that they are all in the process of migrating to whichever country they ''perceieve'' as being more suitable for them. Good luck and good riddance I say! One of the fruits of the spirit is to display patience, why cant we show some of it to whichever country we are living in? This is especially for expats who have volunteered to live and work in a particualr country....even if you haven't , please stop being petty and a spoilt brat and give it all a break. God loves every country and has a plan for every one of them. How dare we stand and denounce any of His creations!!

Whatever our lot, Prasie be to God, because of Him, it falls in to pleasant places!

1 comment:

Lowell said...

Hello Harshika,
This is Lowell Stoltzfus, the doc in Varanasi.
THank you for your comment on my blog. It was a delight to hear from you, if for no other reason than I discovered your own blog. You had some excellent insights and stated them well. THere is no need to apologize. YOu spoke the truth, and did it in a gracious fashion. Again, thank you.
IN the meanwhile, I have heard a rumor that you are expecting (I usually ignore rumors at KIF, but this one seems persistant, and backed up by your blog?), so big congradulations and you are in our prayers. Many blessings to you there in the Gulf, a land with its own unique beauty and and its own unique difficulties (it is hard to get around the fact that it is a desert... smiles).

PS: I hope I have never offended you in anything I have written. PLease feel free to rebuke/praise/caution/laugh at my writings as you feel is fitting. :)