I was at Hawa Mahal, Jaipur on 15th Dec 2017. Having explored the marvel and enjoyed the beauty of the soothing settling sun, I got out of there all peaceful and joyous. Amidst all the hustling and noisy traffic and the bevy of people all around, I was one person who was surely all calmed out and smiling for no reason at all but because I was at the peak of my equanimity.

And, then I walked by a sight of something which pilfered that peace away in a matter of seconds. This photographer who had approached me just tens of minutes earlier was now approaching a bunch of foreign nationals. And, what left me gobsmacked was the fact that this shrewd man was charging those people ten times the amount for a picture that he was bidding me.

The picture worth Rs. 30 went up to be priced at whopping Rs. 300 just when the buyers turned from being an Indian guy to a bunch of white foreign nationals. What the heck! Sure, the reader may justify it as a means to their subsistence or whatever. But, I don’t get how is any of that a rational explanation and justification at all!


In fact, I find it quite shabby and shallow on our part as Indians that we exploit the foreign travelers assuming they must be filthy rich. I wonder how miserably we fail to realize that not every one in those western nations has his/her coffers filled with Benjamins! Most of these travelers are akin to us, having saved money for years out of their demanding jobs so that one day they could go and travel the world.

Furthermore, assuming they are all rich, is charging more for everything they set their eyes on in anyway justified! After all, we are the people who are always in news for fighting and resorting to violence in order to vouch for and protect our culture. Then, how do we afford forget to do the same when it comes to “Atithi Devo Bhava!”

Isn’t that a part of cultural heritage? Why do we fail to fight for protecting that part of our culture! Where are those protectors of the culture of thy motherland India when this clause of the culture comes to the fore? Apparently, no one gives a damn. And, this is something that everyone needs to understand.

They are normal people. With families and dreams. They work hard and sweat years and years to save money to one day buy a car and then a house, like we Indians or anyone for that matter aspires to do. And, when they choose to spend a portion of their hard-earned money on exploring and learning more about our cherished country, is this how we should be treating them?

We should be thankful to them. We should be equitable to them. We should promote parity along with fraternity. But, what we rather do is try to act like rapacious douche bags. And, it makes me sad. Let’s not sell out our Indian pride to our shabby greed like that. That’s all I need to say. Period.

Regards,

Shilanjan

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