The Nationalist Begging Bowl


Honda City Gx ZxiAs the rupee was in free fall and prices of onions matched that of petrol, the social networks were bombarded with posts telling you that the only way to save the rupee was to buy Indian goods. We were told by caring citizens how buying Nivea or Gillette was against the interests of India.

There are a couple of problems I have with that argument.

For one, most of the products mentioned are produced in India. They may be international brands but they are manufactured right here. The manufacturing of these products gives livelihood to thousands of Indians. So how can it be bad for the economy to buy these products? On the other hand, if we don’t buy these products, these companies could pull manufacturing out of India and that would be bad for the Indian economy.

The other gripe I have is with the Indian companies that are not able to provide us the kind of products we demand. I have owned four cars, three of them Indian – two Marutis and a Tata. When I compare these cars to the fourth car I owned, a Honda. The chances of me buying a Honda are much more than me buying another Tata or Maruti car. Contrast that to the motorcycle I own, which is a Bajaj. I have owned three Bajaj motorcycles. I have always gone back to them because their products are good. If I don’t buy a Videocon television, it isn’t because I don’t like India, it is because Samsung gives me a better product.

The social network posts looked suspiciously like they were sponsored by some Indian company taking advantage of the crisis to make some sales.

My message to Indian companies is simple. Before you expect me to be nationalistic and buy Indian goods, it would really help the cause if Indian companies built great products that I would be proud to own.

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