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'Truth hurts, why shy away?'

Diplomatic politeness apart, surfers agree with Dutch diplomat's outburst.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2006 18:22 IST

Hindustan Times carried a story of aDutch diplomat who in an interview to a daily in his country used offensive language for his stay in New Delhi. He called the capital a garbage dump. We asked our surfers what they thought of it—did they think the Dutch diplomat was justified calling Delhi "a garbage dump"?

Here's what we got. No false chauvinism here, most of our surfers were in agreement with what the diplomat said. And no, most were Indians, not foreigners.

Anirudh Ganu of Hyderabad, India couldn't have agreed more.

"The Dutch official only spoke the truth. Delhi is a garbage dump—in fact it is an overgrown slum."

Chandrashekhar ofHyderabad, India felt truth always hurt. He further added that the statement was true of not just Delhi, but almost all the major cities of India.

"Truth is bitter, always. Its just that the gentleman spoke his mind."

"I am sure no Indian can claim that any of our cities are really clean, that our politicians and bureaucrats have any sense of ethics. Good that someone has brought the topic up. We need to have a discussion with that gentleman and get some inputs from him on what other areas really drive him crazy, because many others with whom we intend to do business with in this world, might also be feeling the same."

S Ramdas from Leiden, The Netherlands felt getting defensive without reason had helped nobody.

"I'm of Indian origin living in the Netherlands and I visit India several times a year. While it is indeed gratifying that India is rapidly developing, it is important that we do not react petulantly to an honest and direct opinion of the Dutch diplomat. It is important to look at ourselves in the mirror and realise that what he says has large doses of truth."

"Petty and mindless bureaucracy that makes the common man's life a misery, garbage dumps and infrastructure—just compare Beijing and Delhi, Shanghai and Mumbai and you will realise we have a long way to go. Let us not live in a euphoria-filled dream world."

Writing under the name Puppy, another surfer felt there was no shame in accepting our shortcomings.

"Though I am proud about my country India, there is nothing much wrong in what the Dutch diplomat said. I think we should develop the practice of looking internally and have the humility to accept our shortcomings."

Kaushik Ghosh of New Delhi, India asked, "Diplomatic politeness apart, isn't this true? Isn't Delhi a hellhole in terms of its people, its climate and its ugliness? It's tragic that India has to have such a miserable nightmare as its capital."

Tausif Badar of New Delhi, India agreed the fault lay within.

"Fault lies with us. The Dutch diplomat is partially right—we need to improve ourselves first. I have seen Indians who came from Europe or America cursing India. Its civic conditions, its system and many other things are faulty."

Vijay of Melbourne, Australia agreed—all we needed to do is look around.

"This is in response to the question you asked whether the Dutch diplomat was justified in calling Delhi 'a garbage dump'. Of course he is. It is there for everybody to see if they care to look."

RC of New Delhi, India thought it was time we Indians learnt to be honest.

"What he said is 100 per cent correct. Though we may not be able to accept it and coming from a diplomat it is not politically correct. But Delhi is all that. Let's be honest."

AK too felt the diplomat was right and that all Indian cities fared as much.

"I think we should be honest and accept the fact. I have myself visited many countries but our cities not only Delhi but also Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. are very dirty... to the extent of dumping grounds."

Hemant Shah of Arcadia, United States added that Delhi was quite a nightmare for people coming from outside.

"Delhi is a horrible place and to anyone from outside Delhi most of the people you come across appear to be uncouth or plain dishonest, waiting for an opportunity to swindle you. To elevate this issue into a diplomatic row just reflects our churlishness."

Cirus of New Delhi, India said the diplomat was right in demonising Delhi.

"The diplomat is 100 per cent correct in demonising Delhi as a place of living. Not only the dirty areas but its majority populace is dirtier in mannerism, respect and civic sense. People are getting richer materialistically but not mentally. I wonder what impression will such a place have on foreign players on the forthcoming Commonwealth Games."

Buddy of Fairfax, USA felt not the city, its people too were a nightmare.

"So what wrong did he say? It is a garbage dump, hot with no electricity and water. People are rude, interfering and oafish."

However not everybody was impressed by his statement.

Raj of Sydney, Australia asked if China would have taken it this lightly.

"Yet another example of how a 'diplomat' can walk into our country, live there and then talk all kind of rubbish about India and Indians."

"After all this all we can do is seek 'redress'. What kind of rubbish is this? India it seems simply does not have the desire to pick up on people like these and have them removed. So what if he is meant to go back in a month? He should be sent home now and unceremoniously. The Dutch should also be told to get in line or risk being left out in the cold as far as India is concerned."

"We need to learn from China who, I can assure you, would not put up with nonsense like this especially coming from the official of a country that most people can't even find on the map."

Subhash Jain of Panipat, India asked if Delhi was so offensive why did he serve here for three years?

"The diplomat in question should be asked to leave India immediately. If Delhi is a garbage dump, then why is he on an Indian assignment for the last three years? Diplomat has no right to teach us how we should live in our country."

V Raswant of Rome felt India should ask the diplomat to leave immediately.

"The Dutch take pride in being blunt. The fact that he chose to express himself one month before his retirement, says a lot about the man. He could have gone back earlier, but chose not to. He is free to express his personal opinion. We are free to 'throw' him out of the country, and should exercise our right immediately."

Minty of Melbourne, Australia felt India is changing for the better but change was always painful.

"All I can say is that the Dutch diplomat really shouldn't be in the job he is now in. He is meant to build stronger relations and respect his host country. He shouldn't have chosen a job that gets him to travel at all."

"Also change takes time and is not always easy. We have only had independence for 50 years and have a huge population. But it is changing now. Besides, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. Sure we are unruly and unorganised but we still manage to get things work and are moving towards better not worse."

All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of

First Published: Sep 23, 2006 12:57 IST