Should we react or simply ignore?
For those of you who are wondering who Patrick Christys is, he is a British news anchor and journalist whose comment on a TV bulletin soon after the success of the Chandrayaan 3 mission, has upset many Indians.
He said, “I would like to congratulate India for landing on the dark side of the moon. I would also like to invite India to return the 2.3 billion pounds of aid money that we sent them between 2016 and 2021. We are also set to give the 57 million pounds next year. But I think the British taxpayer should keep a hold of that. We should not be giving money to countries with a space program as a rule.”
One of the teens at the Young Writers’ Club brought this matter up for discussion. This comment on a TV bulletin had had a very profound impact on this teen.
Considering facts first before choosing to react
Many of us at the Young Writers’ Club did not know about this comment. The local newspaper we are subscribing to, did not seem to have news flash on their pages about this comment, which itself speaks for itself at some level. It was a lot easier to find information off the internet. To start with the first question we asked ourselves was, “How much do we know about U.K-India partnership?” The answer was, “We don’t know any thing about it.” Hence, we first explored the nature of U.K - India partnership. Preliminary research indicated that the partnership agreement entered into by the two countries revolve around collaboration in terms of science, tackling climate change, development of strategic technologies in the fields of telecommunications, critical minerals etc; and less on humanitarian aid.
Initial reactions to the comment
“Haven’t they taken more from India?”
“If we managed to send the rocket to the dark side of the moon- we are good and we don’t need aid.”
“The cost of sending the rocket to the moon has been lesser than India’s debt.”
“Quoting the finance minister, Pranab Mukerjee’s response in 2012, aid we receive is peanuts and it is for diplomatic relations. That suggests we don’t need aid per se.”
Remembering Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha
These two amazing scientists were the ones who believed that space research could help a battered country like India after independence. They believed that India must engage in space research not for competing with the super powers but to harness the benefits of technology that would get developed in the process.
"There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society."- Vikram Sarabhai
Thanks to the efforts of these scientists and many others, India launched the first satellite in 1975-76. From there to now when we are sending spacecrafts to the Moon, Mars and most recently the Sun, is commendable!
Once the dust settled…thinking with calmer minds
Do we fight back or do we ignore this guy?
Arguments in favour of fighting back
“We must fight back. They don’t know their own history and the extent to which India got looted!”
“Do they even study imperial history in the light of the consequences it had world wide and in particular reference to India? Perhaps they don’t know and that’s why this comment has obtained support. It is unfortunate that people are being made to believe something that is not real.”
Arguments in favour of “Ignore the guy.”
“There will always be criticism. Best to move on-progress is important.”
“The role of media is to analyse and criticise the actions of their country’s government. They have no business pointing out fingers at another country’s government and hence this comment should not be given any attention.”
“Maybe it is just an act of jealousy.”
“Or it could be a distraction technique to sway the masses and make them look away while the those with positions of power go about doing something that works in favour of enhancing their presence.”
“Whatever be the case, this is a matter of diplomatic relations that need to be sorted out by the respective countries. A news channel does not have a place. Hence it is pointless to be paying attention to this journalist’s comment.”
While it is natural to retort and feel hurt upon hearing such comments on television, especially when social media channels have a field day publicising it, this incident served as a fine example that illustrated why it is important to take a step back, consider facts and then choose to take criticism or ignore it with grace. All the teens chose to take the high road by arriving at the consensus that this comment must be left behind and we must look ahead.
Please don’t miss reading Ms.Pakhi Gupta’s contribution- “Witnessing History” in which she reflects about the success of the Chandrayaan 3 mission and what it means to her as a teen who is growing up with aspirations.
Previously published on the Young Writers' Club magazine- Musings from the Young Writers' Club
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