Phone(y) Nationalism?

Posted by Aswathy Chandragiri
June 23, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Buying a phone these days is no easy task. The market is flooded with all kinds of options and confused minds like me take a long time to decide on an option. Few days back, it was that point of my life when the realisation stuck me that expensive phones too like lowly ones do not have a shelf life of more than a couple of years. You simply cannot keep pace with the fast changing technology and expect yourself to win. So I decided to stop, take a deep breath and look for phones that are not high-end but which would meet my requirements.

As usual, I browsed for phones in the internet, compared a few and got some idea of what kind of phone I wanted to buy. Then I headed to a mall which houses a retail chain of electronics. The salesman showed me a number of phones which met my requirements. But when I checked the authenticity of all the information given by the salesman by reading reviews in the internet, I realised that there is a particular phone in the market which meets all my requirements and is cheaper than the options put ahead by the salesman.

So, I enquired about this particular phone and I was met by a minute of silence. He was not pleased but he clarified that the phone is not available here and the only way to buy this phone is through online shopping portals. I decided to buy it from an online portal and thanked him while getting out of the shop. But when I was about to leave, he stopped me and said, “But ma’am there’s a problem. This phone that you are planning to buy is a Chinese make.” Oh! “Then what about the phone you showed me? Isn’t that too made by a Chinese company?” I enquired. He clarified, “Ma’am, there’s a difference. Though the phone I recommended for you belong to a Chinese company, they are manufactured in India”.  Suddenly I felt that he was trapping me to buy the phone from his shop by flashing the idea of buying ‘Make in India’ goods. There I was standing helplessly with ideas of nationalism bombarding in my heart. I know that we have passed the era of freedom fights and boycott of foreign goods but somehow his words stirred some kids of a nationalistic feeling within me. Probably this was his trump card. What should I do? Should I buy the phone I like or should I think about the economy of the country? Modi’s speeches, Government advertisements and noisy media debates flashed through my head. The idea of contributing to nation building never occurred in my mind when I was comparing hundreds of phones. If I go ahead with my choice, the salesman might throw a scornful look at me, as though I am an ‘anti-national’. Confused, I turned to my husband for help. He assured me that I should go ahead with the phone I like and not to think too much about whether it is Indian make or not. As these words came from an officer working in the army, the institution that is considered as epitome of nationalism in the discourses these days, I finally decided to go ahead with my choice and got out of the shop.

One week later I got a parcel from an online portal. As I opened it and took out the phone, to my utter surprise, it was written in the box –Made in India! I couldn’t believe my eyes and I thanked my stars. Here I am, using the phone I liked and not hurting the national sentiments! I do not know if my feelings of nationalism are phoney, but for sure, the purchase of a phone stirred some nationalistic ideas in my mind!

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