The Anonymous Alien
Back in 2008, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched its first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1. Its future plans include manned space flights, more trips to the moon and interplanetary probes. The cost of all this is in the billions.Spending billions for space exploration in a developing country with 500 million people who still don’t have electricity, some 400 million who still don’t have toilets, and some 26 million children who are malnourished is certainly questionable.
Still, I can see the benefits to India from space exploration, including increased national pride, stronger international standing, development of new technologies that can flow into the private sector and spur new industries and maybe even improved defence technologies. Are the benefits of space exploration justifiable in a country with so many dire problems? Probably not, but at least it’s debatable.Which brings me to the fish. The biggest fish in the world, from what I’ve seen. Specifically, I’m talking about the giant fish/ structure/ building/ whatever-you-call-it that you cannot miss seeing when driving from Hyderabad to the airport.
The fish/ structure/ building/ whatever-you-call-it angers me, and I want it to anger you too. From what I have learned, the building is supposed to be a ‘fishery’, and it was built with government funds.
Now, let’s break this down. At some point, some person in the government decided that the government should invest in fishery infrastructure. Why the government would make this choice, instead of leaving this to the private sector, is beyond me. But nevertheless, someone decided that despite the millions in India living without electricity and toilets and food, the best allocation of India government rupees would be a brand new fishery here in Hyderabad.
Okay, it seems like a questionable call, to spend government rupees this way, but maybe, like the India space programme, it can be partly justified as something that will help create new jobs and new businesses. Doubtful, but at least open to a logical debate.And that would all be well and good, except the government didn’t stop there. Some official — perhaps the same insightful person who decided the fishery was needed — also decided that the fishery should look like a fish. A really gigantic fish. With fins and eyes and a tail.
Now, I have to assume that designing and building a fishery that looks like a giant fish costs millions of rupees more than building a fishery that looks like… well, a building, not a fish. I mean, just one of those giant eyes had to add quite a few rupees to the budget. And that is completely unacceptable.
Think of it this way. Let’s say the India government decided to launch a spaceship, to go to Mars. A questionable call, for reasons already mentioned. Then let’s say, instead of using a conventional, relatively cost-effective, tried and true rocket ship that looks — as all rockets look — like a giant pencil, the government instead decided to spend crores and crores more to make it look like, I don’t know, the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, or the Enterprise from Star Trek. It would be cool, it would be amazing, and I’m sure all the Indians without electricity and toilets and adequate food would be most impressed.But I wouldn’t be. I would be angry. And I think you should be angry too.
A foreigner’s observations on living,working, surviving and thriving in India.