The word on the street is that India is ready to finally rise and shine and take it's rightful place as one of the world's foremost superpowers. What is it about being a superpower that really attracts us? Besides giving nostalgic NRI's who meet every Sunday something other than marriage & food to talk about, what good is it, really?
Maybe it's because I never stayed in a hostel or joined the Boy Scouts, but I don't see the point of playing the geographical version of "Mine is Bigger".
If you look at the evidence, being a superpower is not all that it is cracked up to be.
Superpowers have to keep fighting wars. Even those which they have won. Did you know that there are still more than fifty thousand American soldiers stationed in Germany? Why? Probably just in case Germany gets that funny feeling in it's stomach and wants to try to take over the world again. No wonder McCain claimed that the US would be in Iraq for more than a hundred years. In India, we don't like wars. No, not because of the millions of lives that are fruitlessly lost. We don't like wars because they ruin the cricket season.
Superpowers also have to keep demonising an enemy with newer and newer stuff. We can't do that. We basically keep hugging Pakistan while it keeps stabbing us in the back. Also, the demonizing turns sadistic and people turn on each other (Does McCarthyism ring a bell? In fact, if had something like that in India, we would be like a nation of Vivek Oberois. That scares me. A lot).
Superpowers need to engineer & arrange coups in different parts of the world. Our intelligence department can't even arrange a dinner party.
Superpowers also need to keep messing with their smaller neighbors. And everyone knows that we love our smaller neighbours. Specially Bhutan, who we find so cute with their long robes and their pointy roofs. Let's face it, we quite love that little fella.
Superpowers also collect bad karma. As Sharon Stone told me one day during our yoga class with Deepak Chopra, Karma is a bitch. Between themselves, both the US and Russia have collected so much bad karma that it's coming to bite them in the ass. How else can you explain the career of Anastacia?
Then there is the superpower of yore, good ol' Britannia. If Britain were a person, it would presently be like a failed actor who shoots and releases his own 'sex-tape' which ends up getting him a half-hour "Where are they now?" special on VH1 and an interview with The Daily Mail. Even TMZ won't give a shit about that sucka.
A 'perk' of being a permanent member of the UN security council is something other former and current superpowers enjoy. Pfft. The security council reacts to events in two ways: (a) By issuing a strongly worded statement (b) By issuing a harsh, mean and really strongly worded statement which ends with an exclamation mark. The UN security council is as effective as my school's debate club. (Which, for the record, I was not part of. Why? Well, I think I was spending too much time studying the effects of medical marijuana. Also, the dude heading the debate team was sort of a cunt. Yes, I know. Sounds exactly like the guy who heads the United Nations!).
Being a member of the security council doesn't even get you tickets to a Depeche Mode concert. And no one really goes to their concerts! Also, despite all the rumors, there is no special supermarket for superpowers. It's just a sham, like the son of a deposed Nigerian prince and Shah Rukh Khan's marriage.
So instead of concentrating all our energy on being a "superpower", why not concentrate our energies somewhere else? Why not go in a different direction? A more saner one. Like Canada. Of course, you don't hear about Canada a lot. Which is a good thing. They've got healthcare for everyone, marriage equality, medical marijuana and authentic Punjabi cuisine. What's not to like?
Also, we're almost halfway there. So it won't take a huge effort. Like Canada, we have one huge national sport. Like Canada, our version of MTV sucks too. And as for the Prime Minister who looks like an old lesbian, well, for that we have Jairam Ramesh.
History is not something that can only useful to politicians so that they can distort it for their personal gain. It also helps us learn from the mistakes of the past.
So what we need to learn from history is that just like bell-bottoms and flannel shirts, being a superpower is so out of date.