Indian Decade

India’s Expo Clichés

India has shown little imagination in showcasing the country at the Shanghai World Expo.

Unfortunately, even some of the most embarrassing incidents don't surprise me with this country. Like the article I read this week in the Times of India on the poor show India has put in at the Shanghai World Expo.

The correspondent details how the Indian organisers displayed little imagination and even less skill in executing an exhibition that’s supposed to highlight India's growing stature in the global economic landscape. Instead, our organizers have resorted to clichés like pedaling stereotypical Indian produce like our spicy street food at an event that is expected to see more than 70 million visitors over the next few months.

Even the signage at the India pavilion had typos apparently, while the heavily bureaucratic banner atop a stall selling Indian handicrafts had ‘Ministry of Rural of Development’ written in what most be the most unappealing font imaginable. Surely that's not a function of lack of creativity, just gross negligence? The pavilion, meanwhile, has cost the Indian exchequer about $9 million.

Within hours of being published on the Times of India website, the article had received over 130 comments, with dozens of Indian expatriates talking about similar shoddy attempts at branding India in missions in the United Kingdom and United States among other places. I’ve often voiced my anxieties about whether India will be able to pull off the Commonwealth Games in October. With yet another reminder of what our government and bureaucracy is capable of dishing out, I have to say my concerns have been inflamed again.