Posted by: cochinblogger | July 23, 2010

An Anecdote from Germany

This true story is from my father, who is 82 years old. It is set in Germany after the First World War, which was a time of anarchy. A mob entered the premises of a railway station to burn it down. Nothing unusual so far; it is the sort of thing that happens all over the world in times of great social and economic upheavals.

What was different about this incident is a tiny detail: each member of the mob purchased platform tickets before entering the station, after which they duly burned it to the ground!

Doesn’t this say something about the national character of the Germans? What do we Indians think of our national character? What does the rest of the world think of our national character? What are our strengths and weaknesses?

First things first; let us shed preconceived assumptions. Does something called national character exist in the first place?

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