Finally , an articulate Indian politician on American TV

Discussion in 'Americas' started by mattster, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    After years of seeing bumbling Indian ambassadors and diplomats on American TV who can barely articulate the Indian view, and with an accent so thick that even we Indians in the US can barely understand what they are saying, it was a pleasure to see an articulate, professional, savvy Indian diplomat like Shashi Taroor on Fareed Zakaria GPS program on CNN this morning.

    I hope that the Indian government is finally getting what the Pakistanis have always understood. If you want to communicate a message effectively in the US.then you need fluent English speakers who have a neutral accent that makes them easily understandable on TV to the average american/international viewer.

    I have always been impressed by the professional articulate Pakistani diplomats that are sent to Washington and appear on TV.

    Its about time India got its act together on the PR side of diplomacy.

    Here is the link: Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com
     
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  3. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    You were impressed by the articulate Pakistani Diplomats in Washington? hmmm and what have they got in return from uncle sam for talking so good and sounding "neutral"? F18s? Phalcons? P8s???

    Well they get the aid, which they will get even if they keep their mouth shut, because of the neighborhood they are in and the leverage they have vis a vis afpak!

    I too like to see Diplomats who speak well everywhere. But We shouldnt stress too much on accents and all. I mean, what ultimately counts is the leverage your country has with the World at large and how your nation is viewed.

    Even if the Paks rope in Chuck Norris to speak for them, it wont matter, and things will be the same.

    Oh and Shashi Tharoor does speak well, I feel most of our Current crop of Ministers speak pretty well, be is Chidambaram, Krishna et al.
     
  4. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Haha. Articulate Pakistani diplomats. No comments for that one.

    You were probably impressed by his Received Pronunciation accent, eh Mattster? Not cool man.
     
  5. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Ahmed, you are missing my point, totally.

    I did not suggest that previous Indian ambassadors and diplomats that I refered to a "bumbling" did not have any substance or are dumb. They may indeed be very competent individuals but their communication skills sucked !!

    The point is in today's globalized world, it does not matter how smart you are if you cannot communicate effectively to the masses.

    That is a fundamental skill that a diplomat should have, and language proficiency is the key component in that.

    I have seen hundreds of engineers here from India and China who cant effectively communicate but that is understandable since they are engineers and not diplomats.

    If you are a foreign diplomat posted in the US. You must be able to communicate effectively otherwise people simply tune you out. Bottom line is: you have to make your case strongly to the global audience on TV and win the battle of public perception, and not just to other politicians in private.
     
  6. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    I dont know what you are rambling about "received pronunciation accent". WTF does that mean ??

    All I am saying is that if you are a freaking diplomat communicating to a mass audience in the US , you had better be able to speak the language in a neutral accent so that people watching you can understand you.

    Unfortunately many of the previous Indian foreign service diplomats that have appeared on TV did not have that ability to communicate effectively.
     
  7. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    The funny thing about this forum is that you cannot say one positive thing about Pakistanis, without a bunch of people jumping on you regardless of weather that statement it is true or not.

    I am certainly no fan of Pakistan, and there is very little that is good to say about Pakistan, but still sometimes you have to give credit, where credit is due.

    When you let your nationalistic impulses get in the way of your head, then, that is what is "not cool".
     
  8. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Now that was totally uncalled for! We dont see Pakistanis as born enemies of India or anything of that sort. Mind you, We have Pakistani Star Members etc. I myself have praised the PAF on many occassions, We have members here who have admired the road network in pakistan, We have a Pakistani running a thread wherein anyone can ask him about Pakistan, and that thread is going good, you should check all these things out before posting comments such as the one you just did.

    Lastly, I cannot agree with your point that If a Diplomat Accent is "neutral" He/She has a better chance of being heard seriously. I Just cant agree with that completely, because the weight Diplomats are given are based on the Global standing of their Country!
     
  9. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Ahmed, I agree with you that the weight a diplomat is given depends on Global standing of the country. However, in the arena of public opinion, you still must be able to communicate effectively to your target audience. Its not just the accent, its everything that allows a speaker to come across crisply to the audience.

    Public opinion matters in countries like the US, it strongly influences the decisions that politicians, senators and congressman make and how they vote on various measures.

    Case in point - Israel. Why do you think that the Israelis have so much support in the US ,its not just because of the awesome lobbying power of the rich Israeli lobby, they also know how to play the game of "public opinion".
     
  10. Indianrabbit

    Indianrabbit Regular Member

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    Global standing of country comes first and is most important. At the same time it cannot be ruled out that communications do matter. It might not be accent but how effectively you can pass on the message. I rank chidambaran very high on that, have you got chance to watch his interviews.
     
  11. Quickgun Murugan

    Quickgun Murugan Regular Member

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    Which Pakistani diplomat are you impressed with?

    I am a fan of Shasi Tharoor's articulate speech and writings too. He has excellent communications and debating skills. Should have been a dynamite while dating:sarcastic:

    However, I do not recall any Indian diplomat to the US who was'nt able to communicate well. Is there anyone specific whom you were not so happy representing India in US?

    If I am getting your post right, you are trying to say that since Shasi tharoor has a fluent American English accent, he would be able to reach the American Public better. Well, I tend to disagree with that concept.

    I feel that different accent of the same language makes the people more interested in your conversation and makes them concentrate on you better. That is why some Americans try to imitate British accent just to get noticed. The french, italian, chinese or japanese have their own way of speaking English like most indians and there is absolutely no problem with that.
     
  12. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    [mod] Avoid dots while posting , and title also , it is against the forum rule , see rule 17 here [/mod]
     
  13. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mattster, I"m not being nationalistic, but please do tell me which Pakistani diplomat has impressed you. Haqqani? Durrani? Karamat?

    And which Indian ambassador did you find to be bumbling? Ronen Sen was it? Or Meera Shankar?

    Shashi Tharoor is no doubt a brilliant man, but frankly there's a lot more to diplomacy than being media-savvy. That's not to say that Tharoor is all show and no substance, quite the opposite infact I feel, but really I'm inclined to believe that its his BBC accent that impressed you more than anything else.
     
  14. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    The only thing that sets Tharoor apart from say Ronnen Sen, is the accent. India has its own recognised English accent. Software developers for example, already consider En-IN different from En-US (since we've mixed up spellings from En-US and En-UK). So anyone sounding like the way Ronen Sen for example would sound like, isn't not being articulate.

    Indian English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  15. borgking82

    borgking82 Regular Member

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    I agree with you matt, credit should be given when its due.
     
  16. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Oh, believe me, I'm dying to give credit where its due. But please, do tell us, where exactly is it due?
     
  17. AkhandBharat

    AkhandBharat Regular Member

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    To the OP,

    Oh you funny little man! Don't ye know that there are too many overt and covert analysis that goes on behind doors in each country's political room thus culminating in the geopolitical events churning out everyday? This is politics, not some door-to-door sales that is going on amongst ambassadors. Every little action of every major political figure is taken note of and analysed. Its consequences evaluated and then responses are doled out.

    Countries like Germany, Russia don't even speak in English when they attend global summit conferences, yet every word they speak of is analysed by the translators. Its not the language that is the barrier. At all. This is not a business meeting. Its geopolitics. All you need are big guns and alignment of goals. Not fluency in speech. That comes cheap.
     
  18. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    To our credit India has had no 'bumbling' ambassadors in the last decade or so.Ronnen sen can certainly be considered one of the co architect of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and led the Indian diplomatic offensive in the US against the anti deal lobbyist,in the congress and the media,with great merit and dexterity.If anything it was glib talk about Indian politicians being "head less chickens"(which is exactly what they were,although it was wrong fora govt servant to say so) that got him into trouble here.

    Lalit man singh and Naresh Chandra both have been credited for building a very strong pro Indian lobby in the Washington.Pakistanis keep talking about how the kargil conflict was diplomatic victory for Indian long before Indian armed forces made them scoot from our hills,lot of that credit should go to Naresh Chandra.

    Bumbling and incompetent certainly no sir !
     
  19. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Mattster, I don't know about which Indian diplomat you are talking about but I have never come across bumbling foreign officers or ambassadors. They are the cream of the Indian civil services and are the best trained.

    Perhaps, what you might have observed is Pakistani diplomats are more often seen than Indian diplomats on the American television and so you are trying to construe it in this way. But it will be great if you point out those specific instances where you came across Indian bumbling diplomats.
     
  20. mehwish92

    mehwish92 Founding Member

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    Pakistani diplomats may be better dressed, and have better accents when it comes to communicating with the americans/other countries, but ...

    they tend to say stupid things (no offense to fellow pakistanis). Anybody remember Pervez Musharraf's interview in Canada a couple years back? He ticked off a large number of Canadians with what he said.
     
  21. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    If we specifically talk about the accents with which the language is spoken within the diplomat community of Pakistanis appointed in Washington, then there is no denying the fact that they have an accent which might sound neutral to an American than when the same language is spoken by our diplomats.

    The reason for this is very easy to understand, one just needs to look at the background of the people who hold the top positions in politics and armed forces and the background of Pakistani diplomats and bureaucrats also does not change. These are generally the elites of that society, pretty well off whose parents have had enough money to support the education of their kids in overseas countries and as kids these people have developed their accents in all those countries.

    On the contrary the same by any stretch of imagination cant be said about the Indians. People come from varied backgrounds where foreign educated people is a rare exception with almost everyone having done their studies in India so the accent the way it sounds but to term it as bumbling would absolutely be wrong.

    But does it really matter who speaks with what accent, as a matter of fact what really matters is what one has achieved at the end of the day, and if anything Indian diplomats have out shown their Pakistani colleagues at the world stage including in Washington by a large margin where today Pakistan is seen as a beggar, terrorist supporting and exporting country and India as a rising economic, intellectual, and military world power.
     

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