An exclusive interview with Taha Kutay, newly appointed CEO of Asia TV in London, on what being a Living Bridge between India and the UK means to him.
What does a ‘bridge’ between India and the UK mean to you personally?
The bridge between India and UK was essentially created when the East India Company went to India to do business, but things turned out to be that India was annexed by the British. Although India did get freedom from the British, we kept their legacies. Till today the Indian legal system, bureaucracy is what we follow which was left behind by the British. Some people might think that this is a negative thing but, in my opinion, today India is on the world stage because there were very strong systems left behind by the British. This bridge was created and made stronger as time passed.
Today again we have embarked on a journey to make that bridge even stronger by helping the young vibrant India to perform on the world stage, where everyone takes notice of them in every industry. We need to make sure the information flow through this bridge help our counterparts in India to excel on an international level in business, education and politics.
How do you feel connected to India as a member of the diaspora?
I came to UK in 2002 and was lost till I found my Indian roots. It is because of India I was recognised in this alien city. I quickly realised the power of the Indian Diaspora. Today we are economically the strongest and most successful diaspora in the UK which is equally recognised by the population and government of Britain. It is our duty that we keep the diaspora thriving and bring the diversity out in front of others for them to recognise how open Indians are in their mindset. We have excelled in professionalism and for us to keep the momentum going we need new leaders from the Indian diaspora to come into the main stream. I’m a great believer that culture plays a large role in making a society successful and what a better example than Indians who have conquered the world with cultural means.
The diaspora gave me the identity and sense of belonging in UK and I have always promoted this fact with everyone who has come to Britain from any part of the world and not just India. Even business between diaspora is easy to conduct as you come from the same background and understand the values/ethos of each other.
Diaspora holds a very important role in development of India because we are the people who take the experience and knowledge back to be disseminated to our peers. This dialogue needs to be ever going.
What does the idea of ‘India’ means to you?
India means to me a whole lot of things to me like we are a continent living in a country. Where language changes every few hundred kilometres, culture changes every few thousand kilometres, where all religions live in harmony. It is amazing how India has achieved what it has achieved in such a short amount of time. We are world leaders and we will lead the world from the front in a few years because of our cultural, social, political and business values.
We are the biggest consumers of most things in the world and every other country wants to work with us. We have dominance in the world, but we do not show it because of our humble nature. This is what has made us Indians the most successful whether in India or outside.
India to me means a dominant power which is still in it’s dormant stage and it will suddenly rise to take the world by surprise. Watch this space.
Do you think there is more than one ‘India’? Why?
Yes, there is an India in India and there are several India’s outside India. There is a famous saying, “You can take an Indian out of India, but you cannot take the Indianness out of an Indian”.
We Indians were instrumental in making the Chicken Tikka Masala the national dish of Britain. Who could ever imagine such a thing will ever happen, that too in Britain. This is just one example and there are several examples which can showcased. Imagine the Masala Bonds on London Stock Exchange (LSE). Who could have ever imagined such a bond being listed on LSE. India is growing in every aspect possible which means the India’s are growing. Every Indian is an ambassador of India who is promoting India on every platform. So, we are producing new India’s everyday in every single industry of the world. I firmly believe there are Indian people in every country of the world and there is an India in every country
As India looks out to a globalising world, do you think it is becoming more progressive?
India is becoming progressive superpower economically. As the largest democracy of the world India is becoming more uncivilised. In recent times what we have seen happening in the name of religion is making India look like a very religious under developed and with a skewed approach towards tolerance of other religions.
International media outlets have taken a very grim view of the situation of India. Indian media does not report things which are very important for the world to know in case of religion, women and finance. India has been given the tag for the world’s most unsafe country for women. To become a superpower India must come over a lot of issues and one of them is women empowerment and women safety.
A country progression is recognised by freedom of speech and freedom of movement. It seems in both cases India has retracted than progressed. India needs a change in it’s thinking, and it has to start from the roots. We at Bridge India have to bring this change which is eminent for India’s progression.