ARE YOU GUYS WARPED IN YOUR HEAD - An irate Indian’s viewpoint
Courtney- Ceylon Today-17-October
Govindaraj S. wants to share with everyone in a world 'forum' an interesting blog that has gone viral via email, which hit my mailbox too, on a frustrating and disappointing viewpoint of an Indian lady about the British, following her daughter's traumatic experience in connection with a visa application through the UK VFS office.
VFS is the world's largest outsourcing and technology services, specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, serving 51 client governments in 126 countries with 2,260 application centres. Company statistics reveal the agency has processed 130 million applications since its inception in 2001. Under the company's ‘vision and mission’ it is described as a company 'to be the market leader in Visa, Consular and Identity Management solutions industry. VFS Global is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kuoni Group, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
Services And Solutions
This Indian lady's experience is very common not only to India but many a South Asian country, as the sole responsibility of dealing with tourist and entry visas to the UK is passed on to the VFS agency who accepts the documentation and apparently forwards it to the visa officer in a particular High Commission or to the nearest office in a neighbouring country. A clouded area that has been highlighted in this experience is to what extent the staff of the Agency is proficient and qualified to vet a prospective application prior to forwarding it to a visa officer as the Visa officer, to be fair by his decision, has to go through what is written on the application, and it is up to the adeptness and competence of the officer at the agency to ensure that an application has been properly and accurately vetted, rather than just doing a collection service and charging money for it.
If a survey is done out of those who had applied for tourist entry visas to the UK, via VFS Agency, from Far Eastern countries, and their experiences are catalogued, it will not give a rosy picture at all, but find many have been disappointed, frustrated and annoyed at the rejection as well as having lost a good amount of money as visa fee! The worse being the verdicts or the explanations given for rejection come in the form of a computer printed version on a plain A4 sheet, with only the reference number and no name of the officer, signature or insignia of the British Government. (Neither the VFS Agency or British Government official headed paper).
The writer having lived and worked in the UK for many years is fully aware how the UK Civil Service Administration works - i.e. all communications to the public are sent on an official headed note paper with the government insignia and every communication carrying signature and the name of the author, printed underneath the signature.
When the private agency acting on behalf of the UK Government, sends a communication of importance to an applicant with regard to his/her rejection of entry visa, surely, the person who takes the responsibility of conveying the message is obliged to reveal his name with his signature, as per UK Civil Service protocol. When VFS office or the High Commission concerned decides to send an ordinary' computer printout giving reasons for rejection, in most cases stating quoting the phrase, "In my opinion I am not convinced that you..." it simply turns into a mockery of the system and simultaneously does a great deal of harm towards the reputation of the British authorities!
Not only this Indian lady's daughter had been denied, but rubbing salt to injury applicant's passport had not been returned within the specified and allotted time frame too, which forced the applicant and the family to cancel their paid holiday.
Venting her anger, the mother of the applicant addresses her feelings specifically to the Queen of England, British Prime Minister at Downing Street, the 'King in eternal waiting' Prince Charles and the complete set of Royals, Members of the House of Lords, House of Commons and generally to all 'dry stiff upper lip English folks' as follows:
Origins of the British in India
"You came to India 270 years ago without a visa and without a "May we please....... “. And we welcomed you because, as Indians, we believed in Athithi Devo Bhava... as we still do... meaning a “guest is like God Himself in Disguise".
"When you overstayed did we say anything? NO...! Then you played dirty politics and did we say anything. NO!! You ruled us by turning us into slaves in our own country, and we didn't say a word...? We were meek, mild and peace loving people. You took our Kohinoor and did we say anything. NO...! You killed, looted and made a mockery of us till we could not take any more. You made us fight your wars, and we shed blood for a war in which we had nothing to gain... all we did was to lose young Indian and Gurkha lives".
"You were thrown out of the country without any bloodshed, but even as you left you divided us and left a bloody trail on your way out! Did we say anything? NO..! But you still didn't leave us alone but got thousands of Indians to migrate to the UK to do your dirty menial jobs, and even there you treated us like second-class citizens. Did we say anything NO! You made our Mother tongue a second language and did we say anything..?? NO you left a whole generation of Indians who were clueless as to whom they were... a brown sahib or a home-grown Indians..?? You bastardized our language, our food, our clothes, our religion, our customs our habits, our perceptions, our pretty much everything... and yet we only threw you out"..!
“Every country that you ruled threw you out.... Have you ever thought WHY..?? It's time to do a reality check...and please do it fast, British People’! It's known that Indians like London as a holiday destination... ever wondered why..?? Because all of us have read British History..., War of Roses, Henry I to Henry VIII shoved down our throats... We probably know more about you then you know about yourself. But now as a rich upcoming nation we want to see and want our children to see you in your own grounds. And since you have given us Cricket, which is a craze with us, every self-respecting Indian wants to go to Lords... it's like a pilgrimage! And we are at home in London.... Oh stop curling your stiff upper lip anymore or it will crack..!! Because, it's familiar territory and has enough Indian Food... and anyway, didn't we read about Chicken Tikka Masala being your National Food..?? And enough Indian..!
"We Indians like familiarity wherever we go... Plus you really can't afford to shop at Harrods and Selfridges... We can! Oh yes...! That's the bitter truth... swallow it with your cuppa..!! And if we don't drink or buy your Scotch and Single Malts... your fine breweries will shut down..! Another bitter pill... swallow that too with your pint... because you can ONLY afford that while we hard working Indians glug, glug on your finest"..!
“You are and have been a nation of traders for centuries. So to make it short and sweet and hit you where it hurts... we Indians are holding up your economy... and yet you give us a run around for the visas..?? Are you guys warped in your head...? Oh!! You surely are..! Otherwise you would still be ruling the world... now all you have is a tiny island and the stolen Kohinoor.”.!
“We, Indians, have the money, speak better English than you. We are more educated and we spend lavishly.... So we call the shots here...get it..? Your economy survives on the Pounds that we Indians spend, and so does your real Estate because the maximum real estate investors are Indians..! I am not even going into the issue of how the Indians hold most of the wealth in the UK..., because that would be the final straw that broke the Camel's back.”.!!
“No, no..! You guys never learn..! Take a lesson from USA... every step to get one's visa is streamlined, and in two minutes one knows whether one has got a visa or not. But you guys think you are too good to even speak to us... you hide behind an iron curtain, a faceless cold persona that is inaccessible..! Once the passport is given to the VFS... all we do is have to wait twiddling our thumbs. You take Rs 500 extra to give us mobile updates... nothing ever comes of it.... not even one message”.
"We can't call anyone... and there is a London number, which says 'please deposit 'x' pounds before you can speak to someone'.... Gosh...! you are really quite broke..! I don't blame you... what with the upkeep of the Queen and her kids and their nannies... and their mistresses and boyfriends and divorcees and wild parties... there aren't much left to go around..! So you try and get it from folks applying for a visa... keep the money, deny them a visa... but then the problem is not the visa... the passport you hold onto interminably... and give people the run around".
"Will the British bureaucracy turn over a new leaf ever? Is that your way of deriving sadistic pleasure against a people who you once ruled and now they occupy your country and control the economy..?? What's wrong with you guys..?? Why can't you just have a system like the USA...? Why don't you get off your high horse and learn new things..?? Or, hasn't anyone told you that you guys no longer rule the world..?? Oh..! Oh..!! Don't look so shocked... you seriously didn't know... that the sun does not rise or set in the British Empire any longer.??"
"What Empire... ha, ha, ha, ha ..! It's even smaller than one State in India.... You Brits live under illusions and delusions.... and now I guess dementia is setting in too! Oh..! even Ireland / Scotland / Wales don't want to have anything to do with you... and Australia NZ too... I can't help but gloat and say those famous lines from the Hindi Movie Sholay... "Ab tera kya hoga goray...??"
"The British High Commission... please understand. People here work for a living and we guys don't have dole. People plan holidays in advance, book tickets in advance and take leave from work in advance... then they apply for a UK Visa much in advance... yet even after reading their travel dates you don't give them their passports in time. Then we have to cancel all our flight tickets and bookings made online... have you no compassion..?? Or maybe you don't know how the three R's... Come join one of our convent schools and you will have perfect knowledge of reading writing and arithmetic..! And that stiff upper lip... gosh someone please smash a fist into it once and for all..! "
"Another point... Why would any happy Indian living under a hot Indian Sun, with servants to do work and drivers to drive their fancy cars... want to go and live in London..?? Dreary gloomy grey weather... cold... and cold unsmiling faces in blacks and greys.... get over yourselves, Brits..! Stop looking at every brown coloured person with suspicion..! You are not superior... and your country doesn't have much to offer..! Earlier... at least there was Diana... now toh woh bhi nahin hai... (even she is not around anymore). Hamarey pass MNC's, Computer Savvy population, a buzzing economy and sunshine hai... tumharey pass kya hai??? (What are you so proud about?) One small voice from the British Isle says... Hamarey pass Queen hai..! Indians double up laughing... much to the annoyance of the Brits... they laugh and laugh... and finally one of them says... she is a symbol of our glorious past....past mind you...that is where you live".