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Culture of an egalitarian society



David T. Hopper

The Americans, known for their business-like attitude and fierce defence of their national interests, are seldom overawed by the stature of individuals.

At a lecture organised in Kochi a few days back by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce on `Current trends in Indo-U.S. relations,' U.S. Consul General of the Chennai Consulate David T. Hopper had to answer a seemingly tough question posed by a participant. The question was - India and the U.S. have entered a new era in the field of nuclear cooperation. But a leading Indian nuclear scientist had to wait for hours under the hot sun in front of the Chennai Consulate of the U.S., to get a visa.

The answer was swift. "In an egalitarian society, people do not jump the queue. I do not go to the airport and identify myself as the U.S. Consul General. Instead, I wait in the queue. Secondly, we never knew that a nuclear scientist was in the queue." The barrage would not end there. "Would you have given up your position in the front of the queue to make way for the scientist," Mr. Hopper asked. "I would not like to comment on that," said the participant.

John L. Paul

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