links for 2009-02-26

26 Feb
  • I have never felt like leaving my country for good. Yesterday I felt that. For that day I was homeless and orphaned and helpless in a way like never before. The residual feeling today is one of deep sadness at the frailty of humanity. The end of innocence for having stared at the nobility of the human spirit caving into the heart of darkness.

    I am tired.

  • The government, confused by missives of roses, hugs and protests (apart from our pink underwear) ensured some protection on Valentine’s Day. But when the brother and sister in Ujjain were beaten up because the vigilantes mistook them for a couple, did you laugh or cry? It was not enough for us, the laughing hordes who found each other this week, when Muthalik was taken into preventive custody. It is not the dusty obscurity we want for him. Ashwini Mulya was 15 years old when she committed suicide a week ago. Saleem, her lover/friend stands accused of her rape while the men who assaulted her in public go blameless.
    …the calls we have received in the last few days. Men…with laughter lacing their voice, have called us to say they are not fanatics, do not like Valentine’s Day or pubs. For the hundredth time, when we explained that we did not particularly care for either, then the well-spoken callers asked us, “Then why are you all getting worked up about a few girls who got beaten?”
  • Fantastic concept. Have always wondered why we didn't have it in India. Currently available in NCR
  • Our nations have shared interests when it comes to such familiar issues as trade and terrorism, but there is more to international relations than interests, defined narrowly and politically. Americans watching Slumdog Millionaire may marvel at the sensory assault that is Bombay street life and recoil from the squalor of the Juhu slums, but they must also experience a sense, perhaps uncomfortable, of recognition. Multiethnic, multilingual, marked both by fierce entrepreneurial energy and economic anxiety, with both gods and gangs competing for turf, India is a foreign nation that's not so foreign. For reasons of ethnicity and history, and …language, Americans tend to identify with…UK and Canada. But the facts on the ground are different: India is the second most populous nation…US is the third. We both have ruling classes that speak English and underclasses that don't. It is not in the future but in the present that our challenges should be recognised as more alike than different.
1 Comment

Posted by on February 26, 2009 in Links


One response to “links for 2009-02-26

  1. Mitch

    February 27, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I don’t know about American romanticization of India, but I am as guilty as anyone of fascination. Above all else is our peculiar relationship with Britain: our rebellion ended the first British empire, yours the second. I think we share the anger and yearning of the rejected child, half reconciled, yet grown to strength, more a peer and a rival to the parent than a dependent.

    In any event, the Indians I have met (typically at work) seem more than halfway assimilated the minute they step off the plane. I knew one fellow from Delhi who took up snowboarding his first winter in Boston; no doubt it was more convenient here than there. They look kind of like us (we’re pretty various), laugh at the same jokes (you can hear Santa Banta jokes told in the US about many other nationalities, including one’s own), speak the same language (among others), and work their butts off, which we respect greatly. When you consider, for example, that many Americans’ grandparents couldn’t speak English any more than yours could, you may find yourself as startled by the similarities as by the differences between our people. Imagine that you may have had an uncle of whom you have heard little, and that in hushed tones; imagine now that you have an unsuspected cousin turn up. That’s pretty much how I figure we see each other.

    And btw, Valentine’s Day is a conspiracy by the florists, jewelers, and greeting card manufacturers. If you must participate, stick to chocolates and eat half of them yourself.


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