Friday, January 26, 2007

Two books...and some random thoughts

This Christmas I got Rory Stewart's "Places in Between". It has been a really long time since I have come across a book like this. Reminded me of Pico Iyer. The author does a great job of covering the society, politics in a story about his travel in Afghanistan. Sensitive but honest he calls a spade a spade.

Then, there was Amartya Sen's "Argumentative Indian". It is a lot of chest thumping, nehruvian bs. And, he goes to great lengths to prove india's "secular" credentials. Of course, since he was born in modern day Bangladesh he even refers to Bangladesh as being secular. Yeah, right. And, for some reason this guy has an axe to grind with the right wing BJP. He says they tried to make the Indo-European Sanskrit as an indigenous language even though best known Sanskrit grammarian Panini was from Afghanistan. Hey, back then Afghanistan was part of the indian geo-cultural entity. And, hard core right wing folks will call it a part of Akhand Bharat. And, why is it that people invoke the name of Akhbar to prove the secular credentials of muslims rulers of India. Akhbar certainly was secular and a man centuries ahead of his time. But, he reigned for a mere 50 years in the 700 years of Muslim rule of India.

P.S: The Shilpa Shetty Big Brother controversy is funny at many levels. First we have an out of work/ down on luck Bollywood actress going on a reality program seeking attention. Then, we have the desis (the biggest racist bunch I know of) waving their fingers, placards and calling the Brits names. Of course, we have the Brits desperately trying to prove that they are not racist. Yeah, right. Just about everyone of us is racist. To what level and how we choose to express our prejudices differ.

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