The thread with my friend Arjun Mehta is here: https://www.facebook.com/arjun.arjun.arjun/posts/10151884197867423
I’ve begun to anonymise these conversations since they could be sensitive. My gut feeling is that Dynastic Parties (Congress, PPP, PML-N, BNP, Awami League) are now playing the long-term game. They can lose the next election but in South Asian countries where multi-party coalitions are beginning to emerge (India, Pakistan & SL are states of nations) these dynasties are the only ones with the “star power” to emerge as national champions.
If Britain & her venerable constitutional monarchy (God save the Queen, if we only we had remained as her subjects as the millions of Desis dreaming of escape to Britain & her Old Commonwealth demonstrate) has taught us is that in multi-national democracies we have two outcomes. One is that we constantly feet about demographics (Israel par excellence) or we can have a dynasty that is able to cohere the state into having a collective consciousness.
Ironically India and Pakistan have both reached deep into their subconscious Ids to uplift a national dynasty that appeals to their national model (Ashoka & the Delhi Sultanate). Indians nominated a Parsi-Italian inflected Kashmiri Pandit UP Brahmin legal-scholarly family into the place of honor whereas Pakistan has Sindhi landlords versus Kashmiri-Punjabi urban industrialists. The latter reflects the fact that because of the Muslim heritage (even now in India Muslims form a higher % of the urban population that coupled with Bollywood, Pakidtan and distinctive dress of lower urban class Muslims contribute to their higher than normal national visibility) and Partition Pakistan has always been a more urban nation than South Asia (maybe with the exception of Sri Lanka).
Arjun Mehta: Haha what a show, BJP! Khangress, in your face!
Me: Will they win?
A.M. : Zachary, State elections are just the semi-finals. Central elections are in May. That scene depends on what allies NaMo (BJP + NDA) picks up. I’ve got a good feeling about BJP, now especially after some of the States getting some sense in, but let’s see.
Me: Congress will win Minority + OBC votes.
A.M: They’re (UPA) losing allies mate. All they have is 20-25% votes from the Muslim minorities, but without allies in the center, they won’t win this time. Certainly hope not.
As most of you probably know BP co-founder Razib now writes for Unz.
It’s a great source for alternative media and makes for compelling reading though the corporate Baha’i in me (who likes to see unities upon unity) can’t understand why don’t Taki & Unz effect some sort of merger etc.
Anyway my point being is that Pat Buchanan has a rather alarming post about a resurgent China. Now I deal with a lot of Chinese here in Kampala (in fact I’m transacting with one shortly) and the Chinese have transformed Africa in a dramatic and ultimately positive fashion.
I would have definitely rooted for the BJP in terms of their economic policy and national interest.
Of course I do have a certain hesitation vis a vis Modi since he’s a Muslim-killer but apart from the nasty communalism, it seems that BJP is the right party to reall re-package India. Continue reading
This may apply to 2nd gen Indian-Americans but certainly not to Indians. Every Indian knows their caste. Continue reading
I used to do it in London so now doing it in Kla.
I’ll be excerpting a short passage on the astounding influence Persian cuisine has had on the world (go team Iran).
In the meantime it’s interesting to think if the ad had been about Calcutta would it have had the same emotive strings.
There is no doubt that thanks to Gandhiji (sole credit to him) the Bengal partition was an infinitely less bloody again than the Punjab one.
But the Hindustani-Punjabi axis seems to a dominant strain on South Asian national cultures. There is no doubt there are very strong and resistant regional cultures in the East & South but even so it seems that Desiness is increasingly defined as emerging from that original core of the Subcontinent (I know many commentators hate this reasoning so feel free to disagree within respectable limits), which was the mythical Saraswati between the Indus & Ganges with Lahore & Delhi as the twin peaks.
It’s at odds with South Asian history with the prominence of the Bihar region in formulating much of modern Indian civ but it seems the two “superpowers” of the region (India is a global superpower or on its way, Pakistan is possibly a regional superpower) both derive their state legitimacy and identity on variation and twists from the same core region. It’s sort of like Serbo-Croation; the narcissism of small differences.
Apparently this is the gem of wisdom prevalent in North & South India according to my dinner companions. The 3 Indians (including one southie) were joking and laughing. One was talking about how fair so fair one girl was (he thought she was Kashmiri he was gazzumped when she turned out to be a Natrajan).
Mind you this was at the expats dining club at Kampala’s only Persian restaurant among a group of a frankly baffled black & white crowd. It was surreal to see Desis embarrassing themselves and letting down desidom fawning over the fairness and whiteness South Indian Brahmin. The American had to awkwardly admit, upon promoting by the India, that she could notice the Aryan-Dravidian divide in north & south (I kid u not).
Of course being diplomatic I kept my mouth shut and started teaching the group about Persian customs. If Desis want to embarrass themselves all for it; but the hallowed TNT allows us to skip the obligatory Brahmin worship that seems de jure among our Indian neighbours.
Side note: my fiancée recommends this wonderful ad; http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vGvr3PhLgx8.
Also haven’t read but looks interesting (and more important controversial – Open Zion is closing, which was sort of the BP equivalent for the Levant) – http://himalmag.com/component/content/article/1313-.html. The article is on the psyche of Hindu fascism.
Finally fun fact of the day on the cross-fertilisation of global pop culture; Indian and Filipino soap operas have quite a following in Uganda.
ZackNote: The cost of partition in 29 photos.
Spotted in Kampala:
Even more blatant than Asia’s Fair & Lovely.
My fiancée raised a good point that the word fair is almost never used in London but is instead “pale”, which is almost a pejorative (who wants to be pale and sickly). Needless to say in Britain dark is almost associated with tall dark and handsome and there is a culture of tanning.
If African & Asians are trying to be lighter and Europeans are trying to be darker; are they converging to a happy medium (I jest of course; I think au naturelle is the best look).