24 June, 2021

Deep Fried in Nani's Desi Ghee

A spirited response to Ramachandra Guha's critique of NRIs

illustration by Sorit
Deep Fried in Nani's Desi Ghee

A 'native intellectual', suggested Frantz Fanon, the great freedom fighter from Martinique, is essential to the development of any great nation as it comes into its own after decades of colonization. Fanon, a complex thinker by nature, evolved a whole theory of how intellectuals could and should participate in the life of their country. They had to find ways to engage with ordinary people and their aspirations and to think about the many meanings of freedom, justice and democracy beyond simply replacing white rulers with black or brown ones. Native intellectuals would need, above all, to discard their smug complacency, learn to be self-critical and forge international alliances with like-minded others. (Though from Martinique, he himself worked alongside the Algerian anti-colonial movement).

But these old freedom fighter types, our own Gandhi and Tagore included, really were rather long-winded and needlessly sophisticated. Who can blame them? They missed the cyber age where we do things faster and with a lot less agonizing...

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