22 June, 2021

Shall We Leave It to the Experts?

"I am, apparently, a writer-activist. (Like a sofa-bed.) Why does that make me flinch?" asks Arundhati Roy. Because it suggests writers are too effete to come up with the clarity for debate. "Go and play with your toys, leave the real world to us," g

Shall We Leave It to the Experts?
India lives in several centuries at the same time. Somehow we manage to progress and regress simultaneously. As a nation we age by pushing outwards from the middle—adding a few centuries on to either end of our extraordinary CV. We greaten like the maturing head of a hammer-headed shark with eyes looking in diametrically opposite directions. On the one hand, we hear that European countries are considering changing their immigration laws in order to import Indian software engineers. On the other, that a Naga sadhu at the Kumbh Mela towed the district collector's car with his penis while the officer sat in it solemnly with his wife and children.

As Indian citizens, we subsist on a regular diet of caste massacres and nuclear tests, mosque breaking and fashion shows, church burning and expanding cellphone networks, bonded labour and the digital revolution, female infanticide and the Nasdaq crash, husbands who continue to burn their wives for dowry, and our delectable stockpile of Miss Worlds. I don't mean to put a simplistic value judgement on this peculiar form of 'progress'...
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