01 October, 2020

Wage A War To Win Your Peace

The Constitution, not the Hindu Right, grants the Muslim his place in the country. It's his Indianness he can use as a weapon of assertion.

illustration by Jayachandran
Wage A War To Win Your Peace
Milesburg, Pennsylvania: The proximity of surplus and tawdriness in a bus terminal—potato chips, bottles of Coke, a gambling machine, and a large lavatory all in reach of each other. Two days ago, a co-passenger on the Greyhound from New York had told me grizzlies live here. I had given my talk at Penn State University, and was waiting for the Greyhound to New York.

The bus arrived, half full. People, some of them travelling for 12 hours or more, disembarked and dispensed with urgent needs. Among those who had alighted I noticed a dark man with thick glasses who was obviously from the subcontinent. The man, finishing his cup of coffee, seemed far more at ease in the bus terminal, which felt to me not only foreign but metaphysically alien, than I was. The friend who had invited me to Penn State said I "cultivate discomfort"; I couldn't say the same about this man.

There was nowhere on the bus you could sit by yourself. Among the doughnut-eating representatives of various races, I chose the neighbour that seemed the most focused but the most amenable; I sat next to the...


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