Friday, 2 October 2009

अंग्रेज़ गए लेकिन






In last Sunday's Hindustan Times Vir Sanghvi comments on Shashi Tharoor's 'Cattle class tweet'. (You can read the full article here.) I quote from Counterpoint, Sanghvi's column:


"But while I'm mostly on Tharoor's side on this one, the contretemps seems to me to be one more reminder of how difficult it is for successful professionals to fit into the Indian political mainstream. They usually don't understand the system, they rarely master its idiom, and most times, the system unites to repel them.
You may not think this. If you look at Indian politics today, it seems full of bright, articulate professionals, most of whom speak good English and all of whom love to appear on television. Many people argue that politics is now full of smart young guys who have replaced the dhoti-wallahs of old."


The italics in the quote are mine and so is the anger: If you speak good English and wear Western clothes you are smart, modern, intelligent, cool and whatever. 


Huh?!


Vir Sanghvi is a very senior journalist whose other column 'Rude Food' influences hundreds of people in their choice of restaurants and hotels. Hundreds and not thousands or millions because the places he reviews are out of reach of the dhoti-clad masses (except the ones in politics of course). Maybe he should just stick to being rude about food. But I am being nasty. And I am loving it.


A day later, I happen to see a TV commercial for a brand of paints. It shows a wall getting messed up while a man tries to clean it. His son says, “क्यों हो गया ना, California Orange का Nagpur Orange?”


Closer home, in my daughter’s diary I stumble upon a list of cool and uncool things. One of the ‘cool’ things is ‘having an accent’.


There is a disclaimer at the end of Sanghvi’s column: The views expressed by the author are personal.
I wish they had remained so.

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