Aravind Adiga interview

While perusing the internet for articles about the materials we have read thus far, I came across this article that contains an interview with the author of “White Tiger.” First off, I was surprised at how bold and opinionated the interviewer was in asking Adiga about how he has “the nerve to write about the experiences of India’s poor” and even refers to his narration as a poor man as “ventriloquizing.” According to Stuart Jeffries, Adiga is a relatively well off individual who is both educated and from a good family, making his depiction of a poor Indian character questionable.  The rest of the article seems to be Adiga’s response to this question, and the issue of authority as an author is brought up, which was another topic that was discussed in class. Below is the URL for the article in case anyone is curious as to how the author feels about his decision to write “White Tiger” and how he feels about India in general. Also, there is a link for the audio on the website from the interview in case anyone would prefer listening to it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/oct/16/booker-prize

Child Brides in Rajasthan

During our discussion of virginity and marriage this past Wednesday, I remembered an article that I had read in an edition of National Geographic.  The article is titled “Too young to wed. The secret lives of child brides.” I must admit that while I felt I was somewhat informed about the marital traditions of other cultures, I was shocked at how young the brides in the article are.  According to author Cynthia Gorney, the youngest bride-to-be was 5. I was at a loss for words when I read this and I noticed that as I continued to read, I became more and more disturbed, which is partly because Gorney writes in a manner that critiques the event and her distaste for it all is easily detected.  While I do not wish to pass judgement on another culture’s traditions and practices, I do feel strongly about the idea of marrying off my 5 year old daughter to a middle-aged man.

Child brides in Rajasthan.

Here is the article if anyone would like to read it in it’s entirety:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/child-brides/gorney-text

Other Pop-Culture representations of India

Just to revisit the idea of representation that was brought up in the beginning of the term, I thought it was noteworthy to add Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sign of Four” to our list of representations of India.  This particular novel is set in the Andaman Islands which are located in the Bay of Bengal and contains a handfull of characters that are Indian.  Interestingly, three out of four of the “convicts” responsible for stealing a “treasure” in the Sherlock Holmes mystery are Indian.  During our class discussion, our professor asked us (the students) for our opinion as to who we saw as the most violent character in the story.  Various classmates eagerly raised their hands and explained that the answer was Tonga: the Indian accomplice to the British convict, Jonathan Smalls.  As we searched our books for examples to support this opinion, I realized that Tongo was depicted as a subservient, loyal, but violent individual who gets killed at the end in a heroic scene involving Sherlock Holmes defeating the “villain.”  This portrayal of an Indian in British mainstream literature reminded me of Gunga DIn and his desire to assist and demonstrate his loyalty to the British in any way he could.  This novel also presents the notion of invasion and violence coming to our homes and no longer being limited to the foreign, far off, exotic places that are depicted in films such as Indiana Jones.  The theme of invasion points to the anxiety that the Indian felt about the British invasion as well as the British fear of a counter-invasion which ties in nicely with the idea notion of imperialism that is prevelant in the novel.

 

 

E-Harmony vs. India’s “Partner Search Site”

While talking to a friend, (who is of Indian descent) I was informed that there are websites out there that advertise themselves as “matrimonial services.”  When I heard this, I immediately thought about our partner search sites here in America (namely E-Harmony, Match.com, Chemistry.com) and I decided to read the commentary from the founder of the site to see the differences.  What I found on the American sites were references to the success stories that lead to dating (and sometimes marriage, though not always), and the “matching” of different singles based on various dimensions such as interests, aspirations, etc. On the Indian site, I saw more emphasis on the matching of people for the purpose of getting married.  The site states, “By redefining the way people meet for marriage, Shaadi.com has created a world-renowned service that has touched over 20 million people.” This idea of cultural differences in terms of marriage is not a new concept but I found it interesting that these ideals have permeated into the online dating world.

In case anyone would like to see the site the URL is: http://www.shaadi.com.

American descriptions of Terrorism

While doing research for another course, I came across this newsclip which depicts eyewitness accounts of a terrorist attack in India.  The two women were in Mumbai, India dining in a restaurant when two armed individuals came in and opened fire.  I found the clip interesting because it presented a situation in which Americans were directly exposed to the violence that occurs in other parts of the world such as India and it actually surprised me that the women did not have anything overly negative or deragatory to say about the attackers.  Though this was simply meant to inform the public of the event, I almost expected the American women to comment on the appearance of the terrorists and describe them in the stereotypical manner that we have heard used here in the U.S post-9/11.  Still, I thought the clip was relevant because it gave me the sense that these women are among the few Americans who can relate with India’s struggle with violence and saw a devastating account of the gravity of this violence firsthand.

here is the link: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4637540n&tag=mncol;lst;1