All posts by Sunalini Kumar

Eclipsed by Western News Orientalism

In the apparently historic ongoing battle of the Asian Tigers that generates so much interest and anxiety amongst corporate types and policymakers all over the world, the recent solar eclipse may have ruined the chances of the Indians. Here’s a video on the eclipse that leaves no doubt as to who’s leading the race for the twentieth century. Please note the difference in reactions within India and China to the eclipse. If msn news is to be believed, when the sun turned black, an all-Hindu India erupted in a frenzy of religious and superstitious activity, while the Chinese and Japanese calmly took their children out to parks to see the celestial event through those cute eclipse goggles – a kind of pleasantly scientific national pastime. Enjoy this little snippet of orientalist reporting… Or is it the truth about ‘us’?

Accidental Labour

In my second year of college we had a paper called Comparative Government and Politics. The syllabus of this paper was faithful to the Cold War – two massive units were dedicated to the United States and the former USSR respectively. The information imbalance between these two heavyweights was such however that ‘good’ books on the Soviet Union were very few in number – they were carefully prescribed in class, jealously guarded in the reference section of the college library, and issued only to the quick and the deserving. When we reached the U.S unit however, the teacher gave up and we were left like a pack of wild dogs to run through the entire general section, and issue what caught our fancy. Continue reading Accidental Labour

The Happy Consciousness

Watching the world tumble down around us, the holy markets especially, what has amused and angered is the way in which the media refuses to let go of its Sunny Disposition on Life, the Universe and Everything. This would be pathetic if it wasn’t so rampant. The Times of India has plumped up its Delhi Times this weekend to ten pages filled with exhortations to shop and full-page ads on shiny commodities. Its spectacularly vacuous Sunday Times is bursting with stories about celebrities valiantly keeping up the Diwali spirit, and thumbing their noses at the looming depression by buying more Louis Vuitton bags.

Continue reading The Happy Consciousness

Atta Boys, Delhi Police, Again

As the comments on the Jamia encounter pieces have flooded in, what has been amazing of course is how the defence of the police establishment comes often from the very same discourse which can’t stop crying itself hoarse about the corruption of the government. I am pretty sure many of those who have jumped to make us doubters and naysayers feel guilty about failing to support our boys in khaki would be wringing their hands at India’s sliding down the scale on Transparency International’s rating. What is required? What are we doing wrong? Does everybody in this country who can read and write need a Poli.Sci 101 course on what the Indian State is, and how it includes the elected and the non-elected arms, and how the ‘corrupt politicians’ are part of one large material and ideological whole that includes bureaucrats and internal security establishment? Continue reading Atta Boys, Delhi Police, Again