Thursday, December 13, 2007

Guha on NRI worship

In an essay in Outlook that is just as hilarious as it is satirical, Ramachandra Guha takes a swipe at Non-Resident Indians who expect to get worshiped in India - and who do get the adulation they crave for.

The funniest part is early in the article and is about writers of Indian origin: Guha compares the trinity of Salman Rushdie, Amartya Sen and VS Naipaul to Hindu holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva:
"Analagous to Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, we have Salman the Creator, Amartya the Preserver, and Sir Vidia the Destroyer. Just as Brahma gave birth to the world, Rushdie gave birth, through his magnificent novel Midnight's Children, to an innovative and globally influential school of Indian writing in English. Like the god he resembles he appears to have done little since—but, for that first and fundamental act of creation, we worship him still.

Vishnu the Preserver is supposed to have had 10 avatars. His successor probably exceeds him in this regard. Sometimes he comes to us as a Bangladeshi (by virtue of the fact that he was born in Dhaka), at other times as a Bengali, at still other times as a Global Indian. Other roles he has assumed include economist, philosopher, sociologist, historian, and seer. Like the god he resembles he comes to cheer us, to console us, to chastise us.

Siva could set the world ablaze with a mere blink of the eyelids. His modern successor can destroy a reputation by a word or two said (or unsaid). As with Siva, we fear Sir Vidia, we propitiate him, and we worship him. Who knows, if we are diligent and devoted enough, he may grant us some favours in this world (or the next)."
Read the full article! The excellent illustration above is by Sandeep Adhwaryu.

And this is a good time to put up a link to my review of Ramachandra Guha's India after Gandhi, easily one of my favorite books of the year.


Kartikeya said...

"swipe" is the right word......

its hilarious. :)

Hari said...

Yes, I enjoyed it a lot too! :)

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