Via Sepia Mutiny‘s news tab: An Indian-American teenager, Kiran Kaur, recently published an editorial in her local paper after returning from her summer adventures in India. While her contempt and disconnect from the country are evident throughout, the most striking paragraph is this one:
“Though I was immersed in jubilant culture and surrounded by people I shared blood with, I began to think of India as a rough draft that needed editing and polishing. There was so much potential within the people in this country, but they didn’t know it. All they knew was the life they were living. Though they were used to their living conditions, they knew from the masses fleeing India for other countries that there was something better out there.” ‘
Editing and polishing? Oh, boy. How patronizing and misguided, not to mention how unoriginal. If you go to any library you can find countless editorials and books written over the past 400 years by Westerners who want to “polish” India. I guess she didn’t run into any members of India’s 300 million strong middle class while she was there.
I also recently returned from India and the thing that struck me the most was the ambition of everyone around me. Indians are aware of their country’s potential as well as of the country’s problems. How could they not be? In the last ten years alone India has undergone an incredible transformation and it will be interesting to see what will happen next.
Well, at least she didn’t describe the Indian people as “warm”, though “jubilant” isn’t much better.