Tis The Season: Terrible Articles About India, Part (n+1)

The article on India currently up on Open Democracy right now is absolutely terrible. I could only skim it :( I would rather not trash this article because I like the site and the author draws attention to some important things (gender abuse, among others), but:

it is a survey that operates almost entirely in cliches, farmer suicides, "world's largest democracy", and all;
it offers no forward-looking view (the word Maoist is not found, nor that the Indian state is about to face a potentially destabilizing political crisis because of global and domestic economics and the situation its class-friends have created);
it offers no real analysis of politics, economics, culture, etc., but describes various challenges to 'democracy' in India;
it offers little in the way of historical perspective for an "Independence Day" article - one thing to try to avoid a cliched approach, but it's another to write so deeply ahistorically on a topic that begs for some history;
it argues almost entirely from the idea that there's a singular "India", which is irritating.

I could probably go on, but I'm trying to move away from kvetching with no ostensible purpose...it's just so glaring with this one...I expect quality from Open Democracy dammit!

Just read the whole thing to form your own perspective; even if you hate it, there are links on the side to some other pieces that look like they might be better. And if you don't hate it, well, just let me know the ways in which I'm being overly harsh--it's a struggle for me in these dissertation-writing days not to be overly critical and it is 6:56 a.m.

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This is a good read

This is a good read too:

India's denial of democracy spurs violence in Kashmir

EXCERPTS....

MASKED by the Olympics, the bloody events in Georgia, and the forced departure from office of Pakistan's president Parvez Musharraf, another closely linked troublespot has begun to rumble.

Given that only recently Radovan Karadzic was tracked down and sent for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for, most notably, the killing of 7000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, should not the civilised world be seriously looking at similar culpability by successive Indian leaders?

An earlier Human Rights Watch (Asia) report damned India for its jackbooted approach to security in Kashmir - New Delhi has up to 700,000 troops and para-military in the disputed territory - accusing it of culpability in state-sponsored terrorism.

It is curious that India, a country of remarkable and laudable achievements in many spheres, fails to live up to its claim of being the world's biggest democracy when it continues to deny 17 million Kashmiris a plebiscite to determine their own future.

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/indias-denial-of-democracy-spurs-violen...

Sorry, Dr. A, but I think

Sorry, Dr. A, but I think your criticism is absurd. This is a 1,500 word casual essay on the occasion of I-day, not a doctoral dissertation on the character of and challenges to the putative Indian nation (is that your subject?)

You're not being overly critical -- you're totally missing the intent of the writer, the limitations of the form, and the appropriate style for this kind of essay -- and you\'re missing it by a mile and a half!

Did you try re-reading the essay a couple of hours later into the morning?

Sorry, Dr. A, but I think

Sorry, Dr. A, but I think your criticism is absurd. This is a 1,500 word casual essay on the occasion of I-day, not a doctoral dissertation on the character of and challenges to the putative Indian nation (is that your subject?)

You’re not being overly critical — you’re totally missing the intent of the writer, the limitations of the form, and the appropriate style for this kind of essay — and you\’re missing it by a mile and a half!

Maybe, as with many pieces from India in popular media, including Bollywood, it's a cultural/stylistic difference that makes me dislike them, but I don't see what you're seeing. A casual essay that writes about corruption, abuses by the state in the name of anti-terrorism and gender injustice? What is that if not an essay on "the character of and challenges to the Indian nation" (which I hope is not anyone's subject but it's far too close to mine- and it's a masters thesis, but thanks for the upgrade :).

What limitations of the form compel the author to reproduce such phrasing as "the ancient culture" and "sparkling economic giant" and ""the dark margins of our spectacular new India"? This is the same bland discourse full of trite statements (half of which aren't even true, except insofar as they're repeated over and over in articles like this one) except it says 'but...we need to consider this' (and that's where its contribution is).

What irks me perhaps most is the utter lack of self-consciousness that is typical of the triumphalism of this genre (even when it's used to make critiques). It's the author's India that is in the margins, not the brightly lit daylight of most of India where farmer suicides and related issues are not a "problem" but simply reality.

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