Friday, March 11, 2005

Friday Musings

A couple weeks ago, we cheered the Prime Minister for his daring -- dare we say, neo-conservative even -- political vision: Liberal democracy is the natural order of social and political organization in today's world. All alternate systems, authoritarian and majoritarian in varying degrees, are an aberration. Democratic methods yield the most enduring solutions to even the most intractable problems.

Now, the Prime Minister has seemingly done a 180 degree pivot -- he has not only invited the murderer of Pakistani democracy to watch cricket in India, he has added the following odd remark:

Cricket and films will bring India and Pakistan closer.

Hello? What centuries of geographic co-habitation and political union -- not to mention anthropological identity and cultural similarity -- have failed to achieve, Dr. Singh avers can be had via an imported sport and C-grade cinema! Perhaps peace will flow if the Pakistani dictator could only watch a cricket match in India!! Wow -- what a genius thought?!!

We have previously articulated our contempt for the mediocrity of Bollywood and of contemporary Indian culture in general. Surely some blame for this should be placed on cricket, which crowds-out practically all else from the Indian cultural space. And even there, where our heroes wield their willows, their achievements are hardly staggering (the BCCI team is 9th of 11 in global one-day rankings ahead only of Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Bangladesh; it is technically 3rd in test-match rankings, but really part of a 5-team middling group behind Australia).

Don't get us wrong. We too were brought up on the (vegetarian!) diet of cricket and chitrahaar -- for a while, we were just as enamored of these as the next Indian. But, these emperors really have no clothes; they are -- God please forgive us, for we must quote Marx here -- opiates for our masses, dripped into our coarsened cultural veins through television and multiplexes.

On these opiates Dr. Singh now hangs his hope for Indo-Pak peace? That'll be the day. What we need for peace is not the silliness of cricket and cinema, rather a dread-inspiring military capability including, as The Acorn points out, a strong missile defense.

On a separate note, we condemn the impending US visit by Narendra Modi. His hosts, the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association and the Association of Indian-Americans of North America, should be ashamed for honoring this man whose inaction during the pogrom in Gujarat disgraced India.

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