To be fair to Obama: By Pakistan Jawed Naqvi

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Vikramaditya, Nov 5, 2010.

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  1. Vikramaditya

    Vikramaditya Regular Member

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    To be fair to Obama: By Jawed Naqvi

    WHEN President Obama starts a four-day tour of India on Saturday, he may find himself dealing with a surprisingly racist ruling elite as his hosts.

    The emerging Indian middle class has its political preferences. It adored George Bush. It worships power, often over India’s traditional principles. Obama will be coming as a defeated man after this week’s congressional polls, and compared to Bill Clinton and Bush, who both had two terms in office under their belt when they visited Delhi, he may be struggling with his first term.

    There is little doubt that a white Republican, preferably with a reckless quest for domination in South Asia or the Middle East, will find more instant affinity with India’s dominant comprador elite than would a black Democrat with cautious and untested views of the region. Obama has tried to make up for the deficit by being more bellicose than the Republicans, but that clearly hasn’t worked for him at the mid-term polls.

    Yet there is hope for a rapport that Obama might strike with his hosts, the scope for which goes beyond the speculated joint encirclement of China or working together in Afghanistan or helping India generate vast quantities of nuclear-based energy, an order form for American planes.

    There may be greater traction in the fact that the visitor and his hosts have veered to the right in pursuit of their goals. Both have quite literally, turned their backs on the colour black — Obama by distancing himself from the essential tenets of his early politics as preached by Jeremiah Wright his guru who has now been discarded, and the Indian middle class by trying to literally moult into a new, fairer skin.

    There is a history to this quest. Early Indian nationalism under Nehru and to an extent until Indira Gandhi, was imbued with a sense of solidarity with postcolonial societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America, of which the Non-Aligned Movement became a leading symbol.

    Obama has been sounded and will be again approached for help to promote India’s urgent bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council even if that gives it no veto rights like those enjoyed by the existing P5. It is like the little baby chair beside the high table that was assigned to Hurundi Bakshi when Peter Sellers played an Indian gatecrasher in The Party.

    Once a strident protagonist in the war against apartheid in South Africa its new economic priorities seem to have shored up values it once officially shunned. India’s incipient racism has peeped through its nuclear prowess too. It wants to deny its fellow developing countries the power it claims as integral to its quest for superpower status. However, in keeping with its self-absorbed manoeuvres it remains deafeningly silent on Israel’s nuclear arsenal while joining the world to limit Iran’s reach in this regard.

    India’s racially driven elite is not a widely discussed topic even though it makes for an interesting study in a social makeover with a political purpose. Television has been used to promote the political and cultural moulting, not sparing even ancient religious motifs. Here’s a tip for President Obama. The festival of Diwali marks the triumphant return of Lord Ram to his ancient kingdom of Ayodhya.

    In a captivating description of Ram’s early days in exile, Goswami Tulsidas describes his hero’s physical features. Though the Indian middle class will not admit it, Ram, according to Tulsidas, was a black complexioned hero.

    Sample the verse by Tulsidas in Awadhi as sung by the mellifluous D.V. Paluskar in Raag Jhinjhoti:
    “Gram badhu poochhat un Siya se: Kaun so preetam, kaun so devarwa?

    Siya muska’een, bolat mridubaani: Saa’nwaro so preetam, gaud so devarwa!”

    In this poem in the Ramcharitmanas, a compendium in Awadhi of Ram’s moral and physical feats, Tulsidas describes curious village women the hero meets on his way to exile. They quiz Sita, Ram’s consort also referred to as Siya, to identify her husband and her brother in law Lakshman. Sita shyly whispers that the dark one was her husband, the fair one Lakshman. The fact is that all three of Hinduism’s popular icons — Shiv, Ram and Krishn — are black or dark-skinned folks.

    With a rich tradition of support for the black skin in folklore and religious texts, when and why did the fetish for a white bride or groom strike such deep roots in middle-class India? One view is that the malaise had existed way before the advent of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s economic reforms. However, an Indian student’s PhD thesis at an American university ties down the phenomenon to 1991. That year Dr Singh took charge as finance minister.

    Santosh Chandrashekhar’s thesis at the University of New Mexico was aptly titled — Neoliberal India, Fairness Cream, and Desires of Whiteness. Chandrashekhar evidently wrote his paper before Obama planned his visit to India.

    What he may be suggesting is that during his Mumbai sojourn Obama could exchange notes with Indian movie star Shahrukh Khan who has been successfully selling bleaching agents to TV audiences. And his magic cream, if that is what it is, promises to transform its user’s colour from dark to “fair and handsome”.
    Chandrashekhar explains the phenomenon thus:

    “Along with being central to notions of beauty and femininity, skin colour has emerged as an important marker of caste and class mobility in India. This trend has accelerated post-1991 when India ushered in structural reforms.”

    With whiteness becoming a “critical marker of citizenship, accessing whiteness became a way for Indian men to participate in emerging neoliberal discourses and processes”. Chandrashekhar shows how whiteness is mapped on to categories such as beauty and progress, which helps subjects participate in the hegemonic discourse of neoliberalism.

    Obama has used his black skin to gain popularity and then he has done everything possible to reassure his critics that his values and his ideology are really those of a traditional white president, no different from the others who went before him. The Indian middle class has been a shade more literal in its attempt to cast off the colour of their skin, even though the subtext of right-wing politics is not unrelated to the quest. Skin whiteners, real as well as metaphoric, are big business.

    Dawn
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
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  3. Singh

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    JAWED NAQVI is an Indian.
     
  4. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Javed Naqvi is an Indian citizen, lives in Delhi AND is a Dawn News correspondent .
    But he is famous for writing completely and totally Anti India articles.

    And he writes GOOD Anti India Articles .He is a good writer but committed to Pakistani causes

    I have CONTROLLED myself many times from giving a fitting reply to him (as it would make no difference to his style and content ) be but he is only doing what he is paid for.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    he is Saeed Naqvi's younger brother i guess? comparing both there is a difference of sky and earth between these two.
     
  6. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Thread Closed.
    India is not immune to idiots. Jawed Naqvi's sole source of journalistic output is a Pakistani newspaper, what does this say ?
    The first post will be merged with the Obama's Indian thread an all discussions on Jawed Naqvi's idiocy can be pursued elsewhere.
     
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