Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cameron in India - or my post-colonial perplexity

Reading the British & Indian newspapers in unison has been a perplexing affair for me for the last few days.

The British media has been full of discussions about Cameron's visit to India - why is India so high on Cameron's agenda; why a 68-strong delegation is accompanying him; the reason behind his plain-spokenness over Pakistan; its consequences; his stand on the immigration cap; our historical colonial ties; Labour's shitty take on Kashmir; and of course, what a blow for India it is that SamCam is giving it a miss....

Then I turn to the Indian media: SILENCE.

Everyday, I keep waiting for Dear Dave to pop-up in the news feeds from Indian newspapers only to find nothing. Realising that depending on newsfeeds might lead to a loonnggg wait, I turned to the newspaper websites myself today only to find no mention of him at all in the top news sections of either The Times of India or the Hindustan Times. (I would go to the Express India site too, if only I wouldn't get rabid virus warnings each time I did that.) I finally found an editorial in the Hindustan Times on the subject, only to discover that it has been written by a British BBC presenter.

The article itself is interesting. Nic Gowing suggests that the government's enthusiasm towards India is very much an elite affair, and that the Brit-on-the-road simply doesn't have an opinion on India, positive or negative. This Indian-summer love is strictly limited to the elite.

Going by the Indian media's coverage of Cameron's ongoing visit, I don't think that Indians - elite or otherwise - care that much either.

But according to the post-colonial theory - beloved of so many academics - it should be the exact opposite. The British media should have a few disdainful mentions of Cameron's visit, and Indian media should be going summersaulting in excitement. Is any more proof required that post-colonial theory is way past its sell-by date - at least, where India was concerned?

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