Friday, January 20, 2006

Buffalo DNA: Two New Bloggers

I want to welcome Amitava Kumar to blogistan. Amitava is one of the sharpest and most opinionated Indian cultural critics around, and I have no doubt he'll be a very formidable blogger.

A good start is his recent slam of a billboard advertisement used by the newspaper Daily News and Analysis:

Will someone suggest a caption for this photograph? I saw this billboard near a highway in Bombay and understood that it was an ad for a newspaper called DNA. I would describe it as the pavement-level version of a Rushdie novel–self-satisfied metropolitan fiction for consumption by the metropolitans. It is not the buffalo who has decided to carry a reminder on its body that it must work for Bihar; instead, it is some clueless cosmopolitan who is announcing his never-to-be-really-actualized intentions about–what exactly?–social activism. If this individual has recovered from his new year’s hangover by now I’d like him to consider why the geography of a land and its peoples is reducible to a buffalo’s hide. Perhaps I am over-reacting but this is because the rag in question has dung in its DNA.

Go to his blog to see the picture in question. Incidentally, the post also attacks the content of the paper in question, singling out a very bad recent book review of a novel also related to Bihar, Siddharth Chowdhury's Patna Roughcut.

Wow, inspired ranting. My timid gloss on this might be something like: Amitava doesn't like the ad because it takes a very smug potshot at political corruption in Bihar. Even granted that corruption and government waste might well be a problem, it isn't going to be solved by cheap shots from the snide, metropolitan, soi-disant cognoscenti.

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While I'm promoting new blogs, let me encourage people to take a peek at Ruchira Paul's Accidental Blogger. Ruchira is a strong champion for liberal politics, both in the U.S. and in India. A recent post on "Anthropomorphism and Empathy" stood out to me, as did this brief post on the female foeticide problem I was talking about earlier this week.

She's also done interesting some literature-oriented posts. (Do more lit posts, Ruchira!)


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