Monday December 11, 2017
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An attempt at debunking the colonial hangover

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By Sumana Nandi

Early 2015, when I came back to India, after finishing my Masters from University of London, I was met with starkly similar yet interesting expectations from my family, friends and near and dear ones.

Now, I am supposed to narrow my brows and wrinkle my nose every time I see a cow choosing to pee in the middle of the street, halting the traffic, making irritated drivers honk continuously. I am supposed to be full of repugnance when the aunty in my neighbourhood after mopping her room on the second floor clean empties the dirty bucket of water on the street. It is now my duty to lecture the grey-haired uncle in the corner selling chaat and golgappas how he needs to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.

British_and_Native_Indian_SoldiersI must now have a plush job: a job which will ensure I have a big car (preferably a BMW or Mercedes), picking and dropping me for office everyday so that the neighbours can plan and save money by fasting once a day, so that they are also able to send their children abroad (note abroad here strictly means the United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom). Within a few days of getting this dream-job, as a convent-educated obedient daughter who has travelled the world should now settle down (like the mud dissolved in water left aside in a glass after a good stir) to another convent-educated son who should have spent at least double the time abroad and earn double (if not triple); the cherry on the cake would be if he is an NRI and also speaks English with an accent.

After such a settling down, the (Feminist) me should continue my job but only after the permission from my Pati Parmeshwar and his family lest I become a financial burden to my new family.

At kitty parties with mostly the friends of my mother-in-law, I should talk about the wonderfulness of the concerts I watched at South Bank Centre, sipping orange juice (carefully replaced wine with orange juice since a pure and pious daughter-in-law cannot have a history of drinking) by the beautiful wandering Thames at sunset. Or, explain the magnificent architectural elegance of million castles and the English lush green meadows carefully omitting the men I travelled (sometimes overnight) to these places with, built with the sweat and blood of many peoples of Asia, Afrika, Australia and the Americas.

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Despite all this, I am still expected to stand in attention while Jana-Gana-Mana, fondly reminiscing those days of going to the market holding my father’s index finger, choose a fish I want for lunch amongst the shoal of fish swimming in the little aluminium tank and get it cut in front of us, with my eyes gleaming with happiness. I only need to wipe a tear or two of the nostalgia of how I spent my life during those (uncivilised) days in the villages and jungles of India.

I light a cigarette and ponder: Why do my friends and family expect of me like they do? Is it only my friends and family who have such expectations or the society at large? Why do we believe that London is any better than Delhi/Kolkata/Mumbai/Chennai?

Thoughts of how I saw London is blurred my speculating reflections momentarily.

While in London, I have nursed the wound of my friend who got mugged at knife-point near Baker Street. I met men in the streets of Paddington who ogle, whistle and comment (just like men here) at any girl even if she is covered from head to toe on a rainy November evening. I poured phenyl on the walls of my house where those getting drunk at the neighbourhood pubs of where I lived came to pee.

Children of an eastern suburb of London, who have been made homeless by the random bombs of the Nazi night raiders, waiting outside the wreckage of what was their home. September 1940. New Times Paris Bureau Collection. (USIA) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 306-NT-3163V WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1009

I have seen slums in London, with people huddling up amongst all thing in a one-room flat (rather pigeon hole). I have listened to soulful music on the pavements by the homeless trying to make enough money for their daily doses of drug and alcohol. I have been denied a job at a bar because I was “not white enough” and an Asian immigrant (even though I was legal immigrant with the right to work in the UK).

At my University, I was told to admire and be wonder struck with awe and amazement at the statues of ‘great’ scientists, philosophers and theorists who were mostly racist and those who made us, from the colonies in Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas look inferior to the boost up the ego of the Whites and initiate White supremacist colonialism.

I was told, my University is a leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and Middle east while I was not told it was this same institution which fuelled colonialism in not only these continents of the world but also beyond by benevolently training colonial administrators to create havoc by imperialism and colonialism even till today as we feel the pangs of separations from our dear sisters and brothers in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

I have visited public libraries with so much audio-visual documents, half of which would have had make thousands (if not more) aware about ourselves, our ancestors and know more about who we are. Passing by the Kohinoor in the (in)famous British Museum, I wonder if it’s worth is even 0.99% of what the Colonial Raj has looted (and is still looting) from us.

As I pass through the Madame Tussauds which has wax statues of Sharukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan among many others, I shiver with the thought of where the money and resources to finance these come from- from the colonies.

Not long ago, no doubt MP Dr.Shashi Tharoor has brilliantly made an excellent case for Indian Reparations and Reparations of the humanity at large, but can this repair be done by Britain and Britishers alone?

Is Britain along with her imperial friends i.e. the French, Portugese and Dutch are the few colonisers of this world?

Do we take a moment to think that we, the ordinary people- Aam Admi and Aam Nari also colonise those who are immediately below us in the power structure? Do we not try to look superior to our domestic help’s son, Rahul, by the virtue of the fact that we study in the most elite private school of the city while Rahul goes to a Government school? Why do we feel superior if we HAVE material things and power in a society than others who HAVE NOT? Do we think for a second how we have come to accumulate all those materialist things? Is it because of our hard work and the hard work of our family members alone?

Caste System PyramidAll these understandings, which I should be honest about, got even deeper and clearer while I was in London; it shaped me for the life I am leading today. I am not a pure soul. I am not perfect. I am only trying and seeking to live a decolonial life. I see colonialism as a process which not only the British did to us Asians but also a process which we Asians inflict at our fellow Asians- especially when the individual concerned is inferior to us in terms of caste, creed, colour etc.

Although, the Indian constitution makes these discriminations unlawful, yet in our daily lives we see this happening to us or to those around us.

Why? Because our minds have been trained to be perennial slaves of colonialism. If we want to make a mark in this colonial/neocolonial world we need to copy what our colonial masters did and continue to do.

Our Colonial masters preached the supremacy of the colour, adhering to which we hide ourselves in the corners of Beauty Parlours to scald our faces by bleaching them and using Fair and Lovely ten times a day!

Through this weekly column I hope to not only critically share dilemmas and doubts from everyday life but also to analytically interrogating them in the decolonial spotlight; so as to invite comments and observations from anyone who reads this sparking a regular dialogue on Decoloniality in the public domain.

Decoloniality is important for all of us, for our own existence and in the spiritual journey each of us undertake in this journey of life. Decoloniality is too important to be left to intellectuals (or often pseudo intellectuals) so that they continue their intellectual masturbation under the cloak of being “Academic”. Perhaps once this dialogue gains momentum, the expectations from not only my family and friends become decolonial but also our expectations from ourselves as conscious individuals, as humane beings become decolonial. With that hope I look forward to pen down my experiences and share with you sooner.

  • Kofi Mawuli Klu

    Brilliant thought-provoking opening to what hopefully should become one of the topmost International Community talkingpoint columns of the World media! Very well done! We hope this column is one of the new truly radical beginnings in India of the long winding road of Decolonizational Safari we all have to travel in and beyond our colonised/neocolonised World today. The Antidote to Coloniality, in my Pan-Afrikan Internationalist opinion, is Holistic Reparations for Global Justice through genuine Decolonizational People’s Self-Liberation Struggle against Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism in our colonised/neocolonised communities, particularly throughout the Global South. Dr. Shashi Tharoor MP spoke brilliantly well in the Oxford Union debate. Nevertheless, what is the actual state of Reparations in terms of internal and external Self-Repairs, with regard to Personal as well as Community Development, in India today? You have brilliantly well given the seemingly lost ball a big kick-start again in India! What does the rest of India and the World think?

  • Kofi Mawuli Klu

    Brilliant thought-provoking opening to what hopefully should become one of the topmost International Community talkingpoint columns of the World media! Very well done! We hope this column is one of the new truly radical beginnings in India of the long winding road of Decolonizational Safari we all have to travel in and beyond our colonised/neocolonised World today. The Antidote to Coloniality, in my Pan-Afrikan Internationalist opinion, is Holistic Reparations for Global Justice through genuine Decolonizational People’s Self-Liberation Struggle against Euro-Amerikkkan Imperialism in our colonised/neocolonised communities, particularly throughout the Global South. Dr. Shashi Tharoor MP spoke brilliantly well in the Oxford Union debate. Nevertheless, what is the actual state of Reparations in terms of internal and external Self-Repairs, with regard to Personal as well as Community Development, in India today? You have brilliantly well given the seemingly lost ball a big kick-start again in India! What does the rest of India and the World think?

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Forks in the Road : 10 places to eat in Delhi

Delhi has so many diverse cuisines to offer. Here is the list of 10 places to eat in delhi which you can not miss

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Foodie Delhi
10 places to eat in Delhi (pexels)

Delhi, the present day cultural hub of India, which was once under the rule of The Parthians, The Turks, The Afghans, The Mughals and The Britishers which left an impact on the city and gave it its own  unique status. Tourists from all over the world come down to Delhi and lose their hearts to it scrumptious cuisines.

It’s winter in Delhi, a perfect weather for sampling Delhi’s most famous attractions- its incredible street food. It’s not just the street food that Delhi is famous for but a lot of history and culture that is mixed up with the food. Everything from Asoka era to Mughals to the invaders who held sway over Delhi to Purana Qila, have left the taste of the food behind.

To the variety of chats that will take you on tour of tangy, sweet and spicy flavours to the non-vegetarian food which will remind of the rich flavours to the food never tasted anywhere, Delhi has it all.

Here are 10 places to visit for indulging into the flavors of Delhi.

  1. Paranthe Wali Gali
IndianGyaan

 

Paranthe Wali Gali since 1870s is the name of a narrow street in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi known for its series of shops selling parantha, an Indian flatbread. The food is old fashioned, strictly vegetarian and the cooked dishes do not include onion or garlic. Stuffed aloo (potato), Gobi (cauliflower) and matar (peas) paranthas are the most popular ones. Lentil paranthas are also available. The cost could come up to 150 rupees for 2 people. This street is lit from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  1. Dilli Haat
India Opines

Dilli Haat does not only showcase the rich Indian culture and diverse Indian Heritage, but is also one of the best place to enjoy regional food from all over the country. Dilli Haat provides various food stalls having food from various Indian States that gives you a variety of choice at low cost prices. Its timings are from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Bijoli Grill- a West Bengal food stall offering Fish curry and Kosha Mangsho; Momo Mia, an Arunanchal Pradesh food stall offering Momos and Fruit Beer; Nagaland Kitchen, a Nagaland food stall offering Raja Mircha and Momos; Manipur Foods, a Manipuri Food Stall offering Fried Rice, Tarai Tong ad Fruit Beer; Rajasthani Food Stall offering Pyaaz Kachori, Desi Ghee Jalebi and Rajasthani Thali; Maharashtra Food Stall offering Vada Pav, Puran Poli, Shrikhand; Dawath-E-Awadh, a UP Food Stall offering Kebabs, Biryani and Phirni and other food stalls from states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Kerala.

  1. Khan Market
The Urban Escapades

Khan Market is not only a place for die hard shoppers, it is also Delhi’s incredible food districts. A neighborhood that never sleeps, whose streets are filled with the scent of mutton kebab and fried rice. Khan Market has restaurants such as Town Hall Restaurant, The Big Chili Café, Yellow Brick Road Restaurant, Wok in Clouds, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Soda bottle opner wala, Azam’s Mughlai, Café Turtle, Omazoni and Market Café.

  1. Spice Aangan
EazyDiner

Tucked away in Safdarjung Development Area’s main market is a hole-in-the-wall tandoor-and-takeaway restaurant known as Spice Aangan. Spice Aangan has been a staple of the SDA market food scene for a while now. The hole-in-the-wall is bang opposite the small, grassless park located at the centre of the market. While there are a couple of steel benches at edge of the park to sit and enjoy their food, it is otherwise a purely takeaway and home delivery outlet. Restaurant serves tandoori snacks–chicken tikka, malai tikka, seekh kebab–as well as mutton dishes, curries, biryani and shawarma rolls. Despite so many options, though, you’d be hard pressed to find the regulars ordering anything other than the chicken shawarma.

  1. Karim’s
Musafir

Karim’s is a historic restaurant located near Jama Masjid Gali Kababian, Old Delhi, Delhi. It is know that this is the best restaurant in Delhi, serving non-vegetarian food since 1913. The original Karim’s is bang opposite Jama Masjid in the walled city area of Delhi. It is close to a market known as Darya Ganj. Those visiting Karim’s for the first time will be surprised at the location. Getting there is not easy, you will need to ask locals for help. Mutton Burra, Mutton Raan-this starter is huge, and is meant for four or five people. There is a wide range of kebabs including Seekh Kebabs, Shammi Kebabs and Mutton Tikka. Chicken Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Tikka for those who love chicken. Mutton Korma, Mutton Stew and Badam Pasanda Chicken Noor Jehan and Chicken Jahangiri are the main courses to be tried once you get there. As for the bread Khamiri Roti is something not to be missed. Karim’s serves two main desserts Kheer Benazir and Shahi Tukda.

  1. Pandara Road
ScoopWhoop

Delhi serves delectable food in almost every nook and corner of the city. Whether it is crowded streets of Chandni Chowk or the sophisticated eateries of Khan Market. One such stop is Pandara Road Market, located near India Gate, the place serves best non-vegetarian food of the city, so all the meat lovers out there fill your wallets. Havemore offering the best Butter chicken and garlic naan and Gulati which is best known for its Dum Biryani and kebabs with the cost price of 1500 rupees for two, and many other restaurants like Chicken Inn, Pindi and Ichiban.

  1. Amar Colony
TripAdvisor

Amar Colony is generally known to be the hub of garments but it is also the hidden street food hub. Home to a diverse population from India, Africa and Afghanistan, there is no doubt, diversity in food here too. A number of small joints for street food in Amar Colony exist which serve the most delicious dishes for you. Most of the shops are situated in the main market and are close to each other. Nagpal Chole Bhature, Hunger Strike, Tibb’s Frankie, Biryani Corner, 34 Chowringhee Lane, Sharma Chaat Bhandar, Deepaul’s Café, Dolma Aunty Momos, Muttu South Indian Anna, High On Burger are the best places to visit when on Pandara Road.

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  1. Hudson Lane, GTB Nagar
MY APRON DIARIES – WordPress.com

Hudson Lane, very close to the main North Campus area, is one place where you will find one of the finest cafés and best restaurants in Delhi. Mostly serving Italian, Café, and Fast Food Cuisine, these quirky joints offer an amazing culinary experience at an extremely pocket-friendly price. Woodbox Café, Mad Monkey, Indus Flavors, QD’s, Ricos and Big yellow Door are the most recommended places to munch at.

  1. Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala
Delhipedia

Situated near Paranthe Wali Gal, Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala is a small but popular street stall that’s been serving sought- after Kachoris since the early 1970s. Kachori stuffed with urad dal and served with special spicy chutney is a must try ther.

  1. Connaught Place
India Today – India Today Group

From fancy revolving restaurants to the delicious local rajma chawal, Connaught place does not discriminate when it comes to food. Home to some of the best restaurants in Delhii and also ironic dahbas, one can relish all kinds of cuisines here be it local, regional or international. Kake Da Hotel, Parikrama, Jain Chawal Wale, Minar and much more are the places to step up with.

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)