British rock band Coldplay’s ‘Hymn for the Weekend‘ has created a lot of controversy with allegations of ‘Cultural Misappropriation’ being made against the band. Ms Neha Singh presents her take on the issue.
Now the first thing I must tell you is that India is my country and I am its citizen. If something defines me then it’s the bright colors and illuminating diyas, religious diversity and festivals, native languages and regional dance forms, relationships and bonding, agriculture, spices and saffron clad sadhus. And I am a consumer of Patanjali’s Aloe Vera juice too. That’s my incredible India and I am proud of it.
Cultural Appreciation or Appropriation?
So, considering the various clichés in the video as someone pointed out on the internet, I think all of these things translate into my incredible India which always leaves the west in its awe. It’s the richness of our culture that attracts international tourists to India. I also do know that as a country we have developed into a more modern nation with more urbanized cities having a stunningly high degree of sophisticated infrastructure and night clubs. But aren’t these things borrowed from the western world? Well, I hope not that you were expecting the video to contain ‘Firangi Paani’, Café Coffee Days and Nariman Point. Why are we getting worked up about how the west sees us and that too when our own people portray us in a much similar way or maybe more as shown in this video. And we all love this video, don’t we?
As for Beyonce, she looks delightful as a Bollywood Queen both in her fancy attire and dusky skin. And that is a change we must bring around in a nation so obsessed with fair skin.
Still the video didn’t put as offensive stuff as compared to what we do in our Bollywood films using the white girls in bare minimum outfits and making villains out of the dark skin people as rightly pointed out by this site. Now what would you call this; Cultural appropriation or racism?
Melting Pot of Cultures
Well, I don’t mean to say that ‘an eye for an eye’ is a good thing. What I am saying is that we have gone global.
Holi, the Indian festival of colors celebrated in the spring around Feb or March in India, is played in the summer of June and July across Europe. Diwali lunches and dinner, take place weeks or months, even before the actual festival. And by the by, the festival attracts not just Indian diaspora, but other cultures too, as the organizing committee consists both Indians and Europeans. So, if Indian Holi, Spiritual Gurus, and Yoga have spread across to the west, then we also have borrowed their accents, pubs, outfits, and Halloween parties. So how can Chris Martin not be drenched in Holi colors in his video?
Anyway, I am thankful to the Coldplay team for putting the beautifully shot visuals of my exotic India at the Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting event. Well, whatever the world thinks about this video, I have to admit that this song is now spinning in my head and I am really “FEELING DRUNK AND HIGH”.
(This is an edited version of the blog-post published in Ms Singh’s personal blog)